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Get Your PC To Recognize An External Drive

 
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Have you ever experienced that frustrating moment when you hook up an external hard drive to your computer and the machine simply doesn’t recognize it?  This is a frustration that I experienced recently when I decided to stop using my 2 TB Green Drive on my DVR and decided to use it as an automatic backup drive instead.  I plugged it in, hooked it up to my computer’s eSATA port, turned it on and… nothing.  So I turned it off, thinking that maybe my eSATA port was bad, hooked it up via USB, turned it on and… nothing.  So I decided to check my device manager, and there it was.  Ran some diagnostics on it, and all looked cool.  So I attempted to contact Fantom (who made the drive) and received no response.

blue external

So I decided to ask my old friend Google.  I’ve had this drive for several years, so all of the original packaging and everything is long gone.  But what I found on Google was the instruction manual.  Now, I’m a pretty tech-savvy guy… I mean, that’s what I do here, right?  Tech support questions.  So I didn’t think that the instruction manual would tell me anything that I didn’t already know.  I mean, in all of my years of working on computers, I’ve never encountered a plug and play drive that doesn’t… well… play when plugged.  But, I was wrong.  There actually was a section on getting your computer to recognize the drive.  It turns out that, even though Windows was recognizing it, and recognizing it as a drive, but it hadn’t assigned a drive letter.

I turned the drive off again, plugged it back into my eSATA port (much faster transfer than USB), clicked on my START button and entered DISC MANAGEMENT into the search box.  I found CREATE AND FORMAT HARD DRIVE PARTITIONS.

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That opened my disc management window.

http://imgsrv.worldstart.com/images/ct-images/2017/03/drive-letter-2.jpg

You’ll notice in this image that my Green Drive already has a drive letter assigned.  That’s because I’ve already done it.  When I first opened it, there was no drive letter assigned.  So I right-clicked on the Green Drive and clicked CHANGE DRIVE LETTER AND PATHS.

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This opened a dialog box that allowed me to assign a drive letter.

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I assigned the drive letter E, rebooted my computer for good measure, and hey presto my drive has worked like a charm ever since.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer

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3 Responses to “Get Your PC To Recognize An External Drive”

  1. Dan Dorton says:

    How can I do this with a Mac

  2. Trish says:

    Randal, this may have worked for your ext Hd, but not mine. I could change drive letters all day and the ext HD was not recognized, when it had been previously. I found a great Utube that helped though -it was by Jay Busch. I was to run as admin (clk win button, R clk – run as admin), then cmd to get black screen; enter chkdsk(space) f (space) your indicated drive letter. Computer runs chkdsk for a bit then when ends, refresh/restart computer. It may work for others too. Trish

  3. Randal says:

    Hi, Trish. Thanks for that info. Unfortunately, it sounds like your disk had some corrupted sectors on it that were preventing it from operating properly. When you ran chkdsk, your machine was able to identify and isolate these bad sectors. It’s a bit like if you try to walk a path in the dark and trip over a stone. Running chkdsk is a bit like going to your house, getting a flashlight, and walking the path again… except now you know where the stones are and how to avoid them. Personally, I’d start pricing new backup drives, or maybe even buying one to create a redundant backup. (I keep two… I back up once a week to an external hard drive, and once a month to a portable hard drive that then goes into my bank safe deposit box). That way, if this drive DOES fail, you’ll have something to fall back on.

    And Dan, I’m afraid that the last Apple computer that I had any real contact with was one of the original Macs that I had about fifteen years ago. If any of our readers know how to get a Mac to recognize an external hard drive, please do post it here.

    Thanks!
    Randal

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