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Techie Talk

Where the resident lady tech guru and long time tech tweeter, SisTechie, hangs her hat. From digital tools to detailed software and hardware talk, this tech lady has got you :)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden External Drives

Following up from my previous post about what to do if your external hard drive is giving you problems i.e. not showing up in Windows File Explorer, here a couple of fixes you can try which have worked for me. If your external drive still fails to show up, then you may have a physical problem rather than a logic problem on the drive. I will post a couple of fixes for physical errors in the coming weeks. Don’t panic, it happens a lot with Windows!


Fix 1: Change the drive letter in disk management

1.     Select start -> Run

2.     Type in diskmgmt.msc and click enter

3.     Check to see if your removable drive (External drive) is listed. Right click it and select ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ -> Assign an unused drive letter like Q


A new window will open asking you to actually assign Q to the current drive and you need to Select it from the drop down menu and click ‘OK’ for the change to take effect.

If you go for option 2 then, here are the steps to follow:

Now you should be able to see Q:\ drive in your file Explorer.


Fix 2: Look for disconnected drive in Device Manager

Now you might find that under ‘Device Manager’ your external drive has a yellow triangle on it or it is simply greyed out. Do the following:

1.     Go to start -> Run

2.     Type in devmgmt.msc and click ‘enter’

3.     Under ‘Universal Serial Bus Controllers’ you can locate your device and right click on it

4.     From the drop down menu click ‘Uninstall’ (In most cases Windows will automatically re-install the driver again but if this does not happen, unplug the device, restart and once booted up, connect your device again and Windows should then install the drivers for your device)

5.     You should then go back to ‘file explorer’ and be able to see your external drive

So if you should encounter this problem, now you know what to do. Though this list is not exhaustive, these two fixes usually do the trick.


Until next time, happy data recovery!