[Fixed] Disk Unknown Not Initialized on External Hard Drive

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Using external hard drives is the most efficient way to store your data. External hard drives are easy to use, and usually, have a longer life span than other data storage devices. Despite their ability to save data securely, you might run into trouble sometimes. You may be unable to see your external hard drive at all in your file explorer. Upon checking the status of your external hard drive, you might see "hard drive won't initialize” in there. If you have run into this error, you can learn here how to get your data back and external hard drive running smoothly.

disk not initialized

1Reasons for a Hard Drive Not Initialized

There may be one or more than one factor causing the error. These are the factors known to be responsible for the “hard drive won't initialize” error:

Your external hard drive has experienced a virus attack.

There is a file system corruption on your computer.

A connection problem is rendering your external hard drive useless.

There is a partition loss on your external hard drive.

A corrupted master boot record is causing the error.

There is an inaccessible/unwriteable or “Bad Sector” on your external hard drive.

2How Do I Fix My External Hard Drive Won't Initialized?

As there are more than one possible reason to cause the “hard drive won’t initialize error”, you have to use all the possible solutions. In case your computer was recently attacked by a virus, you may see the “hard drive won’t initialize” error. Using Windows defender or other third-party applications, make sure that virus won't stop the computer to access the external hard drive. You can try initializing your hard drive. However, here is a warning before you try to initialize your hard drive: make sure that you have a backup of your data. To initialize your hard drive:

1Method 1. Run the Disk Management utility on your computer.

To initialize your external hard drive, right-click on it in the utility.

To start the initialization process, click the "Initialize disk" option, and initialize your external hard drive by following the on-screen steps. This will allow you to initialize your external hard drive as an MBR or GPT disk.

disk manager initialize disk

If you cannot complete the initialization process because of an I/O device error, look for the connection problems. If you cannot figure out the connection problem on your computer, try connecting your external hard drive to another computer.

2Method 2. DiskPart

If you do not want to recover the data on your external hard drive, you can go for the DiskPart method. To use this method:

Press the Windows and R keys, and type “diskpart.exe” in the popped-up window.

diskpart main

Type “list disk” in this window.

diskpart list disk

Type “select disk (disk number)”.

To complete the process, type “clean all”.

After successfully following these steps, use “Disk management” to initialize your disk.

3Method 3. Removing CMOS battery

It might even be the case that your hard drive is not faulty at all. Your motherboard might cause the issues. To make sure that there is no problem from the motherboard end, follow these steps:

Shut down your computer.

Remove the cables from your external hard drive.

Take the CMOS battery out of your motherboard for ten seconds.

Put the CMOS battery back.

Turn your computer back again.

Shut it down once again.

Reconnect your external hard drive with your computer.

Turn your computer on.

3To Recover Your Data from External Hard Drive after Initializing

By following all the steps, you can now be able to recover the data lost in the process. In case you had not created a backup yet, it is inevitable to lose your data for hard drive initialization. However, AnyRecover allows you to get your lost data back after an external hard disk drive initialization. The main features of AnyRecover are:


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Features of iMyFone AnyRecover:        

Recover any accidentally lost data from an unexpected power off, formatting of your external hard drive or any other similar case.

Restore data from internal and external drives on Windows or Mac.

Supports recover data from various mediums, including Digital Camera, Memory Cards and more.

AnyRecover is capable of running on the latest Mac OS X 10.14 and Windows 10.

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Using AnyRecover allows you to restore the lost data easily. Make sure to follow these steps.

Step 1.Download the AnyRecover software, locate its download position, and install it.

Step 2.To run the AnyRecover software, Double click on the desktop icon of AnyRecover to start using it.

Step 3.Select your external hard drive under the “External Removable Devices” tab.

select location

Step 4.After selecting your external hard drive, hit the “start” button, then AnyRecover will scan your external hard drive.

start scan 1

Step 5.Choose your file type or folder from the listed data after scanning finished, and click on the file you want to recover, click the “recover” button to get your data back.

scanned files preview

External hard drives are secure and portable to store data. There are not much circumstances when you run into problems using an external hard drive. However, you might see the “hard drive won't initialize” error. In such a case, follow the given ways to get your external hard drive running. However, doing so will cause the loss of your data. AnyRecover allows you to get back all the data that was lost during the process of the initialization. AnyRecover is the all-in-one solution for your data recovery needs.


By  Taylor Clark , to External Device Recovery

Updated on Jun 01, 2020