Fixed: WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized Error

menu_default hide_default

When it comes to computers, a hard drive is the component that stores all of your content – your pictures, your documents, your music, and so on and so forth. Hard drives can be internal or external, and many people use external hard drives to store backup files or for extra storage space. But what happens when you get a “WD external hard drive not recognized" error? Does this mean all of your data is lost forever? The good news is that no, it doesn’t mean your data is lost forever. Today we will teach you exactly how to solve this error. So let’s not waste another minute:

How to Recover Data from WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized

When learning how to fix WD external hard drive issue, it’s important to remember that some of the methods below could cause you to lose data. Furthermore, not all methods are guaranteed to bring back your information. In such a case, how can you recover data from your WD external hard drive?


AnyRecover's Key Features:

  • AnyRecover is specially designed to recover over 1000 different file formats of photos, videos, documents and emails, etc.
  • Advanced data scanning algorithms. Data scanning speed of AnyRecover is blazing fast, allowing you to scan and look for hidden files quickly.
  • User-friendly software interface which is suitable for beginners. Help you recover deleted data easily.
  • AnyRecover offers a FREE Trial with 8 files for free recovery with no size limit. You could also preview your data before recovering it. You could also preview your data before recovering it.
  • Supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP and MacOS.

Steps to Recover Data from WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized with AnyRecover

Step One - Download and install AnyRecover Recovery software. Run the program and select "External Device Recovery" mode.

anyrecover home mac

Step Two - Connect your external hard drive, then choose the file type and click on "Scan" to start scanning.

external device recovery select file type mac

Step Three - Once the scanning is complete, you can preview the files, select what you want to recover and tap "Recover" to get back your lost files.

all round scan

Step Four - If you can't find what you want, you can repeat the process and choose the "All-Round Recovery" Mode to scan for lost files.

Methods to Fix WD External Hard Drive Not Recognized Error

1Intialize WD External Hard Drive in Disk Management

If you don’t have any important information stored on your external hard drive, one option to solve the error is to use the Disk Management option. This is a simple and easy way to restore access to your hard drive, but precautions need to be taken because it does lead to data loss. It’s also not a guaranteed method of success. With that being said, if you don’t mind losing data on your external hard drive, you can try this method. Here’s how:

  1. Open Disk Management and right click on the WD hard drive that needs to be initialized.

  2. Click on “initialize disk”.

  3. all round scan

  4. Pick a partition system (MBR or GPT).

  5. Right click on the disk and select “Create New Simple Volume”.

  6. Wait for the New Simple Volume Wizard to pop up and follow the on-screen prompts.

2Change Letter and Paths of your WD external Hard Drive

When learning how to solve wd external hard drive not recognized errors, another method you can use is to change the letter and paths of your hard drive. Like the first method mentioned, this method is simple and easy, and can be done with very little technological knowledge. Though it’s also not a guaranteed method of success, it is worth a shot. Here’s how to do it:

  • 1. Using your keyboard, press the “R” and Windows logo simultaneously.

  • 2. When the “run” box pops up, type in “diskmgmt.msc” and click “ok”.

  • all round scan

  • 3. Right click on the WD drive and click “Change drive letter and paths”.

  • all round scan

  • 4. Click “Change”.

  • 5. Use the drop down menu to assign a new letter. Click “OK”.

  • 6. Restart your computer and check to see if problem has been resolved.

3Change another USB port/cable to connect WD external hard drive

If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of using disk management and run software to try to fix your WD External Hard Drive not recognized problem, you can opt to try a super quick fix like this one. All you have to do is change the USB port to which your WD external hard drive is connected. If that doesn’t work, you could also try connecting it with a different USB cable.

4Renew WD Hard Drive Driver

If you’ve tried some of the methods listed above but find that your WD hard drive isn’t even showing up in Disk Management, there could be something wrong with the device driver. To update the driver, take the following steps:

  • 1. Press “R” while simultaneously holding the Windows button.

  • 2. Go to your device manager.

  • 3. Click on “disk drives”.

Is there a yellow exclamation mark next to the WD hard drive device? If yes:

  • 4. Right click on the WD hard drive.

  • 5. Click “Properties” > “Update Driver”.

  • 6. Restart your computer.


You don't need to panic if your WD external hard drive is not recognized. There are some simple methods that you can use to regain access to your hard drive. If you are concerned about data loss, you may want to invest in a product like AnyRecover that can help you quickly and easily recover your data after a WD External hard drive not recognized error has been delivered.

Free DownloadFree Download


By Simon Marcus , to Hard Drive Recovery

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Related Articles: