A Guide to Data Recovery on an Unrecognized Hard Disk

Having an unrecognized hard drive can be a major problem. In this guide, we explore methods for recovering data from an undetectable hard drive.

Hard drives have been a good way to store data. Whether you are on Mac or Windows PC, taking good care of your data is the priority of every computer user. All the time, your drive must be detectable and remain so throughout the life of your hard drive. 

However, your hard drive may malfunction in a certain way and cause it to be unresponsive or unrecognizable. You should read this guide on recovering files that disappeared from an external hard drive just in case you lose data in this incident. This is because the incident may lock you out completely from your data. As a result, you may get completely compromised and risk losing all your data. Also note that locked or unrecognizable drives may have no clear way to access its content. 

Hard drives becoming unrecognizable can be due to several reasons. Before you lose your mind trying to figure out how to correct the problem, calm down and go through some of the reasons drivers get blocked. 

Why is My Hard Drive Unrecognized? 

Hard drives face a number of challenges including those caused by bad weather such as extreme temperatures and exposure to dust. All these have potential to affect the functionality of the drive and further reduce its lifespan. As such, when your drive becomes unrecognized, there are likely several contributing factors. Below are some of the reasons your drive is undetectable. 

  • Disk corruption: If your hard drive contains corrupted files, it can quickly begin to fail. If more files are affected, the whole drive will be affected and it becomes unrecognizable. 
  • Improper device removal: There is a safer way to remove the external hard drive from your computer. If you breach this process, you will easily interrupt the disk storage system, cause file corruption, or even worse disrupt the files system. As a result, the drive may become unreadable and undetectable. 
  • Hardware malfunction: Disk malfunctions are largely caused by physical damages. If this happens, the disk sections become unreadable and your drive will be undetectable.
  • Outdated drivers: It is the responsibility of computer drivers to communicate with the hard drive. However, if these drivers are outdated or even corrupted, this communication completely fails until the drivers are updated or the issue is resolved. 

You will agree that it is much easier to diagnose a problem when you understand that you do not have adequate information. This is why it is important to understand the possible reasons your hard drive is unrecognized. 

With this correctly understood as per the section above, it is proper to move to the next section to diagnose the problem. In this guide, we focus on some of the recommended methods for recovering data from a hard disk that’s not detecting. We do this to ensure you are able to get back your data even when the drive is both undetectable and unrepairable. 

How to Carry Out Data Recovery on an Unrecognized Hard Drive

If your hard drive is still unreadable and invisible in Disk Management, you can still fix it. The solutions we have described below are some of the most effective ones. You can quickly use them as DIY fixes for undetectable hard drives and recover data.  

Method 1: Recover Data with Data Recovery Software

On top of our list of most recommended methods to recover undetectable hard drive is the data recovery software method. With good software, you have more chances of achieving successful recovery even from a formatted drive. Even though there are many software in the market, we choose Disk Drill by CleverFiles. 

Some of the features that make this software a priority in every data recovery include:

  • Quick scan
  • Deep scan 
  • File preview during and after scan 
  • Free version with up to 500 MB recovery
  • Reliable customer support 
  • High success rate
  • Wide range of file formats supported 
  • Windows and Mac supported 

These and other factors make Disk Drill a go-to hard drive data recovery software for all. Follow the steps below to recover files from an unrecognized hard drive. 

Step 1: If you do not have Disk Drill already, download it from the official website and install it on your computer. Click “Drive Backup.”

Step 2: Connect the external hard drive and hit “Byte-to-byte backup” and choose where to send the files. 

Step 3: When finished, tap “Data Recovery” followed by “Attach disk image” icons. Choose the disk image you have created and hit “Search for lost data.” 

Step 4: Once the scan ends, tap “Review found items.” 

Step 5: Mark the files you need to recover from the byte-to-byte copy and hit “Recover.” You should be able to view the recovery chances from the recovery column. When prompted, choose a different location that is not in the hard drive that cannot be recognized. 

Despite this method being the most effective, you may not want to use it for one reason or another. If this is the case, try the second method to recover your files.

Method 2: Change the Drive Letter

Your drive may be unreadable due to a wrong naming. Changing the drive letter may just fix it. With this method, you will be able to change drive letters or even assign new ones to recover files. 

Step 1: Right-click the “Start” tab and choose “Disk Management.” 

Step 2: Right-click the external hard drive partition then tap “Change Drive Letter and Paths.” 

Step 3: Tap “Change” to change the letter and “Add” to add a letter if there was none.

Step 4: Choose a new letter from the drop down. Tap “Ok” to finish. 

Method 3: Update the Drivers 

Like we mentioned, drivers are a critical factor in disk management. If they are not updated, you may not be able to access the drive data. This method will help you update the drivers and access your files. 

Step 1: Right-click “Start’ and choose “Device Manager.” 

Step 2: On the “Disk drives” drop-down, right-click the drive then hit “Update driver.” In case the drive is not in the list, check for unknown devices in “Other devices” drop-down. 

Step 3: Tap “Search automatically for drivers.” 

Method 4: Recover Data from Backup

Your hard drive may be unrecognizable due to file corruption. The best way could be to format the drive. Some of the backup options include iCloud, Google Drive and other external hard drives. Check these backups for your files to recover deleted files from a hard drive. Once the drive is formatted, you can use it again. 

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