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Jul 23

How to troubleshoot Western Digital hard drive detection errors on Windows

Reading Time: 3 mins

Over the years, users of Western Digital hard drives have complained of detection errors when they try to connect these hard drives to a computer system. Many users dread this particular error because they often don’t know how to circumvent, troubleshoot, or solve their western digital hard drive detection errors when it occurs. However, there are ways to fix these detection errors. All you need to do is to know some basic principles and know your way around a computer system.

More often than not, you need to find the source of a computer glitch before you can fix or troubleshoot it, and it is the same with windows detection errors of western digital hard drives. The most common reason for this error is formatting in an incompatible file system, but that’s just one of a list of others.

Other factors responsible for hard drive detection errors on windows include:

  1. Physical damage to the hard drive
  2. Incompatible device drivers
  3. Hardware damage to the USB port

If you’re currently experiencing hard drive detection errors on your windows operating system, here are a few ways to fix it:


Method 1

Disclaimer: If you opt to use this method, you will experience loss of all forms of data on the hard drive in context. You should only attempt this method if you don’t care about the stored data, if it is a new hard drive, or you already backed the data on another storage medium.

Apply this method only if your hard drive displays a prompt saying that it is not initialized in Disk Management. Follow these quick steps for a fix:

  • Locate and click on Disk Management by opening the Run dialog and entering the command ‘diskmgmt.msc’ (excluding the quotes)
  • Locate and right-click on the Western Digital hard drive that you want to initialize
  • Choose ‘Initialize Disk’ and pick a partition between MBR and GPT
  • Right-click on the disk and select the ‘Create New Simple Volume’ option
  • Follow the instructions of the Wizard


Method 2: Assign a drive letter to Western Digital hard drive partition

Sometimes, you might not find the Western Digital hard drive in the Windows File Explorer. Don’t panic. The problem is probably a missing or incompatible drive letter, and it quite simple to fix. Here’s how:

  1. Locate and open Disk Management
  2. Locate and right-click the target hard drive partition and choose the ‘Change Drive Letter and Paths’ option.
  3. A new window page will come up after the previous action. When it does, click on the ‘Add’ option to allocate a drive letter to the partition or click on the ‘Change’ option to change it.
  4. It’s as simple as that. You should now be able to view the drive in the File Explorer.

Method 3: Update Device Drivers

Sometimes, hard disk detection errors occur because your device drivers are obsolete and incompatible with your computer. This problem will make it unrecognizable by your computer. Fixing this is quite simple too. Here’s how:

  1. Locate and click on Disk Management by opening the Run dialog and entering the command ‘devmgmt.msc’ (excluding the quotes).
  2. An exclamation mark should be quite visible near your Western Digital hard drive. Try to locate it.
  3. After locating it, right-click the hard drive, select properties and click Uninstall or click Update Driver under the Drivers tab.
  4. Restart your computer after this process. Your computer should now be able to recognize your hard disk.


Method 4: Enable USB Device in BIOS

The above methods should get your hard drive up and running on your windows system, but if not, there’s another underlying issue you might want to address. Thing is, you might have disabled USB devices in the BIOS, so anything you attach to your USB will not be recognized by your computer. To fix this error, access the BIOS settings and enable USB devices. Restart your computer after this process, and check if your computer now recognizes the hard disks.


Method 5: Malfunctioning USB ports

Computers can be quite stubborn, so you might still be experiencing hard detection errors after trying out all the previous fixes. Once again, don’t panic. This time, try connecting your hard disk to different ports on your computer to check if it works with any of them. If you think the port is the source of the problem, you can confirm your theory by connecting it to another device.


To properly manage cases of hard drive detection errors, follow the tips below:

  • Update your device drivers regularly
  • Install a top-rated anti-virus program on your computer to protect your data from malware.
  • Backup your data on secondary storage devices as a data security measure.



There’s an unending number of reasons why you may be experiencing Western Digital hard drive detection errors on your windows device. The experience can be quite frustrating but you can try the above troubleshooting methods listed above. If your windows system still doesn’t detect or recognize the hard drive after connection, you can try connecting it to another windows computer.

In the situation where the other computer doesn’t detect or recognize the hard drive too, then there is a hardware issue somewhere. In cases like this, it is vital to hire a professional data recovery firm to help recover your data and fix and recover your WD hard drive data.



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