5. Change the USB cable
Strangely, USB cables fail every so often, so try to plug in the hard disk with another USB cable.
The hard drive manual usually highlights a list of compatible cables. Also, take a closer look at our best universal USB cable kits for PCs to find the proper one for your needs.
6. Try a different PC
This is pretty straightforward. To eliminate the possibility of the present PC being the cause of the fatal error external hard drive fault, plug the concerned hard disk into a laptop or any other accessible machine.
The hard drive may work here meaning there’s something wrong with the original PC.
7. Rescan the disk
- Unplug the disk.
- Replug it back in.
- Select Action then Rescan Disks (when prompted).
Sometimes the error disappears after the hard disk has been rescanned for errors.
8. Ensure that the drive is receiving power
For external Desktop hard drives, plugging the power cable directly into the wall outlet (instead of the UPS-universal power supply or a power-strip stabilizes the power supply).
For portable drives, using a USB power booster cable can help supply extra power.
9. Scan the hard drive for errors
- Press the Windows key + E to open the Windows 10 Explorer window.
- Click on the This PC tab (on the left pane).
- From the list of drives that are displayed, right-click on the relevant external hard drive then choose Properties.
- Now click on Tools from the properties window.
- Under the error checking area, click on Check and finally click scan drive.
The computer will run through the steps without further interruptions.
The Windows hard drive error checking tool (chkdsk) can help in detecting and sometimes repairing some root causes of the problematic matter.
Run chkdsk from Cmd
- Right-click on Start.
- Right-click on Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu list.
- Type cd and press Enter.
- Now type chkdsk c: /r then press Enter (replace c with the appropriate external drive letter). Remember to include the spaces as shown.
- The chkdsk process starts as soon the above command is entered.
The system will inspect the chosen drive and go ahead to repair any discovered misconfigurations.
This Windows-centric utility can also be launched from cmd (as an administrator).
10. Run further disk tests
Some manufacturers like Western Digital, Transcend, and Seagate have specific diagnostic tools for external hard drives like the WD drive utilities.
Owners of hard disks from these companies can thus visit the respective websites and download this troubleshooting software for further tests.
If the hard drive is still not being recognized after all these, then it’s most likely seriously damaged and may need to be replaced.
It’s always advisable to try and backup all data (where possible) or to use data recovery software to retrieve important information before discarding the disk.