External hard drive lights up but not detected

If you would see your external drive’s light on that indicates your drive is active. Although the drive is active, you won’t be able to detect the drive on the PC. If you are one among those who are facing similar issues, here is an all in one guide to fix external hard drive blinking but not detected issues. With the help of a simple method, you can recover lost data from undetected external hard drives.

External hard drive blinking but not working issue is mostly seen in Seagate hard drives and other external hard drives.

However, irrespective of the storage device brand, if you are facing this issue you can easily fix the issue with the help of methods mentioned below. Follow the write-up to know the best workaround to fix the problem.

How To Fix The External Drive Blinking But Not Detected By Computer?

Let us consider two scenarios based on which various fixing methods are explained in the coming section.

Scenario 1: External hard drive not recognized

Scenario 2: External hard drive blinking but not recognised

If you’re a Mac user and facing the same issue, click here to troubleshoot the issue of an external hard drive that is not recognized by the Mac computer.

Scenario 1: External hard drive not recognized

With the help of various methods described here, you can easily fix the issue with external hard drives that are undetected by the computer.

Method 1: Change the USB Port

If you are using the damaged USB port, your drive won’t get detected by the computer. Hence, plug in your device via another port to identify if there exists any problem with the USB port or not.

Method 2: Turn On USB Root Hub

You can easily fix the issue just by turning on all USB Root Hub. Follow the below given steps to turn on the USB root hub.

  1. Click Start -> Type devmgmt.msc -> Press Enter
  2. Click Device Manager -> Expand Universal Serial Bus controllers
  3. Next, right-click on USB Root Hub -> Properties followed by Power Management
  1.     Disable Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power

Follow the process for all USB Root Hub and Reboot PC and verify your external device is detected or not by the PC.

Method 3: Run the Anti-Virus

Clearing the virus from the computer resolves most of the issues with the computer. By running trusted anti-virus software, you can easily remove the virus from the drive as well as the PC and make your drive accessible.

Scenario 2: External Drive Not Working but Blinking

In this scenario an external hard drive is active but cannot be detected by the computer. Follow the methods shown below to fix this issue.

Method 1: Enable all Hidden Devices

Try fixing the issue of external hard drive blinking but not recognized by the computer by unhiding all the hidden devices.

  1. Go to Start -> Type: devmgmt.msc -> Enter
  2. In Device Manager -> choose View ->
  3. Click on + sign to expand all notes
  4. Now. right-click on greyed entries and choose uninstall
  5. Lastly, reboot the PC and try again

Method 2: Uninstall Driver

Sometimes, improper drivers lead to the issues such as external disk blinking but unrecognized. To fix the issue follow the steps mentioned as below–

  1. Go to Start >> type devmgmt.msc –> Enter
  2. Expand Universal Serial Universal Serial Bus controllers
  3. Right-click on each USB device à Uninstall (Verify whether there is an unrecognized device or not).
  4. If you encounter any unrecognized device, click on Drivers tab >> uninstall the drivers
  5. Now, check My Computer/My PC for external drive
  6. If the drive is not shown on My PC, restart your PC.

Note:  In case if the external device shows up initially but disappear later, then repeat the above step and click on Disk Management, Change Drive Letter and try reconnecting it

Method 3: Change Registry

Another approach to fix the issue is to change the registry. Below mentioned are the steps to modify Registry:

External hard drive lights up but not detected

  1. Go to Start
  2. Type: regedt32 and click OK
  3. Backup Registry
  4. Click Export
  5. In left side, click OK,


  1. Delete upper filter or lower filter
  2. Retry connecting the external drive

Now, try opening your drive to access the data.

What if you fix the error and encounter that all your data is lost? Be it accidentally deleted or formatted or lost data due to corruption in the drive. With the help of an efficient external hard drive recovery tool you can get back your important data.

Recover Data From Undetectable External Drive with Light On

External hard drive lights up but not detected
External hard drive lights up but not detected

To recover data from external drives blinking, download and install the application on your Windows or Mac systems. Connect your external hard drive to your computer and launch SFWare External Hard Drive Recovery tool.

Step 1: Click on the Recover Drive/Partition from the main screen and Drive/ Partition Recovery, it scans for the lost or deleted files and displays all the disks found on the system

External hard drive lights up but not detected

Step 2: Check the drive and click on the detected external drive. now, Scanning is imitated.

External hard drive lights up but not detected

Step 3: Once the scanning completes, you can see the recoverable files are displayed in File Type or the Data Type View option. Select the files you wish to recover.

External hard drive lights up but not detected

Depending upon the size of external drive, scanning and recovery process takes place. Once the process completes, double click on the recovered files to preview the recovered files and save the them in the desired location. Make sure you save in a different location from where has been recovered.


In any external hard drive, issues such as drive not accessible or undetectable is quite common. It is always rewarding and safe to keep the backup of the important data. Above mentioned are the few of the methods to get back your drive to the working mode.

Do let us know if you are successful in fixing the problem of external hard drive blinking but is not working, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why my hard drive is not showing up but light is on?

One of the most common causes is a bad USB port or cable. In addition, there are some other factors for the problem like improper device settings, outdated or corrupted hard drive driver, a virus, etc.

How do I fix my external hard drive blinking but not detectable?

Quite often, issues such as a Seagate external hard disk light blinking but not being detected can be fixed by simply rebooting the computer. To do this, disconnect your external hard drive from the computer. Now turn off the PC for at least 1 minute. Then reconnect the external hard drive and turn on the computer.

How do I fix my hard drive that Cannot be detected?

Ways To Fix Hard Drive Not Detected.
#1) Check Hard Drive Cable Connection..
#2) Initialize And Format Hard Drive..
#3) Partition And Format Hard Drive..
#4) Assign A Drive Letter For Drive..
#5) Recover Data From Unallocated Hard Drive..
#6) Run Hardware And Devices Troubleshooter..
#7) Check For Driver Updates Manually..

How do I recover an undetected external hard drive?

Here's a lst of pro tips on how you can fix your Hard Drive, which is not being detected by your Windows PC..
Try Plugging in the Hard Drive into another USB port. ... .
Try Connecting the External Hard Drive to Another Computer. ... .
Create a New Volume to the Unallocated Partition. ... .
Update Disk Drivers. ... .
Assign a Drive Letter..