Can’t Access External Hard Drive

Picture of a external hard drive's USB connector

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

When it rains it pours. (Fittingly enough, it was literally raining like the dickens today.) I’ve been fighting a couple of hardware (I think) issues at the library. One, I’m still muddling through, so I won’t talk about that. What I will talk about is the external hard drive I use to backup the NAS device on which all the staff documents are stored.

The 1 TB hard drive had been attached to a test PC I have. Well, the time came where I needed that PC for something else. So I tried to move the hard drive to my laptop so that I could continue to, y’know, actually do backups. But when I plugged it into my USB hub, it wasn’t showing up in my My Computer window. I could eject it as normal, but I couldn’t get to the data.

My first thought was that the hub didn’t recognize a USB 3 connection. So I plugged it directly into the laptop. No Dice. Then I tried another hard drive (what you don’t keep spare 1 TB hard drive just lying around?) but neither the hub nor the laptop would recognize the infernal drive.

After a couple of Google searches I hit upon the right one. And it is resolved thusly:

1.) Click Start

2.) Right-click Computer

3.) Click Manage

Computer Management Menu

4.) Click Disk Management under Storage

5.) Look for a disk that doesn’t have a letter in parenthesis in the name

6.) Right-click that disk

7.) Click Change Driver Letter and Paths…

Disk Management Window Showing an Unassigned Drive

8.) Click Add

Add Drive Letter Dialog Box

9.) Choose a letter from the drop down

10.) Click OK

Assigning a Drive Letter

And, abracadabra, the disk as a letter and you can get at the stuff contained therein.

Computer Management Window with Newly assigned drive letter

Further Reading: I actually got pointed in the right direction by a fantastic site called Tom’s Hardware. Here’s the forum in question: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/288673-32-external-show-explorer-shows-device-manager 

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