How to Fix External Hard Drive Not Working or Responding?

An external hard drive is a great solution for storing a large amount of data. These hard drives can also be used as backup devices for computer systems. The data stored on a drive can be easily accessed by connecting to a computer system through USB cable or at times wireless depending on the type of device.

But, at times, your external hard drive suddenly stops working and does not respond, barricading you from being able to use the data present on it. There can be several reasons for such a problem. This article explains reasons for external hard drive not responding and hard drive data recovery.


Reasons for External Hard Drive not responding

There could be many reasons for the ‘hard drive not responding’ issue but here are some basic ones written down for you:

  1. Virus Installation: Many times, you end up installing some kind of virus or malware on the system, while downloading files from unknown sources. This may affect the hard drive, obstructing your access to the data.
  2. Mechanical Damage: Mishandling of the hard drive may cause some damage to its elements. This makes the drive unresponsive.
  3. Bad Sector: A bad sector on a hard drive can cause read or write commands to fail.
  4. Driver: Damage to the external hard drive could also happen due to an outdated or corrupted driver, which can make it difficult to access data on it.

Solutions to Fix &Recover Data from ‘Not Responding’ External Hard Drive

Here are some steps which you can follow to get your precious data back from not working hard drive:

  1. Power Management Setting: If you are using a laptop, there is a chance that your system could be on power-saving mode which might be restricting the system to access the external hard drive. You can solve this issue easily by doing this:
  • Press ‘Windows’ + R keys to open Run window.
  • Enter ‘devmgmt.msc’ and press Enter key.
  • When the ‘Device Manager’ window opens, find ‘Universal Serial Bus Controllers’.
  • Right-click on your external device from the given list.
  • Select ‘Properties’ and open the ‘Power Management’ tab.
  • If “Allow your computer to turn off this device to save energy” option is selected, deselect it.

Restart your system and see if it works. Otherwise, proceed to the next step.

  1. Reinstall the Hard Drive: Open Device Manager and delete your external hard drive by right-clicking on it, followed by clicking ‘OK.’ Disconnect and then reconnect it to the system and check if it works.
  2. Run Anti-Virus: Try running the anti-virus software or install an effective one, if not already installed. It will detect any virus or malware on the system and kill it, which might be causing the issue.
  3. Reinstallation of Driver: In case of a corrupted or damaged driver, reinstall it. To do this, open the Device Manager, go to the ‘Drivers’ tab and delete the ‘External Device’ by right-clicking on it. After that restart your system, the driver will be installed automatically.
  4. Data Recovery Service: If everything in your hand fails and you are still unable to access the data in your external hard drive, then it is suggested that you go for a data recovery service. Stellar data recovery India is the number one ISO Certified data recovery organization. It has a Class 100 Clean Room labs facility, especially to recover data from physically damaged hard drives. Stellar data recovery professionals can recover up to 100% of your data with safety and privacy. You can also avail of free pickup and drop facility.


‘Not Responding’ is one of the most irritating messages which can pop on your screen, while accessing your external hard drive. Although you can’t really stop it from happening, you can surely try to fix it and recover data by using the solutions mentioned in the post. However, the best way is to seek the help of Stellar Data Recovery Services to get back all your important data from the ‘not responding’ hard drive.


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