Written by Uhro

How can I make my drive visible in Windows?

You have received your new hard drive or SSD and you immediately want to transfer your files. This way, they're not only safely encrypted, but you can also directly take them with you. It seems as if your drive is not visible in your Windows explorer. Don't panic, use the following step-by-step guide to see how to make your drive visible.

Open Disk Management

Schijfbeheer Windows HDD harde schijf

To find out why your HDD or SSD isn't found, it's important to open the so-called 'Disk Management'. You use this disk management to set up your hard drive. You can find this screen on every Windows computer. Here you can find and configure all of your hard drives. Use the following steps to open this screen:

  1. Click the Windows logo using the right mouse button.
  2. Choose 'Disk Management'.

Why doesn't Windows recognize the hard drive?

There could be a number of reasons why you don't see your drive in your Explorer. Use disk management to recognize what's happening in your situation.

The drive isn't formatted for Windows.

Harde schijf niet Windows geformatteerd

The manufacturer often formats a hard drive for a specific operating system. This is called formatting. When a drive is formatted for macOS, this doesn't mean that you can't use it on Windows. You just have to format it again. You can recognize this from the 'RAW' status.

The drive is not ready for use.

Harde schijf niet klaar voor gebruik

A new hard drive is often not ready for use. The drive hasn't yet been initialized. You can also recognize this from the 'Not initialized' status. Initializing a drive is necessary to make the drive ready for use. After a drive has been initialized, you can start arranging the drive and start adding folders. You can arrange your drive in partitions.

Partitions have not been made yet.

Harde schijf geen partities

Sometimes, it may happen that your hard drive has been initialized, but that partitions haven't been made yet. Partitions are the locations that you use to store your files. It's important that you can recognize these partitions from a letter. Windows, for instance, is usually always on the C: drive.

How do you make the drive visible?

Now that the cause is known, we can make the drive visible again. Depending on the cause, here are some possible solutions.

Format the drive

A drive that's not intended for Windows has to be formatted first. You can read how to do this in this step-by-step guide:

  1. Use the right mouse button to click on the disk space, this is the white part at the right with the blue top rim at the right of the disk management.
  2. Select the option 'Formatting...'. A new screen will appear.
  3. Choose the 'NTFS' file system if you solely want to use the drive for Windows. Do you want to use the drive for both Windows and macOS? Choose 'exFAT'.*
  4. Choose a name with a maximum of 32 characters for the drive and enter this at Volume Name.
  5. Choose the 'Formatting' option.
  6. The drive is almost ready for use. Use the right mouse button to click on the drive space in the disk management again and choose the 'Change Drive Letter and Paths' option. Choose a letter for the drive in the new window and press 'OK'.

The drive is now visible when you open the explorer.

(Initialize and) partition the drive

If the drive isn't ready for use yet, you have to initialize it and partition it afterwards. You can do this by following the next steps:

  1. (Optional) Use the right mouse button to click on the white block on the right and choose the option 'New simple volume'. A new window will appear.
  2. Choose the option: 'Format this volume with the following settings'.
  3. Do you only use the drive for Windows? Choose the 'NTFS' file system. If you're also using the drive for macOS, use 'exFAT'.*
  4. Use Volume name to set up a name for the drive. This may consist of a maximum of 32 characters.
  5. Click on next.
  6. Select a letter for the drive in the drop-down menu and click on 'Next'.
  7. Check the settings of the drive and select the option 'Complete'.

Open the explorer. Your drive is now visible.

*NTFS offers more reliability than exFAT thanks to file encryption. You can use this to encrypt your files. NTFS is also less error-prone. On top of that, NTFS offers the possibility of log files, so you can see what happened during drive failure.

Is it not working?

We'll gladly help you make your hard drive visible. Can't do it with the help of these steps? Please contact our customer service.

Article by:
Uhro Storage Expert.

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