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How to fix Second hard drive not detected in Windows 10

A Windows 10 system can support multiple hard drives. Some systems, depending on the motherboard they have, can support an internal SSD and an internal HDD. Likewise, you can connect multiple external HDDs (or SSDs) to a system. 

A hard drive isn’t difficult to configure; it will connect over a simple USB port, it can work with either a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 port, and it’s plug & play. Windows 10 will automatically be able to detect it and install the right drivers for it.

To access a hard drive, you can open File Explorer and it will be listed under This PC. You can copy and paste files to it as easily as you would to an internal drive. 

Second hard drive not detected in Windows 10

A hard drive, regardless if it’s internally connected or externally connected, will be detected easily. You should hear the new hardware found sound when you connect it and there may be a few seconds of a wait while a driver for it is installed but the device will be accessible almost immediately.

Second hard drive not detected in Windows 10

If your second hard drive has not been detected in Windows 10, try the fixes below.

1. Change USB port and cable

One of the main reasons a hard drive is not detected is often the cable that is used to connect it to a system. Change it out and check if the drive is detected.

On a similar note, try connecting the drive to a different USB port. A loose port can be the reason a peripheral or a hard drive doesn’t connect properly.

Connect the hard drive directly to your system. Don’t use a USB hub or an extension cable. If you have another system, try connecting the drive to it and check if it’s detected.

2. Scan for hardware changes

Windows 10 may not have detected the drive as new hardware. If it doesn’t detect it as new hardware, it won’t be able to connect it.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Click the Scan for hardware changes button at the top.
  3. Windows 10 will detect the hard drive and it should show up in File Explorer under This PC.

3. Install proprietary app/drivers

Some hard drives come with proprietary drivers or apps. The absence of these may block the drive from being detected. Check if there are any drivers or an app available from the manufacturer of your hard drive. Connect the drive again and check if it shows up in File Explorer.

4. Update drivers

Windows 10 may have outdated drivers for your hard drive. Updating them can get the drive to connect to your system.

  1. Open Device Manager.
  2. Expand Disk drives.
  3. Right-click your secondary drive and select Update driver.
  4. Search online for drivers and install the ones that are available.
  5. Restart the system for good measure.

5. Change drive letter

When you connect a hard drive to your system, Windows 10 automatically assigns it a letter that is needed to give the drive an ‘address’. The drive letter plays an important part in making the drive itself accessible. If your secondary hard drive isn’t detected, try changing the drive letter.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter diskmgmt.msc and tap Enter.
  3. Right-click your drive and select the Change Drive Letter and Paths option.
  4. Select a new letter to assign to the drive.
  5. Click Next and the drive will be assigned a new letter.
  6. Access the drive from File Explorer.

Conclusion

A secondary drive, short of physical damage or data corruption, will be detected with a little bit of tinkering. If you suspect the drive has been physically damaged, you will have to look into data recovery options. It’s possible you won’t be able to use the drive to store files anymore. If data has been corrupted, your drive may still be usable since data corruption isn’t synonymous with hardware damage.

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