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Connecting External Hard Drives to Your Computer

external hard drives

Need to upgrade the amount of storage in your computer, but can’t install new internal hard drives? Or maybe you share a lot of different files across multiple devices and need the portability of a USB device.

Whatever the case, connecting external hard drives to your computer should be fairly straight forward.

Connecting the USB Hard Drive

Connecting a USB hard drive is just a matter of plugging in one end of the USB cable into your device and the other into the computer. The computer end should be a standard size and typically USB 2.0 or 3.0. You’ll want to ensure you plug into the highest version that your hard drive supports – since 3.0 has roughly ten times the data transfer rate.

If your external hard drive does support USB 3.0, then look for one on your computer for the matching port (if applicable). These tend to be blue colored on the inside.

Some new drives may be USB Type-C – which is not supported on every computer. It has a different style of port than standard USB cables.

Configuration Options After Connecting the Drive

Once connected, Windows 10 should automatically search for the correct driver and install it. If and when Windows installs the driver, you may also want to perform other actions – such as formatting the drive.

To do so, locate File Explorer using the search box on the taskbar. After bringing it up, select “This PC” and locate your new drive. From here, you can right-click the drive and click Format.

Issue: Windows Not Detecting Hard Drive

As indicated, Windows will attempt to search for the correct device driver. If it doesn’t find one or defaults to a generic driver that isn’t optimal, you may need to be prepared to do it yourself.

Search for the Driver and Install It Manually

If you have a disk (or thumb drive) that came with the manufacture’s drivers, you’ll typically want to use them.

Go into the Device Manager (you can find it from the search box) and locate the new hard drive. From here, right-click and choose Update Drivers. You should select Browse my computer for driver software and provide the location of the media to install from.

It’s possible you may not have the manufacturer’s driver or it may be outdated. In either case, you can search the manufacturer’s website for the most up-to-date driver (you’ll need the model and serial number) and download it.

Automate the Process of Keeping Drivers Updated

Software, such as Driver Support, can make the task of keeping drivers updated easier and quicker.

Driver Support will inventory your computer for all supported devices. When you register for the service, it will update any drivers missing or out of date.

Faulty USB Ports

Other potential behaviors may occur when you first hook up your external hard drive.

For one, the drive may not even be detected by Windows, which might involve an issue with the USB port. You might have something causing conflict internally, such as something in settings or even the aforementioned device driver (this time the USB driver).

If you run out of ideas, try unplugging and reconnecting the drive. You may also want to connect the hard drive into another computer for testing purposes. If this also fails to work, it may be time to contact the device’s manufacturer.

Install Driver Support to Keep Your Devices Running Smoothly

Since 1996, Driver Support has been trusted to help keep devices updated and operational.

The convenience factor is a plus. Having drivers kept current automatically can save you tons of effort. That saved time can be used for doing other things – like searching through years of vacation photos.