How to fix external hard drive not accessible in Windows 10/8/7?

By Katrina | Posted to Data Recovery , updated on June 25th, 2019 |

Summary: Depressed when your access to an external hard drive is denied by Windows 10/8/7? Want to recover data from inaccessible external hard drives? This post shows you how to recover data from inaccessible drives with iBoysoft Data Recovery as well as how to fix the 'disk is not accessible. Access is denied' problem.

Table of contents
1. The external hard drive is not accessible in Windows 10/8/7
2. How to recover data from inaccessible external hard drives?
3. How to fix external hard drive not accessible in Windows 10/8/7/XP?

External hard drives are frequently plugged in and out between different computers to transfer files like text, pictures, audios, videos, word files, etc. However, in this process, the most horrible thing is that the external hard drive becomes inaccessible suddenly. That's to say, you can't open this drive because your access to this drive is denied by the Windows computer.

Then, what's exactly this disk error like on a Windows computer? Let's have a look at some common "disk not accessible" problems first.

The external hard drive is not accessible in Windows 10/8/7

As a matter of fact, it is a commonplace for many users that the external hard drive or a USB flash drive is not accessible on Windows 10/8/7/XP.

Here is a real case from Microsoft Community:

Hello people! Today I really need your help. For the past week I have been doing nothing but only tagging my music files which I have in my Western Digital 1TB HDD. Two days I ago I started to notice that some songs wouldn't play halfway through, or sometimes when I put some songs to play on VLC, it would instead play a video which I have somewhere in my external hard drive as well but in a completely different folder location.

My simple solution at first was to re-plug my external HDD (via USB 2.0) and everything became OK (songs would play correctly). Then yesterday the same thing happened, but this time I could not delete or create any folder inside my WD HDD. I googled for some answers to my problem and I kept reading about the error-checking tool (Properties > Tools > Check Now) so I performed that. Everything was fine after that. Then later on that day, I had the same problem and I performed again the error-checking tool process but this time I noticed it took longer!

After that my nightmare started!

Even though my Western Digital 1TB external hard drive was/is visible (icon) in Explorer, I could not access/open it. This pop-up would say "I:\ is not accessible. Access is denied."

I googled now about this same problem and I was very scared because someone says that the hard drive may have died and I could lose all my data on this external hard drive. I don't know what to do now.

As you can see, when your computer is unable to read a removable disk, you will get an error message as mentioned in the example. Also, it is possible that you received a different but similar message when your external hard drive is not accessible in Windows 10/8/7.

Generally, the error message could be:

Most of the time, when you received one of these pop-ups, this external hard drive is likely to be infected with virus and be damaged after an improper operation, power failure, or unsafe ejection. All these factors could make your drive inaccessible in Windows 10/8/7. Thus, continue reading and learn how to fix external hard drive not accessible in Windows 10/8/7 without losing data.

How to recover data from inaccessible external hard drives?

No matter what message you received when the hard disk becomes inaccessible, the first thing is to recover files from your external hard drive as soon as possible.

Then, how can you get your important files back?

iBoysoft Data Recovery is a free external hard drive data recovery tool that can recover data from inaccessible external hard drives, hard drives, USB flash drives, SD cards, memory cards, pen drives, digital camera, etc. It is powerful in photo recovery, video recovery, Microsoft word file recovery and so on. Besides, it can also recover data from formatted, RAW, unreadable, and corrupted drives. This hard drive data recovery software supports Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista and Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003.

Step-by-step guide to recover data from inaccessible external hard drives with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 1: Free download iBoysoft Data Recovery and install it on Windows 10/8/7.

Step 2: Launch iBoysoft Data Recovery.

Step 3: Select the inaccessible external hard drive and click "Next" to start scanning for all lost files.

Recover data from inaccessible external hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 4: Select target files from the scanning result and preview your files, photos, etc. if you need.

Preview data on inaccessible external hard drive with iBoysoft Data Recovery

Step 5: Click "Recover" to retrieve your files from this corrupted hard disk.

How to fix external hard drive not accessible in Windows 10/8/7/XP?

After recovering data from the inaccessible USB drive, you can go ahead to fix it without worrying about data loss.

Here are seven feasible solutions to repair inaccessible external hard drives in Windows 10/8/7. You can have a bash at them one by one.

Solution 1:Uninstall or update an old driver

As you may know, an old or outdated driver probably is the reason that a computer won't recognize external hard drives. It could feedback that your USB drive is not accessible in some cases. So, you can simply check and update your driver to solve this problem.

Step 1: Open Run with Windows shortcut keys Win + R and type in "device manager" or devmgmt.msc into the search bar. Then hit enter to open Device Manager.

Step 2: Find your external hard drive, for example, a WD drive, in the list and right-click on it.

Step 3: Choose Uninstall. If there is an update available, you can click and update your driver as the wizard told.

Uninstall older drive on Windows 10

Step 4: Restart your Windows computer and see if this external hard disk is recognized by your computer.

Solution 2:Change drive letter

Sometimes, changing drive letter is a feasible way to fix the inaccessible hard drive, because the system will reload and repair the error in the file system of this drive possibly. Now, let's get down to it.

  1. First, right-click on My Computer/This PC icon on the desktop and choose Manage.
  2. Then you need to choose Disk Management in the left pane under "Storage".
  3. Find your hard drive in the right menu and right-click it.
  4. Choose Change Drive Letter And Paths… in the context list and click on the Change button.
  5. Choose from a list of available drive letters. (Don't use A or B, which have historically been reserved for floppy drives and can sometimes confuse older software.)
  6. Finally, click OK and follow the prompts to finish drive letter change process.

Solution 3:Take Ownership of the inaccessible external hard drive

Usually, when your external hard drive shows the "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error message, it is because you don't have the privilege of accessing your disk. Under this circumstance, you have to take ownership to get the permission in Windows Explorer to fix this issue.

Step 1: Right-click on the inaccessible external hard drive and choose Properties.

Step 2: Shift to the Security tab, and then click Advanced button in this window

Take Ownership of the inaccessible external hard drive

Step 3: Under Group or user names, choose your account name to check if you have the permission to access the external hard drive.

Solution 4:Add Authenticated User to the inaccessible USB drive

Also, your access to this external hard drive is denied by the computer probably because you are not authenticated. Thus, you can follow these steps so that you can have full control over this hard drive.

Step 1: Follow the steps above and go to the Security Tab.

Step 2: Click on Edit. The Permissions box will appear.

Step 3: Click on Add button to continue.

Step 4: Add a new user named "Authenticated User" and click on OK.

Step 5: Tick the Allow box after Full control option.

Step 6: Click on Apply then OK.

Solution 5:Change Advanced Sharing option

The solution above doesn't work? Well, then you can change the sharing permissions. It will make you have the access to read and write to this drive.

Step 1: Right click the drive and select Properties.

Step 2: Press the Sharing Tab and select Advanced Sharing.

Step 3: Put a check on "share this folder" and press Permissions. Now it is clickable because you put a check on share this folder box.

Step 4: Under "Group or Usernames" there should be a default option of Everyone. If it does not show this for you, press add and type Everyone.

Step 5: Check all 3 boxes under Allow [Full control, Change, Read].

Step 6: Click OK and your problem should be solved.

Solution 6:Fix errors on the external hard drive with command line

What if your access to the Properties of this external hard drive is denied as well? Then, it should be some internal disk errors that makes your disk drive unrecognizable. You can check and repair disk corruption using cmd like CHKDSK command on Windows.

Step 1: Click Start and type in "Command Prompt" in the search box, then hit Enter.

Step 2: Enter chkdsk /r drive letter: in the pop-up window and press Enter. For example, if the inaccessible external hard drive is disk G, enter chkdsk /r g:

Step 3: Reboot your Windows 10/8/7 computer and try to access the USB drive.

Solution 7:Send the external hard drive to local data recovery company

After trying all solutions, if you still can't access the external hard drive, the drive might be physically damaged. In this case, you can send it to local data recovery company and then replace the external hard drive with a new one.

Katrina

Katrina is a data recovery expert @iBoysoft who loves to help readers solve various data recovery problems.

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