Have you ever plugged in your external drive to your computer and suddenly not gain access? In this article, we provide four effective solutions for your USB drive not being initialized. Below are instructions on how to initialize your hard drive, switch connection cables, scan your computer for viruses and malware, clean your external drive with DiskPart, diagnose hard drive problems, and fix MBR.
Using an external hard drive could seem as easy as plugging it in to a USB port for the average user. A hard drive may be successfully installed to your computer but will not actually appear on My Computer. It might also appear as “disk is unknown, not initialized, unallocated” in System Tools.
Hard drive issues usually attack Windows users unexpectedly which could be frustrating. This often shows a prompt “Disk Unknown Not Initialized”. This could be due to a variety of reasons like a virus or malware infection, file system damage, bad sectors, MBR corruption, partition loss, etc. If you’re unable to determine the cause, simply follow the four solutions one by one until you successfully fix the issue.
This is easiest way to fix “Disk Unknown Not Initialized” issue. Follow the steps below.
1. Right-click on My Computer > Manage to run Disk Management.
2. Right-click the hard drive and click “Initialize Disk”.
3. In the dialog box, select disk(s) to initialize and choose MBR or GPT partition style.
Initializing your hard drive will result in complete data loss. If this happens, you may recover lost data using a data recovery software. This will not void the warranty or your external hard drive. If you’re using a Seagate hard drive, you may use Seagate recovery software or its recovery service. For SanDisk brands, it is recommended to use Ontrack EasyRecovery or FILERECOVERY software.
When initializing your external drive, you might receive an error saying that the request could not be completed because of an I/O device error. This error may be due to a connection problem. In this case, you should use another cable to connect the external drive. You may also connect your drive to another working computer.
Viruses and malware may be infecting your hard drive; these will continuously write data to your drive, preventing other programs from gaining access to it. You may fix this by using Windows Defender or any third-party anti-virus or anti-malware software to perform a full scan of your computer.
If you do not need to retain the data in your drive, you may use Windows built-in tool DiskPart.exe to clean up the hard drive and initialize it. This will allow your external hard drive to show in your File Explorer again. Follow the steps below to perform this
1. Press Windows + R and type in “diskpart.exe”.
2. In the pop-up window, type “list disk”.
3. Type “select disk [disk number]”. If the external hard drive unable to initialize is shown as disk 1, type in “select disk 1”.
5. Type “clean all”.
6. Use Disk Management to initialize the disk. You may also initialize disk with DiskPart.
If your external hard drive still cannot initialize after following all the steps above, it may be due to the drive containing bad sectors or that it is physically broken. You may use AOIMEI Partition Assistant to run a Disk Surface Test. To find out if your external hard drive needs replacing, download a professional hard drive diagnostic software. If you’re using a West Digital hard drive, you may download Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows.
Sometimes, Windows is unable to access data from your drive when the Master Boot Record (MBR) of your hard drive is corrupted. This will appear as prompt “Disk unknown, not initialized, unallocated”. In this case, you may use a disk partition software. AOIMEI Partition Assistant is a free software that allows you to rebuild MBR to recover data from your uninitialized disk. This enables you to resize/move, merge, partitions with no loss to your data, and create bootable media to manage hard disk partitions under Windows PE. It is a free and safe partition tool available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, and XP.
“Disk Unknown Not Initialized” issue can be solved quickly and easily using any of the solutions provided. A disk partition software such AOIMEI Partition Assistant can be very useful. If the problem with your external hard drive is not resolved by following any of the listed solutions above, it may be an indication that your hard drive should be replaced. You may need to wipe out your external hard drive before disposing it.