Fix: External Hard Drive ‘No Media Error’

External hard drives provide a very good way of storing important files and data. But if you use external hard drives on a regular basis, you might face the “No Media Error”. This error can occur at any time without any warning even if your external hard drive worked fine the last time you used it. Basically, your external hard drive doesn’t show up on the computer when you connect it. Sometimes you won’t be able to format it. Mostly, it doesn’t show up anywhere else as well like in Device manager, Disk management and Computer Management but in some cases it might show up on the Device Manager or Disk Management.

There are a lot of things that can cause this issue and that is why there is a wide range of solutions available out there. It can be because of the corrupted drivers, faulty port, less power in the port and several other things causing the issue.

Since there is no solid way of checking what is causing the issue, start from method 1 and keep going until the problem is solved. But first go through the troubleshooting to help you determine where the actual issue is.

  1. Sometimes the problem might simply be in the connectivity. Your USB port needs to connect properly in order for your drive to work. A bad or lose connection between the port and the external drive can cause this problem as well. So make sure your drive is properly connected to the USB port. Try to plug it in a few times and move it a little bit. Make sure it is properly inserted.
  2. If your external drive have lights make sure to check if those are on. The lights should turn on when the external drive is connected properly.
  3. Try to plug in your drive in different ports. It maybe because of a faulty port.
  4. Try to use your external drive with another computer and check it works there. If the external drive is working on the other computer then that means your drive is fine, the problem is probably with a specific PC. If your device is working on another PC then right click on the drive and select Format (make sure you back up your date before formatting). Now check your external drive with the computer that’s causing the issue.
  5. Mac and Windows use different file systems (Mac uses HFS and Windows uses NTFS) for USB and external drives. So if you have been using your external hard drive with a Mac then it might cause issues on Windows (and vice versa). The solution for this would be to format the drive in Windows in order for it to work on Windows (make sure you back up the data before formatting).

Method 1: Check Device Manager for disconnected devices

For Windows 8, 8.1 and 10:

  1. Hold Windows Key and press X.
  2. Click Command Prompt (Admin).
  3. Click View
  4. Select Show Hidden Devices
  5. Expand all the entries by double clicking them
  6. Locate any greyed out Right click and select Uninstall for any grey entries you find.
  7. Restart your computer

For Windows 7 and earlier versions:

  1. Click Start then type cmd in the search box and press CTRL, SHIFT and Enter simultaneously (CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER)
  2. Type set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and press Enter
  3. Type cd\ and press Enter
  4. Type cd windows\system32 and press Enter
  5. Type start devmgmt.msc and press Enter
  6. Click View
  7. Select Show Hidden Devices
  8. Expand all the entries by double clicking them
  9. Locate any greyed out Right click and select Uninstall for any grey entries you find.
  10. Restart your computer

Connect your external hard drive once the computer is restarted. Now check if the issue is solved or not. If that doesn’t solve the problem repeat the steps from 1-9, right click the greyed out entry and select Scan for Hardware changes.

Method 2: Connecting to the back USB PORT

If you have a Seagate external hard drive and using one of the front USB ports for the connectivity then the issue might be with the proper powering of the external hard drive. Sometimes the USB port doesn’t provide enough power. Try to connect your external hard drive to the USB port found on the back of your computer.

You should try to change the port even if your external hard drive isn’t a Seagate’s drive.

Method 3: Changing the letter of the drive

  1. Hold Windows Key and press R
  2. Type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter
  3. Check if your external hard drive is showing up in the list. If you can locate the external hard drive then right click and select change Drive letter and Paths…
  4. Click Change
  5. Select a drive letter from the drop down menu (located on the side of Assign the following drive letter)
  6. Click ok

Method 4: Use Diskpart to assign a letter to the drive

  1. Click Start
  2. Type Diskpart in the search box
  3. Right click the Diskpart from the search results and select Run as administrator
  4. Type list volume and press Enter
  5. You should be able to see your external hard drive among others now
  6. Type select volume 1 (replace 1 with the volume number assigned to your drive in the list)
  7. Type assign letter T (replace T with your choice of letter)

Now close the Diskpart and check if the computer recognizes your drive.

Method 5: Check the power source

If you are using an adapter or a hard drive enclosure and you have a 3.5 inch drive then proper power might be the issue. There are a few adapters that come with their own power supply but most of them require you to connect proper power for your drive.

So if you are using an adapter or an enclosure then connect it with a power supply (or something else) to deliver the power. Your USB port might not be capable enough to deliver enough power for the drive. You can check the adapter or drive casing manufacture website to make sure if it handles the power requirements or not.

Note: Some 2.5 inch drives might also require more power than usual (it depends on the drive) so if you are using a 2.5 inch hard drive with an adapter then try to connect it with a reliable power source as well.

Method 6: Repair Hard Drive with Chkdsk

In extreme cases, your external hard drive might be damaged and have bad sectors. This problem can be solved by running chkdsk repair tool. The chkdsk will check your drive for any bad sectors and will repair the disk if it finds any problem.

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type cmd and press Enter
  3. Type chkdsk #: /R and press Don’t forget to replace “#” with your Drive letter.

Now the computer will check your drive for errors and try to repair them if it finds any. This process can take a long time so wait patiently even if there’s no progress for the first few minutes.

Method 7: Enable the external drive

In rare cases, your external hard drive might automatically be disabled. If your drive is disabled then enabling it usually solves the problem.

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type devmgmt.msc and press Enter
  3. Locate your external drive. It should be under Universal Serial Bus Controller with the name USB Mass Storage.
  4. Check if it has a red mark or an arrow on it. It if does then right click and select Enable. If you can’t see the Enable option then that means the drive is already enabled.

Now check the Disk Drives (by double clicking Disk Drive) in the Device Manager and make sure that the drive is enabled as well. If it isn’t, meaning it has the same mark as that of the USB Mass Storage, then right click and select Enable.

Now check if the problem is solved or not.

Expert Tip

Fix: External Hard Drive ‘No Media Error’

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Reimage Plus which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Reimage by clicking the Download button below.

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