External Hard Drive Shows up as Local Disk Windows 10

Having trouble with your external hard drive appearing as a local disk in Windows 10? Let’s delve into the possible reasons and solutions for this perplexing issue.

Checking and Repairing File System Errors

To check and repair file system errors on your external hard drive in Windows 10, follow these steps:

1. Open File Explorer and locate your external hard drive.
2. Right-click on the drive and select “Properties” from the context menu.
3. In the Properties window, go to the “Tools” tab.
4. Under the “Error checking” section, click on the “Check” button.
5. If prompted, select the option to “Scan and repair drive”.
6. Windows will begin scanning the drive for errors and attempt to fix them.
7. Depending on the size of your drive and the number of errors, this process may take some time.
8. Once the scan is complete, you will receive a notification of the results.
9. If any errors were found and fixed, it is recommended to restart your computer.
10. After restarting, check if your external hard drive is now showing up correctly.


Updating External Drive Drivers

If your external hard drive is showing up as a local disk in Windows 10, it may be due to outdated or incompatible drivers. To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

1. Open Device Manager by pressing Windows key + X and selecting Device Manager from the menu.
2. Expand the “Disk drives” category, right-click on your external drive, and select “Update driver.”
3. Choose the option to search automatically for updated driver software.
4. If Windows doesn’t find any updates, you can try downloading the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website.
5. Once the driver is updated, restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved.

It’s also worth considering other factors that may affect your external drive’s recognition, such as faulty cables, power supply issues, or incorrect drive letter assignment. You can try using a different USB cable, connecting the drive to a different USB port, or checking the drive’s power supply.

If none of these steps fix the problem, you may need to consider formatting the drive. However, keep in mind that formatting will erase all data on the drive, so make sure to back up any important files before proceeding.

Remember to always scan your external drive for viruses and malware using reliable security software. Additionally, keeping your operating system and drivers up to date can prevent compatibility issues and improve overall performance.

If you encounter any difficulties during the troubleshooting process, consult the manufacturer’s support website or knowledge base for further assistance.

Formatting the External Hard Drive

Formatting an external hard drive is a helpful solution when it shows up as a local disk on Windows 10. To fix this issue, follow these steps:

1. Connect the external hard drive to your computer using the appropriate cable.
2. Open the File Explorer by pressing the Windows key + E.
3. Right-click on the external hard drive’s icon and select “Format” from the context menu.
4. In the Format window, choose the desired file system for the hard drive. If you’re using the hard drive for both Windows and macOS, select ExFAT. If it’s only for Windows, select NTFS.
5. Optionally, you can give the drive a new name in the “Volume label” field.
6. Check the “Quick Format” option if you want to format the drive quickly. Keep in mind that this won’t thoroughly check for errors on the drive.
7. Click on the “Start” button to begin the formatting process.
8. Once the formatting is complete, you can close the Format window.

Uninstalling and Reinstalling Drive Drivers

External hard drive icon with a red circle and a white cross

If your external hard drive is showing up as a local disk in Windows 10, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the drive drivers. This can help resolve any issues that may be causing the incorrect detection.

To uninstall and reinstall the drive drivers, follow these steps:

1. Press the Windows key + X and select “Device Manager” from the menu.

2. In the Device Manager window, expand the “Disk drives” category.

3. Right-click on the external hard drive that is showing up as a local disk and select “Uninstall device”.

4. In the confirmation prompt, click “Uninstall”.

5. Once the driver is uninstalled, disconnect the external hard drive from your computer.

6. Restart your computer.

7. After the restart, reconnect the external hard drive and wait for Windows to automatically reinstall the drivers.

8. Check if the issue is resolved and if the external hard drive is now correctly detected.

If the problem persists, you may need to try additional troubleshooting steps or seek further assistance.

Data Recovery Solutions for External Drives Detected as Local

  • Check Device Manager: Verify if the external drive is properly recognized and listed under Disk Drives or Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  • Update Device Drivers: Ensure that the external drive has the latest drivers installed by visiting the manufacturer’s website or using Windows Update.
  • Change Drive Letter: Assign a unique drive letter to the external drive using Disk Management to resolve any conflicts with local disk drives.
  • Run Disk Management: Open Disk Management and check if the external drive is listed there. If so, initialize and format the drive to make it usable.
  • Perform a Power Cycle: Disconnect the external drive, power off the computer, unplug the power cord, wait for a few minutes, reconnect everything, and power on the computer again.
  • Try a Different USB Port or Cable: Connect the external drive to a different USB port or use a different USB cable to rule out any issues with the current connection.
  • Disable Fast Startup: Disable Fast Startup in Windows 10 as it may prevent the external drive from being properly recognized.
  • Scan for Hardware Changes: Use Device Manager to scan for hardware changes and allow Windows to detect and install the external drive again.
  • Update BIOS/UEFI: Check if there are any updates available for your computer’s BIOS or UEFI firmware and install them to ensure compatibility with external drives.
  • Try on Another Computer: Connect the external drive to another computer to determine if the issue is specific to your system or if the drive itself is faulty.
  • Consult a Professional Data Recovery Service: If all else fails, consider seeking assistance from a professional data recovery service to retrieve your important files and data.


How do I change my local disk from D to C Windows 10?

To change your local disk from D to C in Windows 10, you can right-click on the D drive, select the C drive as the target partition, drag the partition panel rightward to add the free space from D, click the “Execute Task” button, and then click “Apply” to start the process of moving the free space from D.

How do I get Windows 10 to recognize my external hard drive?

To get Windows 10 to recognize your external hard drive, you can try the following steps:
1. Ensure the drive is properly connected and receiving power.
2. Look for the new hardware icon and restart your computer.
3. Use the Windows Diagnostic Tool to troubleshoot any issues.
4. Change the drive letter in Disk Management if necessary.

Why is my USB showing as local disk?

Your USB is showing as a local disk because it likely has a partition that is not formatted with a file system recognized by your operating system.

Why is my external hard drive showing as a local drive?

Your external hard drive may be showing as a local drive because the partition table on the drive has become corrupt or damaged. This can be caused by viruses or spyware on your computer.

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