I cannot work out why this is happening. I have an external hard drive (which is an old laptop hard drive with an IDE to USB adapter). Plugging it into my computer powers it up. It spins correctly and the lights on the adapter flash normally.

Uninstalling from hardware manager and plugging it back in causes Windows to "install new software", and it says it has installed properly.

In Disk Management it comes up in the bottom part as Disk 2 with the right size (~60 GB), but not in the top half. There are three empty drives in the top half. They don't have titles or drive letters. Right clicking them bring up slightly varying context menus, but all with the options disabled. Here is a picture of my Disk Management screen:

Screen shot of Disk Management

How do I make this drive show up in My Computer? I need to format it and use it as an external hard drive.


Do you want to be able to access the data that is currently on the disk? If not, simply format it to NTFS and it will be happy.

If you do want to keep the data, you have a little more work ahead of you. Was the laptop that the disk came out of a Mac by any chance? Windows doesn't like the Mac file system. If it's something else that has become corrupted, you will need to use some form of disk recovery software to recover the data first.

  • The disk wasn't formatted properly. So yeah... managed to get the data out of it before formatting it. :) – Thomas Clayson Aug 30 '12 at 14:13

Disk 2 is the correct disk, but the partitions are not formatted. Notice disk 0 and 1 have partitions, but also say NFTS? NTFS is the filesystem. You can remove the existing partitions and one big one (if thats what you want) and then format it. Then a drive letter will be assigned and you can read and write files to it.


There is no letters associated with the partitions on Disk 2.

The simple fix should be to right click on a partition on disk 2 and click on add drive letter. Do this for the next partition. This will make the partitions visible in explorer.

If your goal is to format the drive to a single volume (or even keeping the 3 partitions you have). I suggest MiniTool Partition Wizard. It's free and can perform the format in the drives current state and you can delete a and build a single volume or make more volumes.

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