6 Common Problems with External Hard Drives & How to Resolve Them

For several years, external hard drives have been a convenient device to store and transfer data, however, there are some common problems associated with them as they are susceptible to damage. This can leave you in a ditch. To help you resolve these problems, we have put forth the solutions as well which will help you to resolve them. Besides, we have also added some tips to help you prevent these problems from occurring. Stay here as we have some interesting and helpful information that will leave you without any doubt.

Related: Best External Hard Drive in UAE – Brands, Prices Explored [2023]

External Hard Drives – Common Problems

Below are some of the most common problems that users tend to experience while using external hard drives.

1. Firmware Issues

The firmware is the software that controls the operation of the hard drive. A firmware problem can prevent the hard drive from working properly or even make it unusable.

2. Loss of Data

This is the most common problem with external hard drives. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical damage, power surges, software corruption, and human error.

3. Physical Damage

This can include drops, bumps, water damage, and exposure to extreme temperatures. Physical damage can cause the hard drive to fail completely, making it impossible to recover the data.

4. Corruption

This is a less common problem, but it can still be very serious. Corruption can occur when the data on the hard drive is not properly written or read. This can lead to files being unreadable or inaccessible.

5. Problems Associated With the Driver

Drivers are the software that allows your computer to communicate with the hard drive. A driver problem can prevent your computer from recognizing the hard drive or make it difficult to access the data on the drive.


If you experience any of the above problems with your external hard drive, don’t fret. Below are a few things you can do to fix them.

  • Check the cables: Ensure the cables attaching the external hard drive to your computer are plugged in appropriately and securely.
  • Try a different port: If you’re using a USB port, try a different one.
  • Update the drivers: Check the manufacturer’s website for updated drivers for your hard drive.

If you’re unable to fix the problem yourself, you may need to take the hard drive to a professional data recovery service. The following section contains information that will help you take care of your external hard drive and will help it to function well in the long run.

How to Prevent External Hard Drive Problems?

Here are some tips that will help you prevent the common problems occurring with external hard drives:

  • Back up your data regularly: This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent data loss. Consider backing up your data to a cloud storage service, or an optical disc. If you have another external hard drive, then you can back up the data on that.
  • Select a high-quality hard drive: When you’re choosing an external hard drive, opt for one made using durable materials. Note that it should also have a good reputation.
  • Use a good quality USB cable: Always use a good quality USB cable since a faulty cable can damage your external hard drive.
  • Never overload the external hard drive: Generally, external hard drives are more likely to overheat or fail when they are full. To avoid this, ensure you leave at least 25% of free space on your hard drive.
  • Avoid dropping or bumping your external hard drive: As a matter of fact, physical damage is one of the most common causes of external hard drive failure. Ensure you handle your external hard drive carefully. Avoid dropping or bumping it. Additionally, never use the external hard drive as a doorstop or footrest.
  • Use a surge protector: Power surges can damage the external hard drive’s circuitry. Don’t worry, by using a surge protector, you can surely protect your external hard drive from power surges.
  • Update your external hard drive’s firmware regularly: Well, firmware updates can fix bugs and improve the overall performance of your external hard drive. Ensure you check the manufacturer’s website for firmware updates regularly.
  • Keep your external hard drive cool: Extreme temperatures can damage your external hard drive. Therefore, always store your external hard drive in a cool, hygienic, and dry place. If you’re travelling with your external hard drive, place it in a padded case.
  • Scan your external hard drive for errors regularly. Lastly, scanning your external hard drive regularly can help to prevent data loss. Don’t worry, many free and paid tools are available to scan your external hard drive for errors.

By following these tips, you can help prevent common problems with external hard drives and keep your data safe.

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