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Spacious, portable, fast, and affordable – external hard drives do it all. It comes as no surprise that they’re overwhelmingly used for everything from backups to data transfer. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine.

Most people have had a hard drive or two fail on them, but this time, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled all the main reasons why an External Hard Drive may not show up on your PC, as well as how to get it working again.

As usual, reboot your PC first. Regardless of whether a hardware or software issue is causing this problem, a simple restart can be enough to solve it sometimes. This is rare, but the OS can take a few minutes to mount the drive, especially in lower-spec systems. So wait for a bit.

Next, disconnect any unnecessary peripheral devices. Connect the HDD using different ports and cables to check if a faulty port or cable is the issue. If these didn’t help, you should move on to the solutions listed below.

Next, check for any bent or otherwise damaged pins and verify the integrity of the USB Ports. Additionally, you should also access the BIOS setup utility and ensure that there are no issues with the power output of the USB Port.

A lot of users have reported that the hard drive shows up in Disk Management but not in File Explorer. This happens most of the time because the drive is uninitialized.

In this case, you can bring the drive online, initialize it, create a new volume, and then format it to resolve the issue.

WARNING: You need to format the drive before you can use it. This will wipe all the data on the drive

If you can’t afford to lose the data, we recommend using the Change Drive Letter and Paths option to assign a drive letter manually, as this alone can solve the problem at times.

Whenever a device stops working properly, the device driver is one of the first things you should check. Here’s how you can do so for the Hard Drive Driver specifically:

Press Win + R, type devmgmt.msc, and press Enter.

If the hard drive stopped working after an update in the first place, try Roll Back Driver instead.

If neither of these works, try the Uninstall Device option.

Finally, expand the Universal Serial Bus Controller section and update the devices listed there.

It may sound unlikely, but many users have reported that updating their system solved the issue for them. Here’s how you can do the same:

Press Win + R, type control update, and press Enter.

Download and install any available updates.

Restart your PC and check for changes.

USB Selective Suspend basically suspends individual ports that are not in use to help conserve power. If this feature malfunctions, it may lead to the suspension of ports that are being used as well. You can disable it with the following steps:

Press Win + R, type powercfg.cpl, and press Enter.

Press OK to apply the changes.

Warning: Taking apart the case will likely void the warranty. So, if the warranty is still valid, you should make use of that first before trying this solution.

Unlike internal HDDs, which need SATA cables, you can use a USB cable to connect an external HDD to a PC. This is possible because external hard drives are enclosed in a case with a USB to SATA controller. If this interface is damaged or malfunctioning, that can lead to issues such as an external hard drive not showing up.

You can fix this by disassembling the external case and directly connecting the HDD to the motherboard using a SATA cable. Alternatively, you can also use the HDD with a different enclosure.

We recommend searching the HDD model online as the exact steps will slightly differ according to the model. But the gist is to undo the clips, remove the screws, then take off the cover.

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How To Format And Partition An External Hard Drive Or Ssd On Windows

Windows is pretty good with hard disk and SSD file systems. While you may think that you’re stuck with the same partitions and format your hard disk came with, Windows will let you change things up as per your preference. It’s not too complicated, either. Here’s how to format and partition an external hard drive or SSD on Windows.

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What you need to know about partitioning and formatting

How to format an external hard drive on Windows

How to partition an external hard drive on Windows

What you need to know about partitioning and formatting

You might have heard “partitioning” and “formatting” used in the context of hard drives and OS. But what do these terms actually mean?

What does partitioning mean?

“Partitioning” refers to the process of dividing a disk into several sub-devices, and allocating sub-devices to the OS to allow it to carry out functions in the rest of the sub-devices and computer. So, for instance, you can have one 500GB drive, and have it partitioned into one 100GB drive partition to boot Windows out of (and the OS will create all the other requisite partitions for recovery, etc.), and the other 400GB drive partition to store your programs and files.

Why should you partition a drive?

What does formatting mean?

“Formatting” refers to the process of preparing a storage disk for its initial data storage use. More commonly, formatting refers to the process of generating a new file system for that particular storage disk. Think of the file system as an index that figures out what file can and will be stored where — without this index, the OS would be unable to see empty and used spaces. So formatting a drive essentially tells the drive where it can and cannot store data, and that it is ready to accept data in the first place.

Difference between format and quick format

Aamir Siddiqui / Android Authority

When you start a formatting operation, you will often see the option to do a quick format. A quick format essentially removes the index but not the files. As a result, one cannot see the files that exist on the drive, but the files still continue to exist and can be recovered through specialized software. In other words, the files on the disk are just marked “safe to overwrite” without actually being overwritten. A quick format also skips scanning of bad sectors on the disk, but this concept is outside the scope of this article.

A regular format or full format is different from a quick format in that it overwrites the files with blank data in addition to removing the index. This ensures that it becomes almost impossible to recover the file. A full format also scans the drive for bad sectors. Because of the wider scope of the task, a full format takes significantly longer than a quick format.

Why should you format a drive?

As mentioned, formatting a drive is a step towards using a drive for storage. Different OSs use different file systems for storage. So formatting your drive with the correct Windows-supported filesystem will allow you to use the drive on your computer without any further hassle. Without the correct file system in place, your Windows computer likely won’t see the drive as available for storage. Note that formatting a drive will delete your data, and a full format will make the data almost irrecoverable.

How to format an external hard drive on Windows

Formatting an external hard drive or SSD on Windows is quite simple.

Connect the external drive to your PC and open Windows Explorer.

Rename the drive under Volume label, if you wish to.

If you want the drive to be formatted more thoroughly, uncheck the Quick Format box.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Windows will format your external drive, and give you a confirmation dialog box when the formatting is complete.

To partition an external drive on Windows, you’ll need to use the Disk Management tool.

Find your external drive listed in the grid view in the bottom half.

To create a new partition, you will need unallocated space. You will see this under a black header in the Disk Manager.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

The Shrink Volume dialog box will pop up. In the box next to Enter the amount of space to Shrink in MB, type in how much space you want for your new partition(s).

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

It will take a couple of seconds, but the partition will show up in the grid view of your external disk in Disk Manager.

Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

If you want to create another partition, you can repeat the process to create a new volume with the allocated space you left before, or repeat the whole process by shrinking existing partitions.

FAQs

There are no downsides to partitioning your external hard disk. It depends upon what kind of usage you want from your external hard disk. It’s good to partition it if you want to use the hard disk for two different purposes and don’t want to mix up your files.

It’s not a necessary thing. It solely depends upon your usage and whether the usage warrants having partitions for different purposes.

Yes, Disk Management in Windows lets you do that. You will need unallocated space available if you want to extend a partition, and if you’re shrinking a partition, it will leave you with unallocated space that you can use to extend other partitions.

A full format of the hard drive erases the data on it irrecoverably. However, a quick format merely deletes the files, leaving them recoverable with specialized software.

You should check if your hard drive has any partitions for an OS you no longer need, through disk management. This will also bring to light any unallocated space. Then partition the drive as needed for the new usage, and format it with the filesystem needed.

Teams Screen Sharing Not Working? Here’s How To Fix It

When you are on an online conference app like Microsoft Teams, video sharing is a must. And we know how frustrating it can be when you have to give a presentation but can’t share your screen.

Although there are many reasons why screen sharing can fail, this happens quite a lot due to the internet connection. When the attendee who is trying to screen share has a poor internet connection, Microsoft Teams lags. 

We have mentioned a few fixes to Teams Screen Sharing not working so you don’t have to get embarrassed while trying to give a presentation.

Why Is My Teams Screen Sharing Not Working?

Before we move on to the fixes, let’s look for the cause of the issue. If one of these reasons apply to you, you can move on to its fix and try to use screen sharing on Teams.

Internet Connection: Your interconnection is very slow if your screen keeps on buffering and won’t connect you to screen share. The internet connection plays a vital role on apps like Microsoft teams.

Using Other Browsers: If you use Microsoft Teams on browsers, make sure it is from Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. You can not use other browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Opera because screen sharing will not work on these browsers.

Permissions Not Granted: Certain permissions need to be granted if you are an attendee trying to share your screen. A message that says can’t share your screen will show if the permissions are not granted. You can ask the host to allow you permissions for sharing screen.

Many Activities in the Background: Your CPU gets strained when there are many apps running in the background. The CPU will not be able to reach every app you are using and hence the performance speed will be low.

You are Using Linux: This is sad news for Linux users because the Microsoft Teams app is available in Linux but screen sharing is not. You cannot share your screen if you are a linux user but use other features of Microsoft Teams.

How Do I Fix Teams Screen Sharing Not Working?

Below are a few solutions you can try out to fix screen sharing not working. Make sure to check out the causes before going for the solutions. Start by logging off the call and joining it again and see if that works for you. If not, follow the steps given below.

Check Internet Connection

Make sure to have good internet speed when you are trying to share screen on Teams. Screen sharing requires a high-speed internet connection for its smooth performance. If you have low internet speed you will face issues like not being able to share screen at all or glitching while sharing screen.

Sometimes restarting your router by turning it off and on also works. You can also give a call to your ISP if there’s any issues with the server.

Close Background Apps

When too many apps are opened in the background, it consumes your CPU. This can make your device slow down and will increase the chances of lags. Close those background apps and activities so your CPU can have a rest and work in peace. Here’s how to do it

Check for Permissions

If you are a participant who is having issues on screen sharing, it might have been due to permissions. The permission to share screen needs to be granted by the host so the participants can share their screen. Ask for permissions to the host if you are a participant.

If you are the host/admin you need to grant permission to the participants so they can share their screens. Here’s how to do it:

If you use a Mac, you need to grant screen recording permissions from the settings. Here’s how to locate and turn the screen recording on:

Lower Display Resolution

When your device is working on a higher resolution display and you try to screen share, it puts a burden on teams. Due to this screen sharing on teams becomes an issue. You can lower the display resolution and try to share the screen again. Follow these steps to choose display settings.

Clear Teams Cache

If you have been using Microsoft Teams for a long time but do not clear its cache then there’s a high possibility of your device piling up that cache. Clear the piled-up cache so it does not create issues with the app. 

Update Microsoft Teams

There might be available updates of Microsoft Teams where the previous bugs and issues are fixed. Do not ignore these updates and keep your Teams up-to-date. If the current version of your app is having issues then go for the updates. Here’s how to do it:

Snapchat Stories Not Going Away? Here’s How To Fix It

The whole premise that Snapchat is built on is disappearing snaps and messages. While they kinda dropped the ball on the ‘messages’ front, snaps are still supposed to disappear right? However, if the Snapchat Stories are not going away for you, it may be a bug or something. Let’s see how we can fix the issue.

What are Snapchat Stories?

Snapchat lets you upload ‘stories’ which are basically snaps that everyone in your friends list can view. Quite similar to Instagram stories (which came after the Snapchat counterpart), these stories stay visible on your account for 24 hours.

Snapchat also lets you customize the audience for your stories. With private stories, you can choose the users that you would like to have access to view your stories. On the other hand, public stories and those from verified accounts can be visible to anyone in the world. These stories may appear as ‘Subscriptions’, under your friends’ stories on the ‘Story page’.

Why are Snapchat stories not going away?

Well, once you view a Snapchat story, whether it is your friend’s or a subscription, it is supposed to disappear, so that you do not view it again by mistake. While this is not that much of a problem for users that only have a few subscriptions, it definitely makes a difference when you are subscribed to hundreds of them. You definitely do not want to keep watching the same user’s story pop up.

Recently, users have noticed that watched stories are not disappearing. While these stories do not actually disappear but move to the end of the queue, they now seem to reappear when you refresh the page (or exit the app and come back).

This seems to be a bug resulting from the last update of the app. Users have noticed that no matter how many times you refresh the page, the stories keep coming back as ‘not yet viewed’. This also seems to affect your own Snapchat story. Even after you view your story, the indicator shows that you haven’t.

How to fix the issue on Android?

Well, seeing as this is a bug, there is little you can do from your end to fix it. The bug does not seem to keep stories on the account longer than 24 hours though. It just seems to not mark viewed stories. This means you do not know which stories you have already viewed. Additionally, you cannot tell if a user has uploaded a new story since the indicator stays the same.

The easiest way to fix this bug is to wait for the Snapchat team to send out an update for it. Snapchat is usually quite prompt when it comes to fixing bugs on their app.

All you can do in this case is keep an eye out on the App Store for an update to the Snapchat app. If you have Auto-update enabled for your app, you need not even worry about this.

2. Rollback to a previous version of the app

Another thing you can do is to roll back your Snapchat app to a version before this bug. It should be noted, however, that in order to roll back an app you will have to prevent it from accessing future updates. Use the guide below to disable Auto-updates on the Google Play Store.

Now you need to uninstall the latest version of the app that you have on your device. To do so, simply tap and hold on the app icon and select ‘Uninstall’.

The last step is to install an older version of the app. You can use the APK in the link below.

Download: Snapchat 10.86.5.61 (APK)

Download the APK from the link above and install it (here’s a guide to installing an APK file on Android). You will need to allow the installation of third-party apps that will pop up when you try to install it.

Tip: Now go ahead and launch the app as you normally would. Once you know there is a new update to the app, you can uninstall this older version, and reinstall the app from the Google Play Store.

In order to prevent the Snapchat app from updating itself, you need to prevent Auto updates. The Google Play Store gives you an option to disable Auto-update on selected apps.

To do so, launch the Google Play Store app, and locate the Snapchat app. Now tap the three dots in the top right corner and untick ‘Enable auto-update’.

How to fix the issue on iPhone and iPad?

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to sideload an app on iOS devices. For iOS devices, you can try this simple fix below, or simply wait for the next update from Snapchat.

Open the app and log out.

Uninstall the Snapchat app on your Apple device.

Restart your device.

Reinstall the app from the App Store.

Log back in.

This should fix any glitches from your end. If the bug continues, you will have to wait for the official update from Snapchat.

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Dvd Not Working In Windows 10/11? Here’s How To Fix It

DVD Not Working in Windows 10/11? Here’s how to fix it

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If your DVD is not working, you might experience certain issues, especially if you have multimedia or other applications on DVD discs. This can be a problem for some users, and today we’re going to show you how to tackle this issue.

Many users, including myself, have been reporting problems with their DVDs in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. If your DVD too is also not working, then follow the below steps needed to fix the problem.

Problems with the DVD drive not working in Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 are one of the most common and experienced by many users. We’re going to talk about this issue and try to offer some working solutions, as there are enough guides to help you get rid of it. The CD and DVD problems have occurred with Windows 8 more often than with Windows 8.1, so it seems that Microsoft has put an update in place.

DVD drive not detected in Windows 10? Try these solutions

There are many problems that can occur with your DVD drive, and in this article we’ll address the following issues:

Windows 10 DVD drive not reading discs – Several users reported that their DVD drive isn’t reading discs. This is usually caused by a bad driver or a dirty optical sensor.

DVD not playing Windows 10 – Several users reported that DVD isn’t playing on their Windows 10. This can be an annoying problem, but you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.

DVD drive not showing – Sometimes your DVD drive might not even show up on Windows 10. If that’s the case, be sure to check your drivers. In one of our previous article we showed you how to fix missing DVD drive, so be sure to check that article for detailed explanation.

DVD writer not working properly – Several users reported that DVD writer isn’t working on their PC. If you have this problem, be sure to check your DVD configuration.

DVD not, found playing, reading, recognized, detected, ejecting, responding, spinning, displaying files, loading – There are many problems that can occur with your DVD. However, you should be able to fix most of these problems by using one of our solutions.

DVD not autoplaying Windows 10 – Many users reported that DVD AutoPlay isn’t working for them. In one of our previous articles we explained how to fix AutoPlay problems for DVDs, so be sure to check it out.

DVD not appearing in my computer – Another problem that many users reported is that DVD isn’t appearing on their PC. This can occur if your DVD drive isn’t connected properly or if your drivers aren’t compatible with Windows 10.

1. Use Command Prompt

This is what one user is saying and many others are having similar problems like this one. Users affected by this problem said that they saw the following message: “Windows cannot start this hardware device because its configuration information (in the registry) is incomplete or damaged. (Code 19).” Now, let’s see what we can do to fix it. First of all, try the following:

After doing that, restart your PC and check if the problem is fixed.

2. Delete UpperFilters and LowerFilters DWORDs

If the previous solution didn’t fix your problem, then try checking if all the cables are properly put in place, just in case this might be caused by a rather stupid problem that you overlooked.

Also, you can check for the DVD drive in BIOS. After restarting the Windows 8/Windows 8.1 computer, enter the BIOS screen (usually by pressing F10 multiple times). If it is absent, then it is a hardware problem, and not a software one, and you’ll need to contact your vendor. Now, here’s another potential fix:

3. Run the troubleshooter

Sometimes you might be able to fix the problem with the DVD drive simply by running the hardware troubleshooter. To do that, follow these steps:

After the troubleshooter is finished, check if the problem still remains.

4. Check your optical reader

If your DVD is not working, the problem might be your optical reader. Sometimes the reader can move and remain in a new position causing this problem to appear.

To fix the issue, you need to use a small object and move it to the original position. Keep in mind that this is rather dangerous, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you can easily permanently damage your DVD drive and your PC.

Expert tip:

If you’re not comfortable with removing your DVD drive, you can always use a disc that comes with a small brush that automatically cleans your DVD.

If cleaning the DVD drive doesn’t work, your DVD might be faulty, and the only choice is to replace the entire DVD drive.

5. Change your group policy

According to users, if DVD is not working the problem might be related to built-in burning features. However, you can resolve this problem by making few changes in Group Policy Editor. To do that, follow these steps:

If you can’t access Group Policy Editor, you can disable this feature using Registry Editor. To do that, follow these steps:

After making the changes, restart your PC and check if the problem is resolved.

6. Reinstall your DVD drivers

Few users reported that they fixed the problem simply by reinstalling their DVD driver. If DVD is not working, you can fix the problem by doing the following:

Once the driver is removed, restart your PC. When the PC restarts, Windows will automatically install the default driver and your DVD drive should start working again.

7. Install the necessary drivers manually

If your DVD isn’t working on Windows 10, the problem is most likely related to your drivers. This is a minor problem that can be fixed by manually installing the missing drivers. To do that, follow these steps:

After installing the driver manually, the problem with your DVD drive should be resolved.

8. Check for updates

If the DVD is not working, perhaps you can fix the issue simply by updating Windows 10. Windows 10 already updates itself automatically, but you can manually check for updates by doing the following:

If any updates are available, they will be downloaded automatically in the background. Once the updates are downloaded, restart your PC and check if the problem is still there.

If all of the above still didn’t solve your problem, then have a look at this guide from HP that is meant for HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8, but there’s a high chance it could work for you, as well.

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How To Defrag Your Windows Hard Drive

Due to the difference in technology, HDDs are inherently slower than their SSD counterparts, and their performance decreases over time as you store more and more data on them. This can be attributed to data fragmentation during the writing process. However, there is a simple fix for it called defragmentation. In this article, we will go over a few simple methods to help you defrag your Windows hard drive and get a significant performance boost.

What Is Defragmentation?

To understand what defragmentation is, you need to know how a hard drive works. Think of the latter as a train where the coaches store and carry data. Every time you add more data to your hard drive, it’s broken down into smaller pieces or fragments, and a new coach is added to the train to store that data. These coaches are added in a sequential manner.

Now, during the process of storing more data, the hard drive fills up the empty coaches with some fragments of data and creates new coaches for the remaining pieces. This results in data being scattered all across the hard drive. Even though it seems efficient that those empty spaces are finally being used, that’s not the case.

The issue here is that whenever data fragments are stored farther away from each other, it takes a while for your computer to recollect it all before it can be presented to you again. This slows down the overall reading speed of that hard drive. This is another reason why hard drive-based computers tend to slow down when your storage is almost full. The process of reversing this breakdown and reorganizing the data on the hard drive is called defragmentation.

These days Windows automatically defrags mechanical hard drives. However, it only works for drives that are physically connected to your motherboard. So, if you have an old or external HDD, it’s always a good idea to defragment it yourself for a smoother performance.

How To Defragment Your Hard Disk in Windows 10 and 11

Now that we know what defragmentation means, we can begin with the steps to do it manually on your PC.

1. Use the Disk Optimization Tool

Open the disk optimization tool – search for the “Defragment and Optimize Drives” program in Windows Search.

Check the percentage of fragmented files in the results.

Note: There’s no hard and fast rule regarding how fragmented your drive should be before you can defrag it. However, you should try to maintain the fragmentation level below 5% so that the defragmentation process doesn’t take too long.

When Windows is finished with the process, the Optimize Drives program should show your drive as 0% fragmented.

2. Schedule Optimization

You can put this whole defragmentation process on an automated schedule from the same location.

3. Use the Command Line

Press Win + X and choose ”Windows Terminal (Admin)” from the pop-up menu.

To defrag that drive, use the following command, replacing X with your drive letter:

defrag X

Wait for the defragmentation process to complete.

If you want to defrag your whole system except for your main drive, use this command instead: defrag /E X:. Here, X is the letter of the drive you want to exclude.

4. Use a Third-Party Defragging Tool

Instead of using the inbuilt defragging tool, you can also use third-party defragmentation tools like MyDefrag or Auslogics Disk Defrag to achieve the same results.

Depending on your drive size, it can take a while to defragment your HDD.

Once the process is complete, you will get a message that says “Defragmentation Complete.”

Close Disk Defrag.

Frequently Asked Questions Are there reasons not to defrag your computer?

If your computer has a mechanical hard disk installed or you have an external hard disk, you always want to defrag those disks. The only exception where you never need to defrag your computer is when it’s using only a Solid State Drive (SSD) or an M.2 NVMe Drive, because those are modern versions of mechanical drives and automatically defrag themselves without requiring manual intervention. If you defrag these drives, at best, it will do nothing, but it can also cause unnecessary wear and tear if done multiple times.

How often should you defrag a hard drive?

For most Windows users, defragging an HDD once a month should be fine. You can use your PC’s inbuilt “scheduled optimization” feature to set a monthly cleanup cycle for your hard drive. Not only does it reduce the need to do it manually, it also improves the performance of your HDD. However, if regular defragmentation of your hard drive does not speed it up, you should consider upgrading it to an SSD.

Image credit: Pixabay

Ojash Yadav

Ojash has been writing about tech back since Symbian-based Nokia was the closest thing to a smartphone. He spends most of his time writing, researching, or ranting about Bitcoin. Ojash also contributes to other popular sites like MakeUseOf, SlashGear, and MacBookJournal.

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