How To Fix Undetectable External Hard Drive, Format Portable USB Disk Via DOS

Updated: October 30, 2015 / Home » Tutorials

How To Fix Undetectable External Hard Drive, Format Portable USB Disk Via DOS

Recently a friend of my had this problem with her external hard disk, it appears that the Windows does not recognize her hard disk, two possibility – the hard disk has no file system, meaning to say the disk is not formatted in FAT or NTFS file system. The other possibility is the extremely large size – 2TB.

The Volume Is Too Big for FAT32

In most cases, you won’t be able to format a large 1TB hard disk with the FAT32 file system. If you happened to own a 2TB hard disk and would like to format the file system in FAT32 for future accessibility reasons (It might be impossible to extract data from a NTFS disk), try SwissKnife.

Apart from being faster at formatting your disk compared with Windows OS, SwissKnife allows the creation of a single partition of up to 500GB of FAT32 or NTFS file systems.

Format Hard Disk Via DOS

DOS is still my number one choice when it comes to formatting. For those with a removable hard disk that is not recognizable by Windows because no file system exist, try DOS. First you’ll need to enable USB support via your motherboard BIOS.

How To Fix Undetactable External Hard Drive, Format Portable USB Disk via DOS

When you’re ready, replace the ‘X‘ in ‘format /FS:FAT32 X:‘ with the letter of your external hard drive.


NTFS is much better than FAT32 for a number of reasons, it is more secure (need to enable the security feature) because your data is not retrievable if somebody plug in your hard disk into their computer. It is faster because of the indexing system, and it supports extremely large hard disk. Unless you have sensitive information stored in your hard disk, FAT32 is still my number one choice, for a simple reason – data is retrievable.

4 comments on “How To Fix Undetectable External Hard Drive, Format Portable USB Disk Via DOS

  1. Gravatar
    hard drive [ Reply ]

    If hard drive crashed, that’s a huge losses, so we need some technical knowledge about hard disk drive repair, hard disk recovery, backup, format, partition and hard drive upgrade to solve our hard drive failure problems.

  2. Gravatar
    freeaddis [ Reply ]

    don’t format your hard disk.
    use the software to recover all your file before you format.
    the software is Handy Recovery 4
    it is very helpful
    i get all my file by this software.

  3. Gravatar
    Nasrat Amani [ Reply ]

    sorry it wasn’t useful i have other kind of problem like:
    when i connect my Hard Disk to computer it says format but i have my data inside my HD now what should i don’t can you show me a way to fix it without formatting.

    • Gravatar
      Geckoandfly [ Reply ]

      @Nasrat Amani – Easy, buy a USB external hard disk connector and connect it to a different computer. You’ll have access to the hard disk and extract the data.

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