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How to Fix “Disk Unknown Not Initialized” Error in Windows

Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini is a content writer whose background in journalism make her an asset when researching and writing tech content. Also, her personal aspirations in creative writing and PC gaming make her articles on data storage and data recovery accessible for a wide audience.

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how to fix Disk Unknown Not Initialized
Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini is a content writer whose background in journalism make her an asset when researching and writing tech content. Also, her personal aspirations in creative writing and PC gaming make her articles on data storage and data recovery accessible for a wide audience.

Socials:

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As an external hard drive user, you may face this problem when connecting it to your Windows computer. The error happens when the Windows Disk Management does not recognize Disk 1, it’s labeled Disk Unknown Not Initialized. 

The issue is that when you try to initialize using Disk Management, it says the disk is not ready.

The good news is that you can fix the Disk Unknown Not Initialized error following simple steps.

Main reasons for disk unknown not initialized error in Windows:

  • Outdated driver
  • Virus attack
  • Partition loss
  • Bad sectors
  • MBR corruption

How to fix unknown not initialized error in Windows

You can try the following 6 solutions to recover your data and fix the disk unknown, not initialized issue on Windows computers.

Solution 1. Update device driver 

Sometimes this error happens because the diver is outdated. Check if this is the case.

Step 1. Click the Start button and type Device Manager. Click on it.

Initialize Disk with Disk Management

Step 2. Expand “Disk drives”. You may see your external hard drive here with a yellow alert. Right-click the hard drive to select the Update Driver.

Disk drives

Step 3. Click the option to search automatically for updated driver software.

Disk Unknown Not Initialized update driver

Solution 2. Initialize Disk with Disk Management

This is the easiest solution to fix the disk not initialized error.

Step 1. Right-click “My Computer” > “Manage” to run Disk Management.

Step 2. Find your external hard drive and right-click on it to select “Initialize Disk”.

Step 3. Select the disk you want to initialize and choose MBR or GPT partition style.

You can follow these steps to recover both disk data and its partition.

Solution 3. Use a Professional Hard Drive Recovery Tool

You can try using a professional hard drive recovery tool to restore the data from this disk first and then format it to fix the issue. 

Step 1. Launch data recovery software and select the external hard drive to scan it.

Step 2. Choose all the wanted files and click the “Recover” button.

This should recover both data and the disk. But, if you still do not see your hard drive, follow the next steps:

Step 3. Go to Disk Management. Right-click the unallocated space and choose “New Simple Volume” and follow the wizard steps on your screen.

Solution 4. Format the disk

If you don’t mind losing all data stored on this external hard drive and just want to fix the issue, you can format your disk. Or you can use the recovery software to recover your files before formatting the drive.

Formatting will initialize your disk and make it usable again. 

Important: Formatting will erase all data saved on this external hard drive.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box from Start and then right-click Command Prompt to select Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type diskpart and press Enter.

Make sure that you have selected the right disk. The external hard drive with uninitialized status is usually Disk 0 or Disk 1.

Step 3. Select to format and remove all partitions or data from this external hard drive.

Step 4. Create a new partition for your external hard drive. Define a format and assign a letter to your disk.

Solution 5. Fix MBR 

When you get the error Disk Unknown Not Initialized, it can be because the partition table of your external hard drive is damaged. For this solution, you need third-party software, such as EaseUS MBR.

Step 1. Connect your external hard drive to a Windows computer and launch the software.

Step 2. Right-click the hard drive and select Rebuild MBR.

Step 3. Set your Operating System to proceed with the recovery.

Solution 6. Look for professional recovery

If you try all the previous solutions but you still get the Disk Unknown Not Initialized error, you have two more options. The first is to send your device to the manufacturer, in case it’s still on warranty. The second option is to look for a recovery service.

Contact SalvageData for a free in-lab evaluation and make sure you recover your file along with your external hard drive.

TL; DR: To fix the Disk Unknown Not Initialized error on Windows, you have several options. You can do it yourself by updating the driver, using Disk Management, or formatting the disk. You still can use data recovery software or request professional recovery services.

At any moment you can contact SalvageData experts to recover your external hard drive data.

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Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini

Heloise Montini is a content writer whose background in journalism make her an asset when researching and writing tech content. Also, her personal aspirations in creative writing and PC gaming make her articles on data storage and data recovery accessible for a wide audience.

Socials:

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