How to Find a Lost Drive

By Lisa Bass

A lost hard drive doesn't mean your entire computer is broken.
i computer image by blaine stiger from

Losing a hard drive is an inconvenience at best and a disaster at worst. Hard drives not only contain all of your valuable documents, pictures and other computer files, but they also often contain your computer's operating system and programs. Losing a hard drive generally can be linked to problems with your computer's hardware, software incompatibility issues, or, at worst, a physically damaged hard drive.

Step 1

Restart your computer. If you're looking for an external hard drive, wait until your computer has started, then plug the drive into the correct slot, such as a USB or firewire connection. If it's an internal hard drive, check to see if restarting it has prompted your computer to rediscover the missing hard drive.

Step 2

Check your cables. It's easy enough to disconnect cables from an external hard drive. It's also possible that an internal hard drive might have loose cables. Follow your manufacturer's instructions to remove the computer case so you can unplug and reconnect any hard drive cables.

Step 3

Determine if you have the proper software to use the hard drive. This can be a problem for external hard drives. You may need to download software, called "drivers," from the hard drive manufacturer's website. You should also check the website to make sure that the hard drive is compatible with your computer.

Step 4

Attach your hard drive to another computer. This will help you isolate the problem and determine if the problem lies with your computer or your hard drive. If the hard drive still doesn't work, you may need to return the drive to the place where you purchased it or find a computer data recovery specialist to recover the information that's on the computer.

Step 5

Substitute another hard drive for the lost one. This will also help you determine if the problem lies with your computer or the hard drive. If the replacement hard drive works, your problem is likely with your original drive. If it doesn't, you may need to take your computer into a repair store.