REPAIR: Windows 10 external hard drives keep disconnecting

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REPAIR: Windows 10 external hard drives keep disconnecting 1


  • External hard drives are a great way to expand your PC's storage space without having to open it and replace the internal hard drive.
  • These external hard drives do not necessarily have to be of the HDD type, since external SSDs also exist, and are as fast as their internal variants.
  • We have an expanded center for troubleshooting system errors where you can find even more detailed guides, so consider saving it for future reference.
  • However, for more information on troubleshooting multiple external hard drives, take a look at our Peripheral Fix page.

Annoying Windows 10 problems continue and now it seems that the owners of external hard drives are being affected. We report problems and try to provide some solutions as well.

  

We just finished talking about WiFi that gets disconnected frequently on Windows 10, and now users have been reporting issues related to their external hard drives:

So, I installed Windows 8.1 x64 of the Windows Store yesterday and now my QB-35US3 hard drives keep randomly disconnecting and connecting again. I had no problems before the update. The bay is connected via USB 3.0.

This is what a frustrated user says. Also, the problem seems to be similar with USB hubs: from what I've read, the errors are the same as with external hard drives:

After upgrading from 8 to 8.1 I am facing problem where my 4 USB external hard drives get disconnected and reconnect every few minutes. If a unit is idle, then windows disconnect it and if I need it then windows It takes time to reconnect / wake up. This is causing me a lot of trouble and I have already used the power management settings and disabled this feature in 8.1 but the problem still exists. I can't pause a video for a few seconds without having windows disconnecting the unit. I have 16TB of data value and I am concerned that this stupid feature will ruin my drives.

Another hurtful testimony from other affected users. A while ago we shared with you a tutorial on how to fix slow USB 3.0 Problems in Windows 10)

You can go there and follow the steps from there and also try This article from Microsoft Windows USB Core team blog.

There are many issues that can occur with your external hard drive and in this article we will address the following issues:

  • External hard drive disconnects when transferring, copying
    • Many users reported that the external hard drive keeps going offline while transferring or copying files.
    • This can be an annoying problem, but you should be able to fix it using one of our solutions.
  • Seagate External Hard Drive Disconnects
    • This problem also affects Seagate external drives.
    • We've already written an article about Seagate hard drive issues, so be sure to check it out.
  • External hard drive randomly disconnects
    • Many users reported that this problem occurs randomly.
    • This can be a big problem as your hard drive can go offline during file transfer.
  • Verbatim disconnecting external hard drive
    • This problem also affects Verbatim hard drives.
    • If you have this problem with your Verbatim hard drive, be sure to try one of our solutions.
  • External hard drive You do not currently have permission, you need permission to perform this action, access is denied
    • Sometimes you may get an error message regarding permissions when accessing your external hard drive.
    • We covered the Access Denied error message in one of our previous articles, so be sure to check it out if you're having this issue.
  • External hard drive that needs to format the disk
    • Sometimes you may get this error message when trying to access your hard drive.
    • In most cases, you will need to reformat the hard drive if you want to use it again.
  • External hard drive cannot be accessed, does not appear, does not work, is not recognized, cannot be accessed, is not initialized
    • There are various problems that can occur with your hard drive.
    • Many users reported that their hard drive is not accessible, but you can fix this and other problems using one of our solutions.
  • External hard drive continues to load, freezing
    • Few users reported that their external hard drive simply continues to load or freeze.
    • This is most likely caused by your computer settings, but it can be easily fixed.
  • Very slow external hard drive
    • This is another problem that can occur with your hard drive.
    • If your hard drive is slow make sure to connect it to a USB 3.0 port and update all your drivers.

What can I do if the external hard drive keeps going offline?

  1. Connect your hard drive to a different USB port
  2. Disable USB selective suspend
  3. Prevent your PC from turning off the mass storage device
  4. Disable Legacy USB Support in BIOS
  5. Install USB 3.0 driver drivers
  6. Use KeepAliveHD

1. Connect your hard drive to a different USB port

Many users reported that the external hard drive continues to go offline on their Windows 10 pcs. However, you may be able to fix this problem by simply connecting your unit to a different USB port.

According to users, this problem occurs only when the unit is connected to a specific USB port. After connecting it to a different USB port, the problem should be resolved.

If you have both USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports, you can try connecting your hard drive to a USB 2.0 port and see if that helps.

Some devices have USB 3.0 problems, but you can avoid most USB 3.0 problems by connecting your device to a USB 2.0 port. Note that you will experience a slower transfer rate while using USB 2.0, but your hard drive should no longer go offline.


Your USB 3.0 port is not recognized on Windows 10? Don't worry, we have the right solutions for you.


2. Turn off selective USB sleep

  1. press Windows Key + S And enter control Panel.
  2. Select Control Panel from the results list.
    open control panel
  3. When the Control Panel opens, go to Power options.
    power options control panel
  4. The Power Options window will now open.

  5. Find your power plan and click Change plan settings.
    change active plan settings
  6. Click on Change advanced power settings.
  7. To go USB Configuration> USB Selective Suspend Configuration and configure it in Disabled.
  8. Click on Apply Y OK to save changes
    disable USB selective suspend setting in advanced power options

If your external hard drive keeps going offline, the problem could be the power saving function. Your PC may be configured to turn off USB devices after a while to save power.

After doing that, your PC will not turn off your USB devices to save power and problems with your external hard drive will be resolved. Many users reported that this solution worked for them, so we highly recommend that you give it a try.

If you can't open the Control Panel, take a look at this step-by-step guide to find a solution.


Can't find your power plans? Get them back by following the simple steps in this article.


3. Prevent your PC from turning off the mass storage device

  1. Make sure your external hard drive is connected to your PC.
  2. Open Device administrator.
    • To do it quickly, just press Windows Key + X to open the Win + X menu and choose Device administrator of the list.
      open device manager
  3. Go to the Universal Serial Bus Controller section and double-click USB mass storage device.
  4. Please note that your external hard drive may have a different name on your PC.
  5. Navigate to Power management tabulate and unmark Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power box.
  6. Now click on the OK button to save changes.
    disable allows the computer to turn off this device to save power

If your hard drive keeps going offline, you can fix the problem simply by preventing the PC from turning off the mass storage device. Your PC will automatically turn off various devices to save power, and sometimes you can turn off your external hard drive.

To prevent this from happening, you need to change some settings in Device Manager. After doing that, your PC will not turn off your external hard drive and the problem will no longer appear.


Does accessing the BIOS seem like a big task? Let us make things easier for you with the help of this amazing guide!


4. Disable Legacy USB Support in BIOS

  1. Open Device administrator, locate your external hard drive and double click on it.
  2. Navigate to Policies tab and check Best Performance.
  3. Check Enable write caching on this device option.
  4. Now click OK to save changes
    configure the USB Device Disposal Policy for better performance
  5. Finally, locate Intel USB 3.0 extension driver in Device Manager and uninstall it.

If you have both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports on your PC, you may be able to fix this problem by disabling legacy USB support in the BIOS. To see how to do this, we strongly recommend that you refer to your motherboard manual for detailed instructions.

Several users state that you need to take some additional steps to fix this problem. To fix the problem, you need to make a couple of changes in Device Manager. After doing that, restart your PC and the problem should be completely resolved.


5. Install USB 3.0 driver drivers

If your external hard drive keeps going offline, the problem could be related to your drivers. However, you can solve this problem simply by installing new drivers for your USB 3.0 driver.

The best way to do this is to visit the motherboard manufacturer's website and download the latest chipset drivers for your motherboard. Alternatively, you can update this driver manually.

We also highly recommend TweakBit Driver Updater (approved by Microsoft and Norton) to automatically download all outdated drivers to your PC. This tool will keep your system safe as you can manually download and install the wrong version of the driver.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.

Several users reported problems with the Microsoft USB 3.0 driver driver, but after using a driver from a different manufacturer, the problem was completely resolved.


Did you know that most of Windows 10 users have outdated drivers? Take a step forward with this guide.


6. Use KeepAliveHD

Several users reported that their external hard drive continues to go offline due to inactivity. This is normal behavior for external hard drives, but if you want to prevent this from happening, you can try using this tool.

KeepAliveHD is a small, free application that will write a small file to your external hard drive and prevent you from falling asleep. The application allows you to set a timer, so it will periodically write a small file to your hard drive.

This is a simple solution, and if you don't want to change your system settings make sure to try this tool.


Frequently asked questions – learn more about external hard drives

  • Is there a difference between an internal hard drive and an external hard drive?

As for the internal components, the internal and external hard drives are identical. The only difference between them is how they connect to the motherboard.

  • How big can external hard drives be?

As for storage space, external hard drives can be as large as their internal versions, with storage spaces in tens of terabytes. However, the best in terms of storage space and price are around 5TB.

  • How do external hard drives connect to the PC?

Your typical external hard drives connect to your PC through a USB interface. Those with greater storage capacity will now generally have USB 3.0 ports for faster file transfers.


That is all of us. Hope one of our solutions has helped you solve the problem. If you have any other questions please feel free to leave it in the comment section below and we'll be sure to check it out.

From the editor Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has since been renewed and updated in April 2020 to provide freshness, precision and comprehensiveness.

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