How To Setup External Hard Drive

In the digital world where storage capacity is increasingly demanding, external hard drives have gained recognition as very efficient devices for both personal and corporate tasks.

An external hard drive, whether it is about expanding the storage capability of your system, creating a backup, or transferring large amounts of data between devices, does that conveniently and reliably.

Making an external hard drive appears to be a hurdle at first sight, but with the proper instruction, it could be as easy as apple pie. Let’s learn how to set up external hard drive.

Set Up Your External Hard Drive With These 3 Steps

1] Format Before Using

For using your external hard drive successfully, you are suggested to format it totally first. Certain hard drives have different types of ports depending on the particular hard drive technology and model.

Some hard drives come with USB-C ports. Some brands use USB-A and USB-B ports. If your PC does not have the right port, you will need to buy the right adapter, for instance, a USB-B to USB-C adaptor.

To format the hard drive, you should proceed as follows.

  • Connect the hard drive to your PC using the connecting cable.
  • Open your ‘This PC’.
  • Right-click on your drive and select ‘Format’.
  • Uncheck the ‘Quick Format’ option. This is to scan for bad sectors on your hard drive that might cause trouble in the future.

However, if your external hard drive is causing issues even after formatting, then you need to choose the ‘Restore Device Defaults’ in the formatting section. This will set the hard drive to default settings and will resolve the issue.

2] Install Dedicated Software

Companies that manufacture external hard drives also provide you with dedicated proprietary software to operate their products.

They allow you to run diagnostics, set passwords, manage drive settings, manage RAID configurations, set drive sleep timers, and erase the data all under one roof.

If your hard drive’s brand has dedicated software for drive management, then you should download it and operate it from there.

3] Set Up USB Drivers

Drivers are used by your PC to learn and know how to interact with external devices. It teaches them the way to conduct communication.

A faulty driver is a common issue and can stop your external hard drive from being detected. To rectify this, you need to search the device driver and update it. Follow these steps if you are on a Windows PC.

  • Open ‘Start’.
  • Type ‘Device Manager’ and click on the result.
  • From the listing, unfold both ‘Display Adopters’ and ‘Universal Serial Bus Controllers’.
  • Your external hard drive should be present in either location.
  • If there is an exclamation mark in yellow color before the driver’s name, then it is corrupted. Right-click on it and select ‘Update Driver’.
  • It will ask you from where to upgrade. Select ‘Search automatically for drivers’.

If you are on a Mac, then navigate to Launchpad → Other → System Information → USB listing. You can see there if your external hard drive has been detected ot not. If it is not, then you need to update your macOS because you cannot update individual drivers on Mac. Navigate to

System Settings → General → Software Update

If you are using an older version, then you might need to navigate to

System Preferences → Software Update

If there still is an issue, you can check by resetting your NVRAM as it stores the peripheral data. For an Intel-based Mac:

  • Shut down the system
  • When it boots, press and hold ‘Option + Command + P + R’.
  • Keep the combinations pressed until you see the Apple logo twice.


Installing an external hard drive is a simple procedure that can help you with data storage and taking backups. Using this guide as a roadmap, you can set up your external hard drives within no time.

Make sure you pick a stable external hard drive, format it before use, and always eject it safely before disconnecting.

Operating your external drive will offer the advantages of larger storage and ease of mind, knowing that your files are securely backed up.