External Hard Drive Keeps Disconnecting and Reconnecting Windows 10/8/7

Abby | Oct 20,2021 9 min read

A quick overview of all five troubleshooting methods of external hard drive keeps disconnecting:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Change a USB port Try every USB port available; Determine you're using USB 2.0 or 3.0...Full steps
Fix 2. Turn off USB selective suspend Open Control Panel > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings...Full steps
Fix 3. Turn off Mass Storage Device Open Device Manager > Universal Serial Bus Controller > USB Mass Storage Device...Full steps
Fix 4. Disable USB legacy support in BIOS Open Device Manager > Policies > Better performance > Enable write caching on this device...Full steps
Fix 5. Check and repair hard drive errors Open hard drive Properties > Tools > Check now > Automatically fix file system errors...Full steps

How to Recover Data from External Hard Drive [Free] 

"My Seagate external hard drive keeps disconnecting itself and then starting to reconnect automatically every second or so. I didn't notice the problem until Windows 10 asked me to format the hard drive before using it. What should I do now? I won't format the drive because it has all my backup data."

Backup is the primary task when an external hard drive has a connection problem on a computer. However, if errors occurred, especially the error messages that tell you to format the disk or currently your hard drive is not accessible, it's high time that you should recover data from the external hard drive.  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is a free data recovery program that is universally applied for retrieving lost & inaccessible data under "external hard drive disconnecting/reconnecting' issues.

A quick tip for you - don't format the hard disk until you've gotten data back. EaseUS data recovery guide is about three steps.

Step 1. Select a location and start scanning

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the location where you lost data, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Preview and select the files

Wait until the scanning completes. You can use Filter or search bar to find lost files.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data

Then choose a location to save the recovered data, and click "OK". You should store the data in another place instead of the original one.

Recover lost data

You'll be asked to restore and export the hard drive data to the other safe location.

A bonus tip for you - An unstable connection of an external hard drive won't cause data loss for sure, but it needs you to pay attention. Back up hard drive data as soon as possible. EaseUS Todo Backup Free is an ideal plan for in-time hard drive data backup and recovery.

External Hard Drive Keeps Disconnecting [How-to Fix]

Next, we gathered some viable solutions that should fix the bad connection issue of an external hard drive with USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 in Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7. From our point of view, to largely reduce the risk and worry of ruining data on the drive, you should strictly follow the first part of data recovery guide to recover inaccessible data, or, do a full hard drive backup even if the data currently stays safe.

Let's now focus on the workarounds, which most of the cases in the following could apply.

  • External hard drive keeps disconnecting when copying or transferring.
  • Internal hard drive/external USB drive keeps disconnecting and reconnecting, and it never stops.
  • The external hard drive is not showing up, not accessible, not initialized or not recognizing after randomly disconnecting.
  • You need to format the disk before you can use it, or you don't currently have permission to perform this action, access is denied.

Fix 1. Connect to a different USB port

On your laptop or desktop computer, there should be more than one USB port. So, try to connect your external hard drive to each USB port until the drive doesn't disconnect anymore.

It's said that some devices with USB 3.0 are easily affected by Windows 10 operating system, but owners can avoid the repeatedly disconnecting and connecting problem by putting the external hard drive to a USB 2.0 port. Only accept the truth that the data transfer speed will be slower than in the USB 3.0 port.

Fix 2. Turn off USB selective suspend

The insufficient power supply is another one of the biggest factors that causes a hard drive disconnecting problem. Most people don't know that the computer is usually configured to turn off USB devices after a while in order to save power. To resolve the unwanted disconnection problem of an external hard drive, you can suspend the default power saving feature.

  • Step 1: Navigate to Power Options in Control Panel.
  • Step 2: In your own power plan, click the Change plan settings.
  • Step 3: Click the Change advanced power settings.
  • Step 3: Go to USB settings > USB selective suspend setting and set the Settings to Disabled. Click Apply to save the changes you made.

turn off usb selective suspend to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 3. Disable your PC to turn off Mass Storage Device

The other path to turn off the power saving feature is in the Device Manager. Here's how you can do it.

  • Step 1: Press Windows + X to bring up a menu, and choose Device Manager from the list.
  • Step 2: Go to Universal Serial Bus Controller > USB Mass Storage Device.
  • Step 3: Click the Power Management tab and uncheck the box in front of Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power. Click OK the save the changes.

disable your pc to turn off mass storage device to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 4. Disable USB legacy support in BIOS

This troubleshooting is very helpful for computers with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Try to disable USB legacy support in BIOS, and the complete guide is given here.

  • Step 1: Open Device Manager, locate your external hard drive and double-click it.
  • Step 2: Navigate to Policies tab and check Better performance. Check Enable write caching on this device option. Now click on OK to save changes.
  • Step 3: Locate Intel USB 3.0 extension driver in Device Manager and uninstall it.

disable usb legacy support in bios to fix hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting

Fix 5. Check disk partition errors and repair

At last, you might be able to fix the hard drive disconnecting and reconnecting issue on your computer through checking and repairing hard drive bad sectors. Too many bad sectors on a hard disk will lead to corruption, which is so prone to cause an unstable hard drive connection problem. To check hard drive errors in Windows 10. 8.1 or 7, the built-in check tool is a good choice.

  • Step 1: Open "This PC/Computer", right-click the hard disk or partition which you want to check and click "Properties".
  • Step 2: Select "Tools" and Click "Check now" under Error-checking.
  • Step 3: Check Disk Options dialog will show up and select any one of the following options to check and repair hard disk.
  • Step 4: Select and check both "Automatically fix file system errors" and "Scan for and attempt recovery of back sectors", then click "Start"

check and repair hard disk error

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