External hard drives have become essentials as they store data. However, they are also prone to issues and one of them is the “The device is not ready”. You could encounter this error when you try to access your connected hard drive. This error won’t allow you to access the contents of your hard drive so unless you fix it, you won’t be able to access any of the files on your hard drive.
One of the most likely causes of this error is a hardware defect. Aside from that, it could also be due to loose connections, obsolete device drivers, as well as compatibility issues between the operating system and the hard drive. Before you start troubleshooting the problem, you need to determine if you were able to access your hard drive before you encountered the error or not. If not, you need to check the compatibility of the device with your operating system as it could be the reason why you’re getting the error.
There are several potential fixes you can check out to fix this error. You can try to check the hardware connections, run the built-in Hardware and Devices troubleshooter, as well as the USB troubleshooter. You could also run the CHKDSK utility or update the drivers of the device or the USB drivers.
Option 1 – Try checking the hardware connections
The first thing you have to do before you further troubleshoot the problem is to check the hardware connections of your computer and see if there are damaged ones, just like with USB ports, it would also affect the overall connectivity of the device with the computer. So if you notice some irregularities in the connecting cable physically, you might have to buy another one and replace it and then see if it fixes the problem or not.
Option 2 – Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooters
- The first thing you need to do is click on Start and then on the gear-like icon to pull up the window for Settings.
- After opening Settings, look for the Update and Security option and select it.
- From there, go to the Troubleshoot option located on the left-hand side of the list.
- Next, select Hardware and Devices from the list and open the Troubleshooter and run it. Once it is doing its job, wait for it to complete the process and then restart the system.
- After the system restarts, check if the problem’s now fixed. If not, refer to the next option given below.
Note: You could also try to run the USB troubleshooter as it could also resolve the problem.
Option 3 – Run the CHKDSK utility
As you know, the CHKDSK utility can help you in identifying the bad sectors in a drive and fix them automatically. Thus, you can run it to fix the “The device is not ready” error when you connect your USB drive to your computer.
- Open Command Prompt with admin privileges.
- Next, type and enter this command to execute it: chkdsk /f <drive>
- Now, wait until the process is completed and exit Command Prompt.
- Restart your computer and try connecting the USB drive again and see if the error is fixed.
Option 4 – Try to update the drivers of the device
Although you can always update the device drivers using the Device Manager, you might want to try downloading the latest set of drivers directly from the manufacturer’s website. Once you’ve downloaded them, install them right away and then correct the external hard drive.
Option 5 – Update or reinstall the Universal Serial Bus Controller driver
If updating the drivers of the device did not fix the “The device is not ready” error, you can try to update or reinstall the Universal Serial Bus Controller drivers instead of using the Device Manager. Refer to the following steps:
- First, click the Start button and type “device manager”.
- Then click on the “Device Manager” from the search results to open it.
- From there, look for the “Universal Serial Bus controllers” option and then right-click on each one of the USB drivers and select the Update Driver from the menu.
Note: If it is a regular USB drive, then it will be listed as a USB Mass Storage Device but if you have a USB 3.0 device, then look for a USB 3.0 Extensible Host Controller.
- Restart your PC and then click the “Search automatically for updated driver software” option.
Note: If updating the USB Controller drivers didn’t work, you can try to reinstall them instead.
Option 6 – Restart your computer in a Clean Boot State
If the first three given options didn’t work and you still see the error when you connect external devices, you can try putting your computer in a Clean Boot State and then try connecting them again.
- Log onto your PC as an administrator.
- Type in MSConfig in the Start Search to open the System Configuration utility.
- From there, go to the General tab and click “Selective startup”.
- Clear the “Load Startup items” check box and make sure that the “Load System Services” and “Use Original boot configuration” options are checked.
- Next, click the Services tab and select the “Hide All Microsoft Services” check box.
- Click Disable all.
- Click on Apply/OK and restart your PC. (This will put your PC into a Clean Boot State. And configure Windows to use the usual startup, just simply undo the changes.)
- Now try to connect the external devices and check if the error is now gone.