Has your D drive suddenly become invisible? Are you unable to locate it on File Explorer?
First off, don’t panic. Windows users often find that the D drive on their operating system can suddenly go missing. In most cases, the D drive is a partition of your primary hard drive and can become invisible due to system updates, accidental deletion, hard drive damage, etc. If you’re facing a similar issue, know that it’s possible to solve the problem and that you’ve come to the right place.
This article takes you through the various methods to help resolve the issue of the D drive not showing up and how to recover data from it.
Reasons Why the D Drive Isn’t Showing Up
If your D drive is not appearing on File Explorer, (although depending on whether the D drive was a drive partition or a separate drive), chances are your system reads it as an unallocated partition. There are several reasons why this could be happening.
Let’s look at some common reasons explaining the absence of the D drive:
- 💻 Issues with the OS update: Sometimes, an OS upgrade changes certain computer configurations and permissions. Such updates can cause file deletion or result in your computer not recognizing the D drive.
- 🗑️ Formatting or accidental deletion: It’s likely that your D drive is not showing up due to accidental deletion. It’s also possible that you formatted the drive while cleaning or resizing partitions.
- ❌ Wrong/unassigned drive letter: Your computer may misinterpret the D drive with the DVD/CD drive. In other cases, your D drive could appear as unallocated. The simple fix here is to access Disk Management and rename the DVD drive or assign a letter to the D drive.
- 💾 Outdated drivers: When device drivers are outdated, your device can start becoming slow with performance issues, and it can cause the D drive not to show up on your Windows computer.
- 📂 The D drive is hidden: In some cases, the D drive may be hidden by your system due to security updates or changes in the configuration or settings of the computer.
- 🔧 Physical damage: Another reason for the D drive not appearing in File Explorer is physical damage caused to it due to power surges, liquid infiltration, etc.
Now that we have analyzed the common reasons that can cause the D drive to go missing, let’s dive straight into the process of hard drive data recovery.
How to Recover Data From a Not Visible D Drive?
The most effective way to recover data from an inaccessible D drive is using professional data recovery software. As long as your drive appears in Disk Management, data recovery software is your best bet to retrieve files from the invisible drive safely.
But remember, whether it’s an issue with the internal or external hard drive not showing up, the most crucial step is to backup your drive before attempting data recovery or fixing issues. Usually, the easiest way to backup a healthy drive is to copy all your data from the drive to another storage device.
However, when the D drive is not visible on File Explorer but appears in Disk Management, we recommend that you create a special kind of backup using sophisticated software. Getting a bit ahead, you can even attempt data recovery using this disk image to prevent accidental data loss from the actual D drive.
We’ve curated a list of the best data recovery apps for our readers. But for this article, we’ll demonstrate D drive recovery with two efficient data recovery software – Disk Drill and R-Studio.
Option A: Using Disk Drill
While several data recovery tools are available on the market, Disk Drill is an efficient, reliable, and easy-to-use tool. Disk Drill can not only help in recovering data from a missing D drive, but can also scan RAW disks, and even recover data from formatted hard drives.
Disk Drill offers advanced features to scan your device thoroughly. You can choose the Clever Scan or the Quick Scan option, according to your requirements. The software also supports recovery from different partitions such as exFAT, NTFS, EXT4 etc.
Disk Drill’s advanced features include SMART Disk Monitoring and byte-level Drive Backups. This latter function creates a disk image of the drive to prevent critical data loss and ensure successful data recovery.
As we mentioned, we’ll start by creating a byte-to-byte level backup.
Here’s how you can create a Drive Backup of your missing D drive and recover data from it using Disk Drill:
- Download, Install and Launch Disk Drill from the official website.
- Click Drive Backup from the menu on the left. Select your D drive from the list of drives and click Byte-to-Byte Backup.
- Choose a location where Disk Drill will save the DMG backup file and click OK to start the backup process.
- Once the backup is complete, click Done.
- Now, return to the Data Recovery section, and click on Attach disk image.
- Look for the disk image (created from step #3). Select the All Recovery Methods option, then click Search for lost data to begin data recovery.
- Disk Drill’s robust algorithm will run its scan to find recoverable items. You can pause, save or resume the scan whenever you want. Once the scan is complete, click on Review found items.
- Disk Drill allows you to Preview the files. After selecting the required files, click the Recover button. Enter the recovery location finally, and click OK.
You can go through our comprehensive Disk Drill review to learn more about the software and all its superior data protection features.
Option B: Using R-Studio
R-Studio by R-Tools Technology Inc. is a sophisticated data recovery tool targeted at professionals and experts. Much like Disk Drill, R-Studio supports the recovery of damaged or corrupted partitions, formatted hard disks, and your missing D drive. Moreover, it supports all major operating systems – Windows, Mac, and Linux.
However, while R-Studio has several advanced features, it has a learning curve and isn’t easily accessible for beginners. Its user interface is quite different from its other alternatives and offers advanced options. The software’s demo mode is available for free download on the website and allows up to 256 KB of free file recovery.
Here’s how you can recover data from your missing D drive using R-Studio:
- Download and Install R-Studio on your system. Ensure you download the software from the official website to prevent viruses or malware from attacking your device.
- Now, run the application. Select the D drive from the list of available devices/partitions from the main panel.
- Select the partition from which you intend to retrieve data and click the Scan button.
- Click Scan again to begin the recovery process. After the scan is complete, R-Studio creates a default subfolder with the recovered files under the scan location. Select this folder and click the Recover button to retrieve files.
- Finally, select a location to save the files recovered from the missing D drive.
To further analyze all the advanced features and functions of R-Studio, look at our in-depth review of R-Studio.
Other Options to Fix “D Drive Not Showing Up” in Windows
After successfully recovering data from the missing D drive, you can attempt to fix the problem of ‘D drive not showing up’ or enable the D drive in Windows. Listed below are some methods that can assist you in resolving the issue.
Reassign the Drive Letter
Sometimes, the D drive becomes invisible because it may be taken up by the DVD/CD drive or the USB flash drive connected to the computer. In such cases, you can reassign the drive letter D to the original drive partition through Disk Management.
Follow these steps to reassign the drive letter:
- Press Win + X, and select Disk Management.
- In Disk Management, locate the DVD/CD drive or the USB drive and check if the drive letter assigned to it is D.
- If the assigned letter is indeed D, right-click the DVD/CD drive, then select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- Now, select Change. Then choose another driver letter for your DVD/CD drive from the drop-down menu, and finally click OK.
- Click Yes to confirm this change. You can now reassign the drive letter D to the original D drive.
Unhide Partition in Disk Management
In some cases, the D drive doesn’t show up in File Explorer because you might have previously hidden it. However, you can easily unhide the partition through Disk Management.
Follow these steps to unhide the D drive via Disk Management:
- Press Win + X, and select Disk Management.
- Select and right-click on the hidden drive, then select Change Drive Letters and Paths.
- Now, select Add to assign the drive letter for the partition to unhide it.
- Add a new drive letter or path by selecting the Assign the following drive letter and choosing a letter from the drop-down menu.
- Finally, click OK. Your hidden partition will show up on the PC.
If the device drivers are outdated, the system becomes sluggish, there are performance issues, and it can cause the D drive not showing up. If your D drive is missing, you should try to update your driver to resolve the issue.
Follow these steps to update drivers via Device Manager:
- Press Win + X, and select Device Manager.
- Locate the Disk Drives category and expand it.
- Right-click the listed disk under the Disk Drives category and select Update driver.
- Select the Search automatically for updated driver software option.
Change Drive Letter of the Missing Partition
Disk Management in Windows lets you manage your disks, change drive letters, create new partitions, etc. If the other methods don’t work, you can try changing the drive letter of the missing partition to recover it. In this case, the D drive.
Follow these steps to change the drive letter via Disk Management:
- Press Win + X, and select Disk Management.
- Select and right-click on D drive, then select Change Drive Letters and Paths.
- Now, select Change to change the drive letter of the partition.
- Choose a new drive letter or path by selecting the Assign the following drive letter and choosing a letter from the drop-down menu. Now, click OK.
- Finally, click Yes to confirm the change.
As we’ve mentioned, it isn’t uncommon for the D drive to go missing on your Windows system. In addition to noting the various ways in which you can fix the issue of the D drive not showing up, this article also assists with recovering data from the missing drive.
Remember to backup your drive properly and begin the data recovery process immediately, preferably using reliable software like Disk Drill.
Joshua is a content curator for Handy Recovery. His expertise involves taking intricate IT concepts and breaking them down into super easy to understand chunks. He’s been wielding the writing sword for quite some time now - 3 years to be precise. Digital marketing, data recovery, and anything “techy” are Joshua’s niches.
Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team.