Is your external hard drive taking forever to load? Fail to access the disk data? Take it easy now! This post shows you how to recover data from the unresponsive hard drive with MiniTool software and fix this loading problem on Windows and Mac.

External Hard Drive Takes Forever to Load

"When I plugged in my HDD cable into the USB port, I open This PC(My Computer), and right-click to refresh it, I get to see my physical drive, but it doesn't have any information like the disk space available and the green ribbon will be loading and it just loads forever. When I go to Disk Management, it will load forever as well, as though it is trying to access the HDD but it is not able to." Tomshardware

This example tells you a case about external hard drive taking forever to load. Actually, this issue is quite common and may be caused by some reasons including logical errors, bad sectors, insufficient power, etc.

Usually, the hard drive can be successfully connected to a computer and shown in Windows Explorer but loads forever and finally unresponsive. Moreover, all data stored on the external hard drive becomes inaccessible.

Actually, the external hard drive slow and unresponsive issue happens not only in Windows but also in Mac. If you also have such a problem, what should you do? Here in this article, we're going to walk you through how to recover data from this disk as well as solutions to the problem in Windows and Mac.

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Recover Data from Slow and Unresponsive External Hard Drive

External Hard Drive Takes Forever to Load in Windows

When external hard drive infinite loading problem happens in Windows 10/8/7, if you have saved many important files on this disk, the first thing you should do is to restore data from the target disk.

Well then, is there any tool helpful for Windows data recovery ? Of course, MiniTool Power Data Recovery is worthy of being recommended to help recover data from external hard drive taking forever to load.

It is a piece of professional, safe data recovery software , enabling you to recover data from different situations including deletion, formatting, hard drive corruption, virus infection, system crash, etc.

Besides, this program allows retrieving lost/deleted videos, audios, pictures, documents, emails, documents, compressed files and so on from a hard drive, USB drive, SD card, digital camera, memory stick and other storage devices. What's more, the inaccessible files on your device can be restored.

If your external hard drive takes forever to load, don't hesitate to get MiniTool Power Data Recovery Trial Edition to check if the deleted data, as well as inaccessible files on the target disk, can be found.

Free Download

Step 1: Choose a Partition to Scan

  1. Start MiniTool Power Data Recovery in Windows 10/8/7.
  2. Choose the partition containing important files on your external hard drive and click the Scan button for a scan.

choose the partition on external hard drive

Before starting a scan, you can use the Scan Settings option to make some advanced settings for the scan. In the following small window, MiniTool Power Data Recovery allows you to scan partitions with certain file systems as well as some file types.

For example, if you only want to recover word documents , pictures or audios & videos, just unfold the corresponding folder to choose certain types.

make advanced settings for scan

Step 2: Scan Your Partition

  1. Now, this software is scanning the selected partition.
  2. During the scan process, if MiniTool Power Data Recovery finds files on the external hard drive that takes forever to load in Windows 10/8/7, they will be listed on the left side.
• The scan time is depending on the size of data saved on your unresponsive external hard drive.
• It is not recommended to stop the scan. Just wait patiently until the full scan completes to get the best recovery result.

perform scan operation

Step 3: Search for Files

  1. Now, this tool enters the scan result interface where all found data including lost/deleted and existing files are displayed in the path section.
  2. Here, you can search for desired files via the Path section.

search for files and select them

1. The Find and Filter options are helpful to search for files. The former requires you to type the specific file name. And the latter asks you to configure filename/extension, file size, creation/modified time, etc.
2. In addition, the Type option is helpful for you to quickly find the files you want to recover when external hard drive takes forever to load. This option can display found files by file type category, hence, unfold each type to search for your files.

Step 4: Register the Software

  1. Actually, MiniTool Power Data Recovery Trial Edition only helps you to scan files, not recover. To get files back from the external hard drive that keeps loading, upgrade it to a full edition via MiniTool Store .
  2. Register it in the scan result to avoid a scan again.

register MiniTool Power Data Recovery

Step 5: Specify a Storage Path

  1. Check the files you want to retrieve and click Save .
  2. In the pop-up small window, select a storage path.
  3. Please note that the original place is not recommended and you had better choose another drive to save the recovered files so as to avoid overwriting data.

save recovered files to a place

"My external hard drive takes forever to load in Windows 10 and it forbids me from accessing data. And then, MiniTool Power Data Recovery recovers data on this disk easily and safely." Click to Tweet

In addition, you can go to Devices to choose the slow and unresponsive external hard drive for a scan. After finishing the scan, select the files you want to recover and then save them to a safe location.

choose external hard drive to scan

Recover Data in Case of External Hard Disk Taking Too Long to Respond Mac

If you are a Mac user and find external hard drive takes long time to load Mac, the first thing you should do is to get data back from your Mac. Here Stellar Data Recovery is your good option.

It can recover data from an internal/external hard drive, memory sticks, USB drive, pen drive, memory card, etc on all Mac devices. Besides, it can be used to repair corrupted or distorted videos and photos. What's more, this software is compatible with Mac OS X 10.7 and above. And it supports APFS, HFS+, FAT, and NTFS file systems.

Stellar Data Recovery offers you a trial edition of each edition, including Professional, Premium, and Technician. Here, you can click the link to get Stellar Data Recovery Premium Trial to have a try.

Tip: The trial edition only allows you to scan your files but not recover data. You can try to see if it can find your data and then upgrade to a full edition for recovery via MiniTool Store .

Step 1: Install Stellar Data Recovery on your Mac and launch it to its main interface. Then, click Next to continue after customizing your scan.

select what to recover in Stellar Data Recovery

Step 2: Select the drive you want to scan and click Scan .

select a drive to start a scan

Step 3: Then, this software is looking for your recoverable files. Wait a few minutes until the scan completes.

scanning the drive

Step 4: After the scan finishes, go to find files that you want to recover, check them, and click Recover to recover them to a secure location.

recover files with Stellar Data Recovery

Solved - External Hard Drive Takes Forever to Load

After finishing data recovery from the external hard drive taking forever to load, now it is time to fix this issue. Here, we will respectively walk you through the solutions to this problem in Windows and Mac.

Fix External Hard Drive Takes Long Time to Load in Windows

① Boot Your Computer into Safe Mode

Sometimes you can fix some disk problems after a startup. To boot into safe mode, different operating systems have different ways. Here this post shows you details: How to Start/Boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode? (7 Ways) .

② Use Different Cable

You can remove the slow and unresponsive external hard drive from the target computer. And plug it into another computer using a different cable or via the SATA interface. If the hard disk taking too long to respond issue still occurs, try the next solution.

③ Reinstall Drive Letter

If the drive driver is corrupted, the issue of external hard disk slow response may happen. To make your disk faster, you can try reinstalling the driver.

  1. Click Win + R, type devmgmt.msc in the pop-out window and hit Enter .
  2. Device Manager is turned on. Then you can check if there is a yellow mark concerning this drive. If there is, right-click on it to choose Uninstall , reboot your PC and let Windows install the new driver.

uninstall external hard drive and reinstall it

Tip: If it isn't under Disk Drives, it can be listed under Universal Serial Bus controllers. And it can have a little x on the icon and somehow become disabled on your computer. Right-click it to re-enable.

④ Run CMD to Check and Fix External Hard Drive Errors

Sometimes your external hard drive takes forever to load due to the disk errors. To fix this issue, please open Command Prompt and then type chkdsk /f g: (g is the drive letter of your external hard drive). Or check disk errors in Windows Explorer.

⑤ Format the External Hard Drive as New

Formatting is a good way to fix many disk problems. When external hard drive infinite loading issue occurs, you can try to format it. Go to Disk Management, right-click on the target drive and choose Format . And then specify its file system, cluster size, and volume label.

Note: This way can erase disk data, thus, back up important files before formatting.

⑥ Replace the Incapable Disk

If all those ways are useless, perhaps this external hard drive gets damaged physically. You can only replace this damaged disk with a new one.

Tip: Additionally, you can try to defrag your hard drive or check your external hard drive for malware and viruses to fix hard disk taking too long to respond.

Solved External Hard Drive Takes Long Time to Load Mac

If your external hard drive keeps loading for a long time in Mac, you can also restart this Mac, remove & plug the target disk to another Mac and format this external hard drive.

In addition, you can use Disk Utility to repair disk. In Mac, there is a tool called Disk Utility, enabling you to repair some disk issues.

  1. Just click the Go menu, select the Utility folder and open Disk Utility .
  2. Select the external hard in the left pane and enter the First Aid tab to click Repair Disk .
Tip: Sometimes you may get Disk Utility can't repair this disk error and this post shows you the solutions.

Bottom Line

External hard drive takes forever to load in Windows and Mac? Now it is your time to recover data from this target disk and then take measures to fix this issue.

Should you have questions when using our software or any suggestions of this issue, please let us know by sending your idea to [email protected] or leaving a comment below.

External Hard Drive Slow and Unresponsive FAQ

How do I fix a slow external hard drive?
  1. Check the cables
  2. Defrag your hard drive
  3. Run a disk check
  4. Reinstall the disk driver
  5. Check your PC for viruses and malware
  6. Format the external hard drive as new
  7. Disable Windows 10 Indexing
What causes a hard drive to slow down?
Bad sectors, viruses, logical errors, insufficient power, disk fragmentation, etc. may result in a performance decrease of your hard drive and it will become very slow.
How do I fix my hard drive not reading?
  1. Check the power
  2. Try a Different USB port
  3. Uninstall the disk driver
  4. Turn On USB Root Hub
  5. Show all hidden devices
  6. Make changes in Registry
  7. Check disk for bad sectors
Why is my external hard drive not detected?
When the driver of your hard drive is corrupted or damaged, viruses attack your PC, the USB port of your PC is not working, the file system gets corrupted, etc., your external hard drive may not be detected. To fix it, you can refer to this post - Fix: External Hard Drive Not Showing Up Or Recognized .
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