The Device is not ready error appears when you are either trying to initialize an external drive or can’t access it. This is mainly due to your USB drivers not working properly or problems with the device itself.
Old external HDD or USB drives frequently experience this issue. While defective hardware needs physical repair or replacement, you can easily solve software problems yourself.
How to Fix the Device is Not Ready in Windows?
Before you begin, try plugging in your external drive to all the different ports to see if the ports were defective. If you do find defective ports in your device, you can refer to our article on fixing dead or broken USB port.
If all of them show the same error, try plugging your external drive into a different PC. If the external drive works on another PC, it is probably a software issue in your computer.
Run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter
All hardware needs a corresponding driver to communicate with the system. The driver is the bridge of communication between the system and the hardware. So, when the driver starts failing, it can show various types of errors.
Hardware and Devices troubleshooter responds to these errors and fixes them.
- Press Windows + R shortcut key to open Run Utility.
cmdto open Command Prompt.
- In CMD, enter the following command:
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
- The troubleshooter will open up, and click on Next.
- The troubleshooter will then start a scan for any issues in the drivers.
Update or Reinstall USB Drivers
Updating or reinstalling drivers helps fix issues like corrupted, misconfigured, or improperly installed drivers. As the driver not working properly is a big cause of the device not ready error, you can fix it by updating USB Driver.
- Access the Run box by pressing Windows + R keys.
- Double-click Universal Serial Bus controllers menu on Device Manager.
- Right-click any one of the drivers and select Update driver.
- Tap on Search automatically for drivers.
- Use the same method to update all the other USB drivers.
Reinstalling the drivers is pretty similar to updating them. This process installs a functional copy of the driver, nullifying the issue with the previous driver.
- Under the Universal Serial Bus controllers menu in Device Manager, right-click your USB Driver.
- Tap on Uninstall Driver. (Do not uninstall the Host Control and Root Hub USB driver. Skip these two drivers.)
- Confirm Uninstall.
- Restart your computer.
After your computer restarts, it should automatically reinstall the missing drivers.
Perform a CHKDSK Scan
The CHKDSK command scans for any issues of logical or physical error in your drive, like damaged disk sectors, and it tries to fix them. It may isolate the bad disk sector or prevent the computer from reading in that location to restore normal working processes.
- In File Explorer, right-click on the external drive under This PC.
- Choose Properties from the options.
- Navigate to the Tools header and choose the Check option.
- Your PC will then scan the external drive for any errors.
You can also enter the command
chkdsk #: /r in Command Prompt to perform a CHKDSK scan of the drive. However, remember to input the drive letter of the drive you want to scan in place of #. For example, the command
chkdsk g: /r scans Drive G.
Change Drive Letter
If multiple drives are connected to your computer, or your disk has multiple partitions with different drive letters, you can face this error when two drives have the same drive letter.
While the system is programmed to automatically change the drive letter if similar, bugs and errors can hinder this process.
- Open Run dialog box using Windows + R shortcut key.
diskmgmt.mscand press Shift + Enter.
- Right-click the drive you want to change the letter of and choose the Change Drive Letter and Paths option.
- Tap on Change in the new window.
- Next to assign the following drive letter, choose the letter you want to assign.
- Click on OK and Yes.
Format the Drive
If the above methods don’t work, you can try formatting the drive and erasing all its data. Furthermore, you can format the disk in the NTFS file system, which makes it more compatible with windows.
However, if you have important data in the drive, you should first try to back up the drive using third-party applications. While you may not be able to recover all of it, you can still recover some of it.
- Open File Explorer.
- Under This PC, right-click the drive you want to format.
- Tap on the Format option.
- Under File System, choose NTFS and click Start.
- Your drive will start getting formatted.
While you can recover data from a formatted drive, it is much more difficult to do so.
If the above method fails, try the clean diskpart command to erase all data from your drive permanently. Clean diskpart command will not only erase data but fill the drive with a bunch of 0, permanently erasing your drive.
- In the Windows search bar, enter diskpart and open it.
- Then, enter the
list diskcommand to see all the drives on your computer.
- Enter the command
select <disk>. (In place of <disk>, enter the disk you want to clean diskpart from the
list diskcommand. For, e.g.,
select disk 0.)
cleanand press Enter.
- After the clean process ends, you won’t be able to open the drive. So, you need to run the following command:
select volume #
Enter the drive volume number from the list volume command in the place of #
create partition primary
format fs=ntfs quick
- Exit Command Prompt.