Having your external hard drive unexpectedly eject itself can be annoying and disruptive. This issue is often caused by problems with power supply, cable connections, driver conflicts, or faulty hardware. Don’t worry – in most cases this problem can be fixed with some simple troubleshooting steps.
Quick Overview of Potential Causes
There are a few common reasons why an external hard drive may keep ejecting itself:
- Insufficient power – The drive is not getting enough consistent power to function properly. This could be caused by a damaged or inadequate power cable/source.
- Faulty USB port – The USB port you have the drive connected to could be damaged or malfunctioning.
- Damaged cable – If the USB cable connecting the drive is damaged, it can interrupt the power supply.
- Driver conflicts – Conflicts between the drivers controlling the external drive and other hardware can cause eject issues.
- Faulty drive – If the drive hardware itself is damaged or malfunctioning, that could cause spontaneous ejects.
Step 1: Check Power Supply
The first thing to check is whether the hard drive is getting consistent, adequate power. An insufficient power supply is the most common reason for spontaneous external hard drive ejects.
Try using a different USB port on your computer. Avoid low-powered ports like those found on your keyboard or monitor. Directly connect the drive to a USB port on the computer itself.
If the drive came with an AC adapter, make sure you’re using that rather than just a USB cable. The adapter ensures the drive gets consistent power. If you’re already using the adapter, try replacing it to see if that fixes the issue.
You can also try plugging the drive into a powered USB hub. Hubs with their own power supply can provide stable, ample power to drives that may not get enough from the computer itself.
Step 2: Inspect Cables and Connections
Faulty cables are another prime suspect for drive eject issues. Check that both ends of the USB cable are firmly plugged into their ports. Wiggle the connectors and make sure there’s no internal damage or bent pins.
Inspect the entire length of the cable for damage. Cracks, kinks, or corroded connectors can interrupt the power delivery. Try replacing the cable with a brand new high-quality one. Avoid cheap generic cables.
If the drive uses separate power and data cables, check both. Make sure they’re securely connected and undamaged. If the problem started occurring after connecting to a new computer, the USB port itself could be damaged. Try other ports to isolate the issue.
Step 3: Update or Reinstall Drivers
Driver conflicts are another culprit for drives ejecting themselves. The external drive interacts with your system through drivers that control how it connects to the computer and communicates with hardware and software.
If these drivers become outdated or corrupted, conflicts can occur that cause the system to essentially eject or disconnect the drive. Updating your USB and external hard drive drivers can help resolve these conflicts.
First, try updating your USB drivers. An outdated USB system driver can cause problems with external devices like hard drives. Updated drivers are usually available for download from your computer manufacturer’s website.
For the drive itself, check the manufacturer’s website for software and driver updates. Install these to see if they resolve any conflicts causing ejects.
If updates don’t fix the problem, try uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers. Use a free driver uninstall utility to fully clear out any problem drivers before reinstalling fresh versions.
Step 4: Disable USB Selective Suspend
The Selective Suspend USB power management setting in Windows can sometimes lead to drive eject issues. This feature reduces power to unused USB devices to save power. But it can cause power supply interruptions on some drives.
Disabling Selective Suspend prevents Windows from turning off power to the drive, which should stop spontaneous ejects. To do this:
- Go to Power Options in Windows Settings.
- Click “Change plan settings” for your active power plan.
- Click “Change advanced power settings”.
- Expand the USB settings and disable “USB selective suspend setting”
Step 5: Test with Another Computer
If you’ve tried the above steps and the ejects persist, try plugging the drive into another computer. This helps determine whether the problem is with the drive itself or your computer.
If the drive works fine on another system, the issue lies with your ports, cables, or drivers. You can then focus troubleshooting on those specific components.
However, if the drive continues ejecting when connected to different machines, the drive itself likely has a hardware problem. At that point, you’ll probably need a replacement drive if the issue can’t be resolved through troubleshooting steps.
Preventing External Hard Drive Ejects
Once you’ve resolved an ejecting problem, you can take steps to prevent future recurrences:
- Always eject drives safely – Unplugging without ejecting can cause corruption and hardware problems that lead to eject issues.
- Keep cables, ports, and connections clean – Dust buildup can interrupt the electrical contacts.
- Regularly check for driver and firmware updates
- Use a surge protector – Guards against power spikes than can damage USB ports and drives.
- Handle drive carefully – Drops or bumps while powered on can disrupt the internal components.
When to Seek Professional Help
If you’ve exhausted all standard troubleshooting steps and the drive keeps ejecting, it’s time to seek assistance. A computer technician has specialized tools and diagnostics to assess the drive hardware and isolate difficult problems.
They can determine if the enclosure, bridge card, port, or other components have failed and require replacement. Professionals also have access to advanced data recovery services if important files are trapped on a damaged drive.
Replacing a Problematic External Hard Drive
If a drive has faulty hardware that causes chronic ejects, replacement is the solution. Fortunately external hard drives have steadily declined in price over the years and large drives are very affordable.
When selecting a replacement drive, look for trusted brands like Samsung, Seagate, Toshiba, and Western Digital. Also consider spending a bit more for a drive with a longer warranty (3-5 years).
Portable SSDs are another excellent choice for external storage. With no moving parts, they are much less susceptible to the hardware failures that plague traditional hard drives.
Data Recovery Tips
Before replacing a persistently ejecting drive, try to recover your data if possible:
- Try copying files during brief periods where drive eject doesn’t occur.
- Boot into Safe Mode – The limited drivers may prevent ejects long enough to offload files.
- Chill the drive – Some users report cooling a drive with air conditioning, fans, or even freezer time temporarily resolves ejects.
- Seek professional data recovery – Reputable data recovery firms can successfully extract data from damaged drives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my external hard drive keep disconnecting?
Frequent disconnections of an external drive are typically caused by problems with power supply, cable damage, driver issues, or faulty hardware. Insufficient power due to a damaged USB port, low-quality cable, or lack of a supplemental AC adapter is the most common factor.
How do I stop my external hard drive from ejecting?
Updating drivers, changing cables/ports, providing consistent power, and disabling USB selective suspend may stop ejects. If hardware damage is the cause,professional repairs or drive replacement may be required.
Why does my hard drive eject itself without warning?
Sudden, unexpected ejects of an external drive are usually caused by hardware problems such as:
- Faulty or inadequate power supply
- Damaged USB or power cables
- Broken drive components due to drops/damage
- Corrupted drive firmware
How do I fix my WD external hard drive that keeps disconnecting?
For a Western Digital drive that keeps disconnecting, try these steps:
- Connect drive directly to a USB port on the computer rather than through a hub.
- Update WD and USB drivers.
- Try a different USB cable and port.
- Check for overheating issues.
- Reinstall or rollback driver in Device Manager.
- Contact WD support for potential RMA if hardware failure suspected.
Why does my Seagate external hard drive disconnect and reconnect?
A Seagate drive that’s constantly disconnecting and reconnecting could be caused by:
- Insufficient power – Use USB-Y cable or powered hub.
- Damaged USB port – Try different ports.
- Outdated drivers – Update Seagate and USB drivers.
- Excessive vibration – Place drive on stable surface.
- USB selective suspend enabled – Disable this setting.
- Failing hardware – Contact Seagate Support for replacement options.
An external hard drive ejecting itself can certainly be an annoyance. But fortunately the common causes like power, cables, drivers, etc. can often be resolved with some basic troubleshooting techniques. If the hardware itself is failing, affordable replacement drives are readily available.
Backing up your data regularly is also crucial to avoid potential data loss when dealing with an unstable external drive.