Fix Disk Unknown Not Initialized in Windows 10

Summary: In this blog, you will learn how to fix Disk Unknown Not Initialized error in Windows 10. The cause of this error may be corrupt MBR, outdated device driver, missing partition, bad sectors, etc. You can try the best methods to fix this error. We have also articulated an efficient way to recover data using a powerful data recovery software in case of data loss due to this error.

Fix Disk Unknown Not Initialized in Windows 10

When you connect an external drive to the system to copy some files from it to your system, or to create a backup of the system data, sometimes you get a ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ error (See Image 1). This error on your disk makes the drive unreadable, due to which, you are unable to access your data stored on it. However, you may take help of a data recovery tool to get back your data. And to fix the error, try attempting the methods given in this blog post.

Why ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ Error Occurs?

There could be several reasons due to which ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ error message may occur, which are mentioned as following:

  • Corrupt/ Incompatible/Outdated Driver
  • MBR Corruption
  • Missing or lost partition
  • Bad Sectors
  • Corrupt File System

Best Ways to Fix Disk Unknown Not Initialized in Windows 10

Method 1: Update Device Driver

As explained above, an outdated, corrupt or incompatible device driver may be the cause for this error. You may fix it by updating the latest driver or uninstalling the problematic one, and then reinstalling the compatible driver for the device. Follow these steps to update the device driver:

a. Press Windows + X, locate and open Device Manager. (See Image 1)

Image 1: Open Device Manager

b. Select the category of the devices and double-click on the one you want to update driver for.

c. Right-click on the driver. If you see the Update driver option, select it.

d. Choose ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ and Windows will find the latest one. (See Image 2)

Image 2: Search automatically for updated driver software

e. If you see Properties option on right-clicking the driver, click Driver tab on the open window.

f. On the next prompt, click Update Driver. (See Image 3)

Image 3: Update driver

g. Proceed by clicking ‘ Search automatically for updated driver software’.

When Windows will find you a latest driver for the device, update it. If you couldn’t see any latest driver software available for the device, you may uninstall the corrupt one and re-install the compatible driver to fix the error.

Method 2: Rebuild MBR Boot

If the error occurs due to the MBR corruption, you may fix MBR (Master Boot Record) with the help of the following steps:

a. Open Command Prompt and type the following commands:

  • bootrec /fixmbr
  • bootrec /fixboot (See Image 4)
Image 4: FIX MBR

b. Once done with the process, close the Command Prompt.

c. Check if the error still persists.

Method 3: Initialize Disk

Try fixing ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ error in Windows 10 by initializing disk with the help of the following troubleshooting steps:

a. Open Disk Management and locate the drive, which is not initialized. The drive will show as unallocated. (see Image 5)

Image 5: The device appears as unallocated

b. Select the unallocated disk, right-click on it and click Initialize Disk. (See Image 6)

Image 6: Initialize disk

c. Select between an MBR and GPT. It is recommended to select GPT and click OK to proceed. (See Image 7)

Image 7: Choose between MBR and GPT

d. Once this process is done, you will be back to the main window. The drive will be listed as Online and Basic.

e. Go to This PC and check if you can access the drive.

Method 4: Assign a Drive Letter

If you see your drive in Disk Management as UNALLOCATED, you may assign a drive letter and a file system to the drive to fix it. To do so, follow the steps given below:

a. Go to Disk Management and find Unallocated drive.

b. Select the disk drive, right-click on it and select New Simple Volume. (See Image 8)

Image 8: Create New Simple Volume

c. Click Next and then click Next on the next prompt to specify the volume size. (See Image 9)

Image 9: Specify the volume size of the drive

d. Click ‘Assign the following drive letter’, choose a letter from drop-down list, and click Next. (See Image10)

Image 10: Assign the drive letter

e. Choose ‘Format this volume with the following settings’. Provide the drive a NTFS file system and click Next to proceed. (See Image 11)

Image 11: Format the drive and choose NTFS as a file system

f. Select Finish to complete the procedure and close the window. Once done, check if the error is fixed.

CAUTION: Performing this method will result in data loss as it will require you to format the drive. So, if you have data stored on the drive, you may recover it by using a data recovery tool.

Method 5: Run CHKDSK Command

This error may occur due to bad sectors on disk drive. To fix the corrupt drive or drive with bad sectors, you may run CHKDSK command utility. Follow the given steps:

a. Go to Start by pressing Windows + X, find and open Command Prompt (Admin) (See Image 12)

Image 12: Open command prompt (admin)

b. Type chkdsk /f /r d: in the Command Prompt, and hit Enter. (See Image 13)

Image 13: Run CHKDSK command

This command line utility fixes if there is any corruption with the disk. However, it also finds and marks down the bad sectors on the disk. This utility helps Windows understand not to store or read data stored on the bad sectors. Doing so, will make you lose any data stored on those sectors.

Hence, if you run this command to fix ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized” error and lost data due to this, use a powerful data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery Software. This Do-it-yourself tool can recover data from a formatted, or corrupted Windows PCs and external storage devices like HDDs, USB, SD, and SSDs, etc.

Method 6: Run Diskpart Utility

You may also try to fix ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ by using Diskpart utility. This utility helps to quickly format the drive partition or change the disk partition to NTFS or FAT32.

NOTE: This method requires you to format the partition that leads you to data loss situation. Therefore, before proceeding further, either create a backup of your data or keep a data recovery tool handy to restore the data.

Follow the given steps and to fix the error:

a. Open Run window by pressing Windows + R, and type cmd to open Command Prompt.

b. In the command prompt window, type diskpart, then type list disk, and hit Enter.

c. Now, type Select Disk 0 (Where disk 0 is the disk showing error) and hit Enter. (See Image 14)

Image 14: List and select disk

d. Type clean and hit Enter.

e. Type create partition primary and hit Enter.

f. Type format fs=fat32 quick or fs=ntfs quick and hit Enter to proceed. (See Image 15)

Image 15: create partition primary

g. Let the process finish, type exit and hit Enter.

h. Reboot the system and check if you are facing the error with the disk.

Recover Lost Data with Data Recovery Software

Due to ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ error, you will not be able to access your drive. Even, in an attempt to fix this error by applying some of the methods mentioned above, you may end up losing data stored on the drive. Regardless of the reason of losing data, you may get it back with the help of a powerful data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery. This do-it-yourself (DIY) software can recover lost documents, email files, photos, videos, and more. It supports multiple file formats on different storage devices. The data can even be recovered from formatted and corrupted Windows PCs and external drives.


In this blog, we have discussed what you can do when your system or an external drive encounter ‘Disk Unknown Not Initialized’ error. Performing the aforesaid methods may help you fix the error. However, methods such as diskpart utility or fixing unallocated space require you to format the drive, wiping out the data stored on it. To avoid losing data on the drive, you may use a data recovery tool such as Stellar Data Recovery software. The tool can efficiently extract lost files, folders, documents, photos, and more.