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Solution: External Hard Drive Not Working / Not Recognized On My TV or Blu Ray Player

If you found this page, chances are you have loaded some of your favorite media on a USB drive or an external hard drive and hooked it up to your TV or Blu Ray Player. But when you tried to turn on the TV or Bu Ray Player to play your files, you were told that the drive cannot be read, or the drive is not recognized, or some other message basically telling you your drive will not work. This is the position that I found myself in as well, and it is very frustrating. I was able to find a solution, but it took alot of searching and most sites and forums I visited did not have the right solution from me. If this is the first site you have visited, I will provide the most common solution to fix this problem below before I provide the ultimate solution which helped me. BTW, my solution (solution 2 below) DEFINITELY works for WD Passport external drives.

First, before you do anything below, verify that your device can actually play data from a USB drive or an external hard disk. Then, check and see if the media file type you want to play on the device is actually supported by the device, as many devices will only play specific types of media files. Next, make sure you try inserting the USB cable when the TV or BR player is turned off and then power up to see if your device gets recognized. If you have verified that your device can play your files and tried and failed to get it to work by plugging it in when the device was off, then move on to the possible solutions below.

Solution 1  – What Most People Suggest as a Fix

The fix most people and forums were suggesting was that the file system type of the USB flashdrive or the external hard drive was not compatible with the device. Many people had suggested that some Blu Ray Players and TVs will only recognize FAT32 formatted disks, and others said that some devices will only recognize NTFS formatted disks. In order to fix this issue, you have to reformat your external hard drive. Just to be clear, REFORMATTING WILL DELETE ALL DATA ON A DRIVE. So if you want to try reformatting your drive, save everything on it somewhere else, like on your computer, before reformatting. It might be worth a shot.

As for me, I was buying a second external hard drive, so I popped the first one into my computer and found that it was a NTFS, so the fact my new one was an NTFS was obviously not the issue. While Solution 1 may be valid in some cases, it was no help to me. Many other suggestions were stupid or misinformed, or suggested nothing more than “buy a new TV.” Real helpful right? So I tried hard to find another possible cause of the problem. I messed around with the permissions of the external hard drive trying to give any user as much access as possible. This does not work, so don’t waste your time. I spent so much time seeking a solution that I wound up giving up and buying a new external hard drive. I figured since I could not find a difference in how the drives were formatted or setup, I would buy another external hard drive which is the same capacity, made by the same manufacturer, and in the same series as the one I already use to play media. I figured this would be safe as if my current one works, the new one will too. I was wrong. The new drive would not work on my TV. So I went back to net and filtered through all the crap, until I found the solution which worked!

Solution 2 – What Worked For Me

The solution which fixed my issue has to do with the way a drive is partitioned. Now, you may be saying “I dont have any partitions on my drive.” Well, you’re right and wrong. If you have one drive, you have one partition. Why? Because computers, thats why. I don’t get it but thats the way it is. Anyway, at some point in time many of the external drive manufacturers started using a type of partition called GPT. Don’t ask what it stands for, because it doesn’t matter. The forum I found suggested that the OP should check if their external hard disk was formatted as a GPT partition, and if so, to change it to a MBR partition. And this worked for the OP.So I checked to see what kind of partition was on my new drive, and guess what? GPT partition. So I reformatted the disk, and made the partition an MBR. IT WORKED!!!!!

Now, there is a drawback to reformatting as an MBR you should be aware of. An MBR drive can only be 2TB according to some smart super geeky web folk, for reasons I really don’t understand. So if you have a 3TB drive, you will loose 1TB of storage space switching it to an  MBR partition. If you don’t care, or if you have a external drive that is smaller than 2TB, you should definitely try this to so your device will recognize your hard drive. If you need help with any of the things I mentioned, like finding out how your drive is partitioned, or how to change your partition type, you should search google and find out how. These changes are the kind of “do at your own risk” things where it would be better to get the instructions from a site with better instructions than I can provide. I just wanted to share the solution that helped me out and get it out there, as it took forever for me to find it when I was looking. Good luck!!!


(Big thanks to the OP and the people who responded on this thread for helping me find the answer to this issue

Image from Pixabay used under Creative Commons CC 0

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