Skip to Content

Samsung TV Not Recognizing Hard Drive (Causes and How to Fix)

As an owner of a Samsung TV, I know how frustrating it can be when your television won’t recognize your hard drive. I recently experienced this issue and after doing some research and testing, I’m here to share how I solved the problem, as well as some other potential solutions I discovered.

In this blog post, I will discuss the causes of Samsung TV not recognizing the hard drive, and provide some tips on how to fix this issue.


  • Samsung TVs may not recognize hard drives if the files are in the wrong format, the hard drive is connected via an extension cord, the hard drive is too full, or there are several USB drives plugged in at the same time.
  • To fix this issue, you should format the hard drive properly, try a soft or hard reset, connect the hard drive directly, make sure the hard drive isn’t too full, or completely erase the hard drive.
  • SUHD and QLED models support NTFS, FAT, and exFAT file systems, while Full HD models support NTFS (read-only), FAT16, and FAT32 file systems.
  • Samsung TVs have a maximum number of folders and files they can recognize – 8,000 for SUHD and QLED models and 4,000 for Full HD models.

Why Is My Samsung TV Not Recognizing Hard Drive?

If your Samsung TV isn’t reading your external hard drive or the drive isn’t working on the TV, there are a bunch of different reasons that can lead to such issues.

Here are the most common culprits behind unrecognizable hard drives on Samsung TV, so check them out to see if one (or more) of them applies to your case:

The Files Are in the Wrong Format

The first reason, and one of the most likely ones, is that the files on the hard drive are in the wrong format. You should check whether the file system of your hard drive is compatible with your Samsung TV.  

TVs aren’t computers. They won’t read all or as many types of files, which can render the hard drive unrecognizable once connected. 

The good news is that this problem can be easily fixed by performing a drive formatting. Generally speaking, Samsung TVs support files as follows:

  • SUHD and QLED models: NTFS, FAT, and exFAT file systems.
  • Full HD models: NTFS (read-only), FAT16, and FAT32 file systems.

The Hard Drive Is Connected via an Extension Cord

If you connect your hard drive to your Samsung TV via a USB extension cord, there’s a chance the TV won’t be able to read the drive.

Instead, you should connect your external USB flash/hard drive to your Samsung TV directly via the USB port.

The Hard Drive Is Too Full

If your external hard drive contains too many folders and files, your Samsung TV may fail to read it once connected. The more files your hard drive carries, the higher the chance of files not opening.

In general, there’s a maximum number of folders and files that an external hard drive can contain and be recognizable when connected to a Samsung TV. The limit goes as follows:

  • SUHD and QLED models: 8,000
  • Full HD models: 4,000

There Are Several USB Drives Plugged in at the Same Time

Your Samsung TV may fail to read some or all USB hard drives if multiple ones are connected to it at once. Overwhelming a TV’s processor is never a good idea, especially if it’s an older model.

Once again, TVs aren’t computers or smartphones. They’re expected to be limited in terms of processing power.

One or More of the Files Is Corrupted or Unplayable

Last but not least, one or more of the folders or files on the hard drive may be corrupted or unplayable. This can cause your Samsung TV to not read the drive.

How to Fix Samsung TV Not Recognizing Hard Drive

Now that you know some possible reasons behind your Samsung TV not recognizing hard drives, it’s time to explain how you can resolve these issues.

Format the Hard Drive Properly

As mentioned earlier, SUHD and QLED Samsung TV models recognize NTFS, FAT, and exFAT file systems, while Full HD models recognize NTFS (read-only), FAT16, and FAT32 file systems.

So, you need to format your hard drive to these file systems to get your TV to read them. You need a computer to perform the following steps:

  • Download a partition manager such as MiniTool Partition Wizard.
  • Connect the hard drive to your PC.
  • Launch the partition manager.
  • Click the hard drive’s partition.
  • You can either choose the proper file system then click apply, or copy the file to your hard drive so it automatically gets saved in a proper format.

Try doing a soft reset

Often, a soft reset is all that is needed to solve issues on a Samsung TV. A soft reset does not erase any data. To soft reset a Samsung TV, you simply need to turn the TV off, then remove the plug from the wall outlet and wait for 60 seconds, then put the plug back in and turn the TV on again.

Try a hard reset

A hard reset involves completely reseting the TV to its factory defaults and your data will be erased.

To do this, do the following:

  1. Turn on the TV and press the “Home” button on the remote
  2. Go to “settings”
  3. Then click “general”
  4. Then click “reset”
  5. You must then enter a 4 digit pin number which is 0 0 0 0 by default
  6. Then click ”Yes” to reset the TV
  7. The TV will then turn off once it has finished resetting
  8. You can now turn the TV back on and set it up again

Connect the Hard Drive Directly

Instead of using a USB extension cord, connect the external hard drive to your Samsung TV directly via the USB port.

Make Sure the Hard Drive Isn’t Too Full

If the number of folders and files is more than the maximum limit, delete some of them and try connecting the hard drive again.

Completely Erase the Hard Drive

If the list of folders or files on the drive contains one or more corrupted or unplayable files, your best bet is to format the entire hard drive (remove everything in it) then add another file and connect it again.

Wrap Up

A Samsung TV not recognizing hard drives can be due to various reasons including a wrong format, too many drives connected, too many files on the drive, and even using a USB extension cord.

Luckily, these issues can be resolved at home by following some simple steps as discussed above.

Read more: Can I add Roku to Samsung TV?