What to do if the computer does not see the hard drive | Lesson | Gadgets, gifts and accessories, Computer equipment


Photo: pcmag.com

In today’s world, information plays an important role in professional and personal life. You especially feel this when, when you turn on the PC, an error notification pops up on the screen: «Hard drive not detected.» In such a situation, all files stored on the internal or external device may be corrupted or deleted. Read on to learn about the possible causes and symptoms of the error, as well as how to fix it.

Possible causes of hard drive problems

The “Hard drive not found” error is one of the serious problems, since the device contains data that the user needs. There may be several reasons for its occurrence:

  • incorrect connection of wires or their defect;
  • the hard drive is outdated, not compatible with the new software;
  • the hard disk is formatted (its memory is not detected by the system);
  • physical damage (overheating, breakdown, etc.);
  • viruses and other malicious files;
  • corrupted data;
  • damaged sectors;
  • The hard drive is disabled in the bios.

Physical and software symptoms that indicate a hard drive failure:

  • there is a clicking / humming noise coming from the drive;
  • repeated program crashes;
  • the hard disk has an unallocated area (RAW) in disk management;
  • the hard drive is not assigned a letter;
  • yellow exclamation mark at the device icon;
  • persistent error notifications.

We will discuss how to troubleshoot these issues below.

How to fix hard drive errors

There are different ways to fix the «Hard Drive Not Detected» error. We will talk about them further.

  • Check cable connection
It is important to carefully disconnect the SATA cable, without physical effort. Photo: pcworld.co.nz

The user must ensure that all wires are properly connected to the hard drive. Check the connections against the official instructions.

Sometimes the wire can become disconnected or broken. Before checking, unplug the PC from the outlet, then inspect the wires and pins on the connectors for breaks, bends, and other defects. If the cable (power or SATA) is damaged, replace it with a new one.

To check the performance of the SATA cable and power wire:

  • Disconnect and reconnect the cable to the hard drive. At the same time, keep in mind that SATA wires have a metal latch-lock at the end. To avoid damage to the connector, remove the cable with the lever clamped.
  • After that, you need to restart your computer.
  • If the problem is not solved, use another wire and plug it into another port (if your PC has a DVD drive, then you can take the SATA cable from it). If you used a Molex-to-SATA adapter to connect, try to do without it.

If the external hard drive does not work, similarly, you need to check the connection is correct:

  • plug into another USB connector, for example, on the rear, not the front panel. If the drive is connected using two USB wires, check both connections.
  • If the USB cable is damaged, replace it with a new one.
  • Connect the drive to another device.

2. Format and initialize the hard drive

The inscription RAW in the column «file system» or a black bar (unallocated area) are symptoms of problems that have arisen. Photo: easeus.com
One solution to the problem is to format the disk. Photo: Daria Golubkova, Photosklad.Expert

Corrupted hard drive files are a possible cause of unrecognized memory (RAW). To fix the error, you must delete the damaged information by formatting the device. In this case, all data stored on the disk will be lost. How to recover deleted files, we will tell in the next section.

To start the formatting process:

In the MBR partition, you can create up to 4 main partitions (the rest are additional), they are not limited in size. In GPT — an unlimited number of primary partitions up to 2 TB. Accordingly, if the disk is larger than 2 TB, choose GPT, less — MBR. After selecting a section, it remains to click the «OK» button.

If your external hard drive does not work, the sequence of actions is as follows:

  • Connect the drive to your computer.
  • Open Disk Management and right-click on an external hard drive with a black area («unallocated») or RAW status.
  • «Format» → «NTFS» / «exFAT» → «OK».

3. Recover files from RAW partition and create a new partition

Hard disk data recovery

To recover information, you must use third-party software (for example, DiskGenius, Recoverit, and others). It completely scans the deleted partition and allows you to return the lost information from the RAW space.

The program will mark the lost partition, after which it can be directly scanned:

  • Select the desired disk with deleted information → «Scan».
  • Once the scan is complete, use «Filter» or «Search» to select files.
  • Mark the necessary files → «Restore». Then save them in another safe place.

Before proceeding further, make sure that the information is actually saved in the specified location.

Create a new section

After extracting important data, create a new partition for the hard drive to appear in the system:

4. Assign a drive letter

Duplicate drive letters are not allowed. Photo: Daria Golubkova, Photosklad.Expert

If two drives in the system have the same drive letter, or if a hard drive doesn’t have a drive letter, the computer doesn’t know which drive to open. In such a situation, in the «Disk Management» section, the device will have the status «New Volume».

To specify a new letter:

5. Run the Hardware and Devices troubleshooter

Windows has built-in troubleshooting software. Photo: Daria Golubkova, Photosklad.Expert

Windows offers users a hardware troubleshooter, making it easier to find and fix errors in hardware devices:

6. Check for driver updates

This is what the Disk Management menu looks like. Photo: Daria Golubkova, Photosklad.Expert

To check if the drivers have updates available:

A yellow exclamation mark indicates that the hard drive has an outdated driver. Solution options:

  • Right-click on the device and select «Properties» — look at the error code, find its decryption on Google.

However, the second way is easier:

If the external hard drive is not visible in the explorer of only one PC, but is identified by others, you need to update the USB controller driver of the computer, which does not detect the drive:

7. Update operating system

Windows programmers collect feedback from the user’s system and develop options for fixing errors. Therefore, update Windows to the latest version with available security patches.

8. Scan your computer for viruses

Viruses are another possible cause of a hard drive error. They can corrupt data, causing the OS to crash. Run an antivirus program to scan your computer and remove malicious files.

9. Enable drive in BIOS menu

The BIOS menus can only be navigated using the arrows on the keyboard. Photo: easeus.com

The OS cannot detect the hard drive if it is disabled in the BIOS. To enable it:

  • Restart the computer and press F2/F3/Del depending on the installed system to enter the BIOS. Navigate through the menu using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
  • Select Embedded Peripherals → Input → USB Controller.
  • If the hard drive is disabled («disable» status), change it to «Enable».
  • Save and exit BIOS.

If the above methods did not help, we recommend that you contact the service center to check the hard drive.


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