Author: Eunice Njuguna
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

My Computer Can't Find the Hard Drive

Category: Windows 10

A common problem that occurs when operating a computer is the system not detecting a hard drive. It is a common occurrence related to the device not locating the default drive it uses to load in a new, old, internal, or external hard drive. For each of these drives, a drawn solution is necessary. Here, we will discuss how you can detect and resolve most of the issues of a computer not finding the hard drive.

Try Disk Management and File Explorer Fixes

The first two places you can check for a hard drive are in the Disk Management and File Explorer tools. It is likely the hard drive may not appear in both or a single location. But for both cases, straightforward solutions are available. First, try accessing the Disk Management tool on your computer. There are three ways you can do this;

  • By pressing the Windows + R keys
  • By pressing the Windows + right-clicking the Start button
  • By opening the Run dialog through the Windows + R keys and then entering disk mgmt.MSC to open the tool.

My Computer Can't Find the Hard Drive

The Disk Management option directs you to a setup that allows you to view the partitions, sizes, and other information of available disks. If your missing hard drive shows up in the Disk Management tool but lacks the File Explorer, this is a simple feat. Such issues are easy to resolve since the disk only lacks initials or is initialized but without partitions. Typically, a lack of initials or partitions is the main reason the file does not show up on File Explorer.

To resolve the issue, you will first initialize and then partition the hard drive. To initialize, go to This PC on your computer and select Manage. Next, choose the Disk Management option and right-click on the disk you want to initialize, then click on the Initialize option.

The next screen will direct you to a dialog box that allows you to select the disk that needs initializing and the types of partition styles. You can choose two styles: the Master Boot Record (MBR) and GUID Partition Table (GPT). GPT is a modern style compatible with new BIOS settings, whereas MBR is best for setting up drives with traditional BIOS.

Next is to create the partition on the disk. Go to This PC, then to Manage, and then to Disk Management option. Look for the Unallocated space on the menu and choose the New Simple Volume option. Open the New Simple Volume Wizard option under it and use it to create new partitions. From the Wizard option, you can create new volume sizes, assign drive letters, and partition the hard drive to show on File explorer and be accessible by other users.

If the drive is partitioned but cannot be found on Disk Management, check the drive letters' settings. Go to removable drive on the Disk Management option and press Change Drive Letters and Paths. If your drive already has a letter, click on Change to give it a letter that is accessible in Windows. If the device does not have a letter, click on Add to provide it with a new path.

It is also possible your file may be partitioned, but the partitioning can be from a different file system. A partitioning from a different file system results in a hard drive not being located in the File Explorer. To resolve the issue, a reformatting of the system can be carried out. Note that reformatting may erase information. It is, therefore, necessary to back up relevant data before you start.

The formatting procedure begins by first accessing the Format button on the Disk Management Utility. On the next screen, confirm that the right Volume Label is selected on the device you want to format. Set the Allocation Unit Size to default and perform a quick format of the device.

If, after this process, the computer can still not find the hard drive in the File Explorer or Disk Management, then it is time to try other fixes. 

Check the BIOS Setup

Another reason your computer may not find a hard drive can be due to a disabled BIOS setting. Apart from booting the computer, BIOS assists in transferring information between the operating system and hard drives. If the hard drive has a wrong setting in the BIOS, the device will not load on the PC. 

To resolve the error, priority devices must be set to appear first on the menu. The first item on the list should be the hard drive with the Windows system. Once it is set, the rest of the ports, like the SATA ports that do not have a hard drive attached to them, can fall right below it. Next, restart the computer and check if the hard drive is now available. If not, try an alternative BIOS setup method.

An alternative solution would be the enabling of the hard drive on the BIOS menu. You can start the process by restarting the computer. Go to the BIOS setup menu and select USB Controllers. If the option reads disabled, change it to enable. Restart your computer and confirm if the hard drive is available. If the problem persists, you can retry the BIOS setup process or select any of the other mentioned solutions.

Check the Hard Drive Connections

A loose or faulty SATA or power cable can result in a hard drive not being found. For loose wires, check the motherboard and hard drive connections and ensure they are tightly fixed. Also, check for bent or coiling cables that may affect the transfer of power and replace them. 

Note that most cables break on the inside, and it is difficult to observe the damage from the outside. Therefore, the only way to detect a faulty cable is by testing on a different computer or swapping it. If the cable does not work on another computer, then replace it. 

Another connection issue that may affect hard drives is a dead USB port. To confirm if the problem is with the USB port or your computer, try plugging the drive in a different computer and see if it works. Connecting the drive directly to the computer instead of the USB hub may also help resolve the problem. In both cases, check for the drives in the Disk Management and This PC tools. If the drive does not show in both places, you likely have a dead hard drive.

Fix Driver Issues

If Windows has a driver issue with your device, it becomes difficult to load some of the hard drives. To check for driver issues in your computer, use the Device Manager tool. The Device Manager can be accessed through the Run dialog by pressing devmgmt.MSC. Also, the Device Manager is easily accessible by pressing the Windows + X option on your computer.

After opening, scroll down to the Disk Drivers option. Expand the driver and check for devices with yellow markings on them. Next, Right-click on the devices you wish to resolve and press Properties. Finally, check for error messages and translate the information to resolve the hard drive issues. 

But for driver issues that happened recently, it is recommended to reverse to old settings by restoring previous systems. You can also update drivers using the new settings on the manufacturers’ website to resolve driver issues. All these options require you to change the driver’s settings available in the Driver menu under the Device Managers option. The Roll Back Driver menu is also necessary when reverting to recently updated drivers. 

If neither of the above solutions works, consider uninstalling the driver. Press the Uninstall Driver option on the menu. The uninstalling option will allow Windows to reinstall the driver after rebooting the computer. The process also allows Windows to update the correct configurations during the reverting process. 

Either of the solutions mentioned above should resolve the “computer can’t find hard drive” problem. If you run all the checks but the drive is still not available, the hard drive could be dead. A solution to a dead hard drive is replacing it with a similar one. However, a replacement should only happen if all of the above processes fail.

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