How To Fix Internal Hard Drive Not Detected?

Summary: Due to various reasons a computer might have an internal hard drive not detected an error. It might be due to a BIOS malfunction or a problem with the SATA connector. It could even be a dead hard drive. We have listed the reasons and the recovery for each.

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The hard drive is a crucial component of any computing system, so it stores data even when the computer is shut off.

Nothing can be more frustrating than switching on a laptop or desktop only to find that a hard drive is missing in action.

Table of Contents

  1. Symptoms and Error Messages Related To Internal Had Disk Not Detected
  2. How To Fix Internal Hard Disk Not Found?
  3. Case Study – Data Recovery From Not Detecting Drive
  4. Stellar Hard Disk Data Recovery Service
  5. FAQs

How To Recognize Symptoms and Error Messages Related To Internal Hard Disk Not Detected?

When a hard drive is not detected, it often comes with specific symptoms and error messages that can clue you into the nature of the problem. Here are some common signs to watch for:

  • Format Required Alert: You might see a message stating that you must format the disk before using it, often accompanied by the prompt, “Do you want to format it?
  • Access Denied: An error message may indicate that the drive cannot be accessed, sometimes showing as “Location is not available” or “Access is denied.
  • Drive Not Initialized: In some cases, the disk management window might display a drive as “unknown not initialized,” indicating the drive is not ready for use.
  • Missing Drive in File Explorer: The drive doesn’t appear in File Explorer, even though it’s connected.
  • Disk Management Shows the Drive as Unallocated: The drive appears in Disk Management but shows as unallocated space, indicating it doesn’t have a usable partition.
  • Slow or Unresponsive System when Accessing Drive: Attempting to access the drive slows down the system significantly or causes it to become unresponsive.
  • Drive Properties Display Zero Capacity: Checking the drive’s properties shows 0 bytes of storage capacity, which is a sign that the system can’t properly read the drive’s information.

These indicators can help diagnose the issue with a hard drive, leading to more targeted troubleshooting steps.

There are several common reasons why an internal hard disk not found or hard disk not detected issue might occur:
  • Loose or faulty SATA cables, leading to HDD not recognized.
  • Incorrect BIOS settings prevent the hard drive not detected.
  • Corrupted or outdated disk drivers.
  • Physical damage to the hard disk.
  • Partition issues, making the disk appear as hard disk not detected.

Here are a few possibilities and the steps to be taken to remedy the internal hard disk not detecting an error.

Additional Reading: Internal Drives Aren’t Displayed In Windows 10

How To Fix Internal Hard Disk Not Found

The internal hard disk not found error does not show up as a dialogue. Windows cannot show an error if it does not recognize a hardware component (same goes for mouse, external drive, speakers, microphone, RAM stick, etc; when formatting a Windows system only a missing keyboard shows up since without it formatting cannot occur).

windows detected hard disk problem

We list the ways you can fix the internal hard drive not detected a problem.

Additional Reading: How To Fix Hard Drive Not Recognized Error

1. Defective ATA Connection/Power Cable Connection

This is possibly the most prevalent reason for the internal hard disk not found error.

In a laptop, the hard drive has an enclosure with pins that detect the SATA output and another set of pins for providing power.

On a desktop, it is simple and you can clearly see the SATA cable and power cable.

SATA cable and power cable

Remove the hard drive from the laptop and reinsert it making sure the pins are properly placed. If you are not sure how to remove it, take it to an expert. The tiny pins on a laptop can easily get bent and need replacement.

Remove hard drive from laptop in internal hard drive not detected

In the case of a desktop, unplug the SATA and power cable and plug them in again, and you could also try changing the cable or the SATA port on the motherboard (most motherboards have several).

Power up the PC and find if the internal hard disk not found error is solved.

2. BIOS Problems Causing Non-Recognition o\Of Hardware

When you power up your computer, a tiny microprocessor runs BIOS or basic input/output system.
It is a series of instructions that check hardware and wake up the CPU.
The BIOS screen flashes for an instant and can be accessed by repeatedly depressing F1, F2, F10, F12, or Del keys (depending on the motherboard manufacturer).

bios problems causing non recognition of hardware

The BIOS can become corrupt and not recognize one or more hardware components.

To get past the BIOS fault leading to the internal hard disk not found error you need an expert to replace the BIOS chip or upgrade the firmware.

Do not read tutorials on the internet and attempt to flash the BIOS. You can render the motherboard useless.

Additional Reading: How to fix ATA/SATA hard drive not detected in BIOS

3. Missing And Defective Hard Disk Driver

The operating system needs drivers for every piece of hardware.

A driver lets the hardware communicate with the operating system.

The operating system has all the drivers it needs for hard disks but sometimes it is necessary to uninstall drivers for fixing internal hard disk not found error.

How to reinstall drivers for a hard disk in Windows:

  1. Open the Device Manager. Press Windows + X and select Device Manager from the Windows Power Menu.
  2. Otherwise, type and search for “Device Manager” in the Start menu.
  3. Locate the hard disk in the list of devices. It is usually listed under “Disk drives“. Several will show if you have multiple internal drives.

disk drives in device manager

  1. Right-click on the hard disk that is malfunctioning and select “Uninstall“.

uninstall device in internal hard drive not detected

  1. Then, wait for the process to complete.
  2. Restart your computer and then the operating system will automatically reinstall the drivers for the hard disk and fix internal hard drive not detected error.

Usually, Windows 10 and 11 would automatically search for the latest driver from the internet.

4. Hard Disk Volume Requires Initialization

A disk does not automatically show up through File Explorer. You need to initialize it (literally add an initial).

Drives are allotted drive letters such as C, D, etc.

A and B are reserved for floppy drives (though they have almost never been used since 2000).

C is the system drive and this cannot be changed. D onwards can be allocated to a new or unrecognized drive.

  1. Press the Windows key + X, and select “Disk Management” from the Windows Power Menu.

select disk management from windows power menu

  1. A list of storage media will show that includes hard drives, SSD, USB, and external hard drives.
  2. Then, Select the disk you want to initialize.

select initialize disk from disk management

  1. Right-click and select “Initialize Disk“.
  2. You will be asked to select MBR or GPT and if the BIOS is UEFI-based then you have to select GPT. If your computer has legacy BIOS then you can use either MBR or GPT. Note that this choice is not present unless you use Windows 10/11.

select gpt in initialize disk in internal hard drive not detected

  1. Now you can select an unallocated drive letter for the internal hard drive not showing up.

So, reboot and find if the hard drive shows up in File Explorer.

5. Hard Disk Failure In Internal Hard Drive Not Detected

A hard disk has an operating system of its own and it’s a highly simplified set of instructions stored in the first logical blocks that are read as soon as the hard disk is powered up.

This intermediary code can get corrupted and cause an internal hard disk not detected error.

Perhaps, the printed circuit board that controls the hard disk might have broken down.

What you need in this case is a trustworthy data recovery service.

A technician needs to take the hard disk apart and repair the failed components and following the repair, the hard disk has to be cloned and everything on it copied to a USB or external drive.

It’s not easy since the hard disk can only be taken apart in a lab that is super clean and free of all dust particles.

So. this is where the services of Stellar Hard Disk Recovery become essential and they have the infrastructure and the personnel to solve every hard disk-related problem.

6. Adjust Drive Letters to Resolve Detection Issues

Each storage drive on a computer is given a unique letter to identify it. For example, the system drive is usually labelled “C.” Sometimes, a drive might not appear due to its assigned letter conflicting with another drive or because it hasn’t been assigned one at all. This can often be the root of visibility problems for the drive.

To fix this, one can use Windows’ Disk Management tool. Here’s a simplified guide:

  • Open Disk Management by right-clicking on “This PC” and choosing “Manage,” then navigate to “Disk Management.”
  • Find the drive that’s causing issues. It might be listed without a letter or with a letter that’s already in use.
  • Right-click on the problematic drive and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths.”
  • In the window that pops up, choose “Change” and then pick a new letter for the drive from the list. Make sure it’s not currently in use by another drive.
  • Confirm the change by clicking “OK.” This should help make the drive visible again.

Note that drives without allocated space won’t store data. Creating a new partition on such space can often resolve the issue. Be cautious, as loss of partition can occur due to various reasons such as accidental deletion or virus attacks. This can lead to the need for data recovery before using the drive again.

What if none of these methods work for the internal hard disk not detected issue?

If the usual fixes don’t resolve the internal hard disk not detected issue, the drive might have physical problems.

Inside a hard drive, several issues can occur, such as head crashes, motor failures, or platter damage, making it inaccessible and unrecognised. In such cases, professional diagnosis in a controlled environment is necessary.

At Stellar Data Recovery Services, we offer a free consultation to assess your drive.

Our facilities include India’s largest Class 100 clean room, an extensive database of donor drive parts, a comprehensive library of logical analysis tools, and a wealth of experience in data recovery from the most challenging cases.

Consider this case study where we successfully recovered data from a seemingly irreparable drive.

Additional Reading: Fix Internal Hard Disk Detected But Not Accessible

Case Study – Data Recovery From Not Detecting Drive

Client: Individual

Objective: To recover data from a non-detecting hard drive.

Approach: Data from the client’s non-detecting drive was successfully recovered by Stellar Data Recovery.

The challenges faced by the Client:

  • The hard drive was not detected in his laptop.
  • The client has a 500 GB hard drive from which around 50 GB of data was been lost from his Local Disk “E” drive, which contacts clients’ important data.

Stellar Data Recovery Process:

  1. During the first analysis, the hard drive was not detected. It was evident, that the drive contains some bad sectors.
  2. However, Stellar was able to successfully recover the data after cloning.
  3. With the aid of Stellar, all of the client’s specified data from the Local Disk “E” drive—including documents, Office 11, Timiri’s personal folder (Office 11), RAMAN_Sys2_NEW, and Raman14ac_OLD—has been recovered.

Client Feedback:

The Client was quite happy with Stellar Data Recovery’s services because Stellar was able to retrieve all of the necessary data that the customer had specified.

Stellar Hard Disk Data Recovery Service

When the hard drive is damaged and you get an internal hard drive not detected error look no further than Stellar Hard Disk Data Recovery Service.

With an 80% success rate and the nation’s only certified Class 100 Clean Room Lab, we are the best at data recovery in India and globally.

Also, our esteemed clients have placed complete faith in us and rewarded us with a 5 Star rating on TrustPilot.

Call us when you have a broken hard drive and we shall help you ship the disk to us.

Our team of experts would analyze the disk and then extract the data with utmost privacy.

In case the disk needs replacement parts we have 15000 donor disks in our inventory.

So, Stellar Data Recovery experts will help you get back all the data from an internal hard drive not detected or any type of damaged hard drive at an affordable rate using cutting-edge technology, Stellar also has 30 years of experience in this domain and three million happy customers to vouch for our expertise.

FAQs – How To Fix Internal Hard Drive Not Detected?

1. What should I do if my computer doesn't recognize an external hard drive?

Ensure the drive is properly connected and powered. Check in Disk Management to see if it appears there. If not, try a different USB port or cable.

2. Can software updates cause my HDD to not be recognized?

Yes, sometimes a system or driver update can cause compatibility issues, leading to an hdd not recognized problem. Reverting the update or reinstalling drivers might help.

3. What are the signs of a failing hard disk that might not be detected?

Unusual noises, slow performance, frequent errors, and data corruption can all indicate a failing disk that might soon lead to hard disk not detected issues.

4. What to do when internal hard disk is not detected?

First, check the BIOS/UEFI settings to ensure the hard drive not detected is listed. If not, check physical connections or consider drive health diagnostics.

5. How do I fix my Dell internal hard drive not found?

For a Dell system with an internal hard disk not found, ensure BIOS settings recognize the drive. Reseat the drive to ensure a secure connection.

6. Why is my internal storage drive not showing up?

An internal storage drive not showing up could be due to unassigned drive letters, unallocated space, or driver issues in Disk Management. Read this blog for how to fix Hard Disk not Showing in Disk Management

7. How do I fix my hard drive not showing up?

Check connections and power for the hard drive not showing up. Use Disk Management to assign a drive letter or initialize the disk if necessary.

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