How to Repair Hard Disk Not Detected by Windows

Are you tired of being unable to access the hard disk on your computer? You’re not alone! This problem can be caused by various factors, including hardware issues, software errors, or even malware infections. Luckily, you can take steps to troubleshoot and repair the problem.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some common causes of hard disks not being detected by Windows and provide practical solutions to get your data back and your computer up and running again. So, let’s dive right in!

Why Is a Hard Disk Not Detected by Windows?

There are several reasons why a hard disk may not be detected by Windows, including:

  • Connection Issues: First, you might have loose or faulty connections between the hard disk and the computer. This can cause the hard disk not to be detected by the computer.
  • Incorrect BIOS Settings: Another possible issue could be with the BIOS settings. If the hard disk is not set as the primary boot device or enabled in the BIOS settings, the computer may not detect it.
  • Corrupt File System: A corrupted file system or partition table can also cause the hard disk to be undetectable by the operating system. So make sure you keep your file system in tip-top shape!
  • Physical Damage: Some physical damage, like a messed up disk controller, damaged head, or bad sectors, can keep the hard disk hidden.
  • Driver Issues: Corrupted or outdated drivers can make your hard disk go incognito, and the operating system won’t be able to find it.
  • Power Issues: Not enough juice from your power supply or a faulty one can also lead to your hard disk going missing.
  • Virus or Malware: A pesky virus or malware can make your hard disk undetectable.

It’s essential to identify the underlying cause of the issue to determine the best solution for repairing the hard disk.

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Fix 1: Check Hard Drive Cable Connection

The first thing you must do when you have a hard drive problem is to check that all the connections are tight and secure. Sometimes the wires get loose, or even worse; they can get chewed up by those pesky rats! So, before you do anything else, ensure all the cables are correctly connected, and there are no cuts or damage.

Fix 2: Format the Hard Disk 

Maybe the hard disk has corrupt data causing the unrecognized memory. To fix it, why not try formatting the hard drive? That way, all the corrupt data will be wiped out, and the HDD won’t show up anymore. Problem solved!

  1. To access the connected hard drive, click the “This PC” option twice, as depicted in the image below.
  2. Right-click on the hard drive from the list of available options and choose the Format option, as illustrated in the image below.
  3. Once the “Quick Format” window appears, click on the Start button, as seen in the image below, to initiate the formatting process for the hard drive. Format USB

This solution is applicable even when External Hard Disk is detected but doesn’t open up.

Fix 3: Assign A Drive Letter For the Drive

Did you know that sometimes something as simple as a letter assigned to a drive could cause your hard drive not to be detected? It might sound unbelievable, but it’s true!

This is because if there is another drive with the same letter in your system, it might show a new drive title instead of the original one, confusing the system about which file to open. If you’re experiencing this issue, don’t worry! Follow the steps below to change the driver’s letter and get things back on track.

  1. First, press the Windows key + X and select “Disk Management.” Disk Management
  2. Then, right-click on the drive that is not being detected and select “Change Drive Letter and Paths”. 
  3. Next, click “Change” and choose a new letter for the drive. 
  4. Finally, click “OK,” and the drive should now be detected. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Fix 4: Run Hardware And Devices Troubleshooter

Windows has this cool troubleshooter called Hardware and Devices. It helps users quickly locate errors in their hardware devices and troubleshoot them. How convenient, right? 

  1. Tap the “Start” button and then on the “Settings button.”
  2. Click on “Update & security”.
  3. Now, disable all security features that can interfere with the update process. This includes firewalls, antivirus software, and any other security software.
  4. After disabling the security features, click on “Troubleshoot” and then click on “Hardware and Devices”.
  5. Now, click “Run the Troubleshooter” and let it work magic.
  6. Once the troubleshooter detects the problems, don’t apply any fixes. Instead, ignore the problem and continue using your computer normally.

Fix 5: Check For Driver Updates Manually

You can update your system drivers and find the latest updates for drivers through driver updates. Here’s what you gotta do:

  1. Right-tap on the “Windows” icon and then on “Device Manager”.
  2. You’ll see the Device Manager window pop up. Right-tap on each driver one by one and click “Update Driver” to get the latest updates for your drivers.

Fix 6: Install Your Motherboard’s Latest Chipset Drivers

You must update your motherboard’s chipset drivers to get your computer to recognize your hard disk. To start, consult your computer’s documentation, which usually has the motherboard manufacturer’s name.

After identifying the manufacturer’s name, visit the support website of your computer manufacturer to download the correct drivers for your motherboard. If you encounter any difficulties, contact your computer manufacturer for assistance.

Fix 7: Install the Latest Windows Updates

We’ve got a sneaky way to get the latest drivers for your hard drive!

  1. Click the Start button and type “Windows Update” in the Search box. 
  2. Once you’ve found it, select Windows Update in the results pane.
  3. After that, select Check for Updates and let it scan your computer. Check for updates
  4. Once it’s complete, select “Review optional updates”. 
  5. From there, select the check box next to the updates you want and then hit Install updates
  6. If prompted to review the license agreement, select I Accept
  7. Then, follow the instructions to download and then install the updates.
  8. And if you’re prompted to do so, go ahead and reboot your computer!

Fix 8: Uninstall and Then Reconnect the External Hard Drive

Here’s a way to fix that hard disk driver that’s messed up on your computer:

  1. First, right-click Start and find Device Manager; when it pops up, click on it. device manager windows 11 
  2. Next, select Disk Drives from the list of hardware. disk drives
  3. Find the external hard drive that’s giving you trouble, right-click it, and select Uninstall device.uninstall drive
  4. Once that’s done, pull out the cable and wait for a full minute. 
  5. After that, plug the cable back in, and the driver should automatically load up.
  6. If you want to double-check, it worked, peek in Windows Explorer and see if the hard drive is there.

Fix 9: Check BIOS Settings

Follow these steps:

  1. You’re trying to access the BIOS settings. You must restart your computer and press a specific key during startup. But here’s the kicker: the key you must press may vary depending on your computer manufacturer and model.
  2. Once you access the BIOS settings, navigate to the “Boot” or “Storage” section using the arrow keys.
  3. Check if the hard disk is listed as the primary boot device or enabled. If the hard disk is not listed or disabled, you can change the settings accordingly.
  4. If the hard disk is not listed, navigate to the “Boot” section and select “Add Boot Option” or “Add New Device.” Follow the prompts to add the hard disk as a boot option. Then, move the hard disk to the top of the boot priority list by selecting it and pressing the “+” or “-” keys.
  5. Select and smash that Enter key to enable the hard disk in BIOS. After that, use those arrow keys to find the “Enabled” option and press Enter again. Remember to save the changes before bouncing from the BIOS settings.
  6. Exit the BIOS settings by selecting “Save and Exit” or “Exit and Save Changes”.

Once you exit the BIOS settings, your computer will restart. If the complex disk works correctly, it should be detected by Windows during the startup process. However, the hard disk is still not detected by Windows. In that case, there may be a physical problem with the hard disk, and you may need to consult a professional repair service.


It’s frustrating and worrisome when Windows cannot detect a hard disk, especially if valuable data is stored on it. But don’t worry; we’ve covered you with these steps outlined. You can troubleshoot and repair the issue by checking connections and power supply and using disk management tools or data recovery software. And if something else is needed, professional repair services might be necessary. It’s important to remember always to back up your essential data and maintain your hardware to avoid future problems. Prevention is key! We hope this blog has helped you repair your hard disk and reaccess your data.

How can I check if my hard disk is physically damaged?

You can use tools like CrystalDiskInfo or HD Tune to check the health status of your hard disk. If the tool reports any errors or warnings, your hard disk may be physically damaged.

How can I update the drivers for my hard disk?

You can update the drivers for your hard disk by going to the Device Manager in Windows, locating the hard disk, right-clicking on it, and selecting “Update Driver”. 

Can malware infections cause my hard disk not to be detected by Windows?

Yes, some malware infections can damage or corrupt the hard disk’s file system, making it unreadable by Windows. However, running a malware scan using antivirus software may help detect and remove malware infections.

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