Issue: “Hard Disk Drive (HDD) is not detected”

Root Cause:

Above specified checklist is to determine whether the BIOS have detected your hard drive, and to troubleshoot situations where it has not.


Below steps to be followed in order:

Disconnect all the external devices

Remove external devices and removable storage media.

  1. Start the computer. 
  2. Eject/remove all media inserted into Zip drives, floppy drives, CD/DVD drives, card readers, etc. 
  3. Power off the computer. 
  4. Disconnect all external devices except the monitor.

Note: Include the keyboard, mouse, printers, anything connected to the USB ports, anything externally connected to the expansion card ports (except the monitor), speakers, microphones, etc.

  1. Plug the power cord into the computer and press the power button. 
  2. Check the front panel LEDs (lights) found on the front face of the computer, on optical drives, and listen for the power supply fan. 
  3. If LEDs are on or the power supply fan starts spinning, watch for a boot screen on the monitor. 
  4. If computer begins to start, turn off the computer. 
  5. Reconnect each device one at a time, beginning with keyboard and mouse.

 Note: Make sure to power the computer on and off when reconnecting each device.

  1. If computer fails to start after a device is reconnected, this device may be causing the issue. Refer to the manufacturer of that device for assistance.

Disconnecting External Devices: If the computer appears to start normally, one of the devices previously plugged into the computer may have been preventing the system from starting properly.

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Check hard drive settings in BIOS

To check BIOS settings: 

  1. Start the computer.  
  2. Press the F2 or F1 key repeatedly until BIOS Setup Utility Main page is displayed.

 Note: A message is displayed on the screen as to which key should be pressed.

  1. Make sure that the ATA/IDE Mode (or similar setting) is set to Enhanced or Native, not Legacy
  2. Check the Drive Configuration (or similarly named) page, or the Standard CMOS Features page to make sure all hard drives are detected.
  • If all hard drives are listed, exit the BIOS.
  • If all hard drives are not listed, continue troubleshooting.

 Note: If a drive name contains odd characters, size appears to be incorrect, and cannot browse the product name, assume the drive, cable, or port connection is defective. There may have been a read failure associated with one of those components.

  1. If the configuration has more than one hard drive: 
  • Note the port name for each detected hard drive. This information is required to troubleshoot undetected hard drives connected to other ports.
  • Note the name of the first hard drive listed.


**Below specified help involves advance troubleshooting**

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Inspect and reseat cables

Use proper Electrostatic Discharge procedures.

  1. Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord. 
  2. Disconnect everything except the monitor and keyboard. 
  3. Place the computer on a stable work area with the case cover facing up. 
  4. Remove the cover.Find the internal drives. 
  5. Inspect and reseat any cables connected to the drives not detected. 
  • Check for broken connectors on the hard drive, motherboard, and drive cables.
  • Check for bent or broken pins on the hard drive, motherboard, and drive cables.
  • Check cable orientation.
  • Try a different cable, if possible. If the hard drive works with the new cable, the original cable is probably defective. 

Note: Make sure to firmly reseat the data cable connections to the hard drive and motherboard, then the power connection to drive. If the connectors do not firmly reconnect, the damaged component (cable, drive, or motherboard) may need to be replaced.

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The drive cables may have become loose if the desktop had been moved or during the shipping process. Reseating the cables ensure that they are properly connected to both the drives and to the drive connectors on the motherboard.


Test the hard disk drives in another computer.

If available, test the hard drive(s) in another computer.

Testing the hard drive in a different computer eliminates other issues and isolates the issue to the hard drive.


Applies to:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows  Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8/8.1
  • Windows 10


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