How to Fix the Hard Drive Not Detected/Recognized on Windows - Windows Basics


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How to Fix the Hard Drive Not Detected/Recognized on Windows

If you start your PC as usual, but instead of the usual desktop screen, you encounter the "Hard Drive Not Detected" error message on Windows. In some cases, even though your PC may be working, this error can cause a lot of headaches for your workflow.

Although hard drive errors mainly arise due to some hardware malfunction, in some cases, other milder causes can also cause them. Luckily, we have many tips that can be applied in such situations. So, let's jump right in and see all the ways you can fix hard drive error problems on Windows.

1. Erase any newly connected external hard drives

If you've recently connected a new external hard drive to your PC, that can lead to all sorts of problems. Indeed, your hard drive detection error on Windows may be due to that reason. Although plugging external devices into Windows is a common practice for most of us, it can cause us to experience hard drive errors for many reasons: Incompatibility issues, driver conflicts, software errors. hard, etc.

Therefore, in cases like this, the article recommends that you unplug the external hard drive and then plug it back in later.

If your hard drive starts acting up right after you remove the external hard drive, it means there's a problem with the hard drive.

2. Check hardware connection

Like any technical system, sometimes the hardware connections in your PC can malfunction. In the case of a hard drive, loose wires or faulty ports can cause problems with the hard drive connection on your PC.

Therefore, the article recommends that you check all connections to your hard drive. Take a close look and make sure you put everything in its place.

3. Change the format of the drive to NTFS

NTFS is the most preferred format system for Windows computers for many reasons. So, problems can arise for many reasons, especially if your PC is using a format other than NTFS.

In this case, you should format your hard drive to NTFS and see if you still get the "Hard Drive Not Detected" error on your Windows computer.

Additionally, your Windows may also perform well enough on exFat or FAT32 file systems, although they may come with reduced or below-average features. So, if you are using or choose to use one of these file systems, you will not encounter any technical difficulties.

4. Update Windows drivers

Most hard drives do not require or come with a specific type of software. The operating system can easily recognize them on its own. However, software drivers must be installed if you have set up a specific type of hard drive - such as a SATA drive.

Therefore, if there is a problem with the software drivers of such drives, problem drive detection errors of the type you are experiencing may appear. So reinstalling or updating your drive driver on Windows is worth a try in cases like this.

Similarly, the PC motherboard also needs drivers to operate. So check it out while you're at it and see if you still get the same error.

5. Check for drive errors on your PC

Drive errors on Windows can seem to appear unexpectedly. They can appear for many reasons: Bad sectors on the hard drive, file system corruption, many types of hardware problems, etc.

So if you're experiencing a sudden drive error, a quick CHKDSK scan is worth a try to get your things back on track again. See how to run CHKDSK on Windows: 

1. To use the CHKDSK command, open an elevated Command Prompt window by hitting Win + S and typing cmd. Then, right-click on the relevant result and select Run as administrator.

2. In Command Prompt, type chkdsk /r [drive letter] and press enter. Replace [drive letter] with the drive letter of the drive that you want to scan.

Note: The scan takes a long time to finish and may appear to get stuck on occasion. However, it's best to let CHKDSK finish its job uninterrupted, so let it do its work. 

Now, restart your PC to consolidate the changes and see if you still get the hard drive detected error on Windows.

6. Use the Disk Management tool

Disk Management tool, as its name suggests, is a tool that can manage everything related to partitions on your hard drive. From creating and deleting to editing and more- this tool can do it all.

1. Go to the search bar in the Start menu, type run and select the most relevant result. In the Run dialog box, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter.

2. The Disk Management tool will be launched. As you can see on the tool's main menu below, you will have a quick overview of all the hard drives connected to your PC.

If your hard drive(s) show up, there are a few things you can try to get things back to the way they were: Allocate a complete partition or format an existing partition.

Allocate 'Unallocated' partition (volume)

Most hard drives divide their total storage capacity into smaller parts called partitions. So if you are using multiple drives, you must allocate some drive space to the partition for it to function properly.

However, if no space is allocated to the partition, problems such as "Hard Drive Not Detected" will definitely occur. So, allocate some space to your drive and see if that fixes your problem. Here's how:

1. Click on the drive and right-click on the unallocated area (it will have a black mark instead of the blue that the main partition contains).

2. Select New Simple Volume and click Next to continue with the wizard.

3. Set the allocated capacity or select the default size and click Next.

4. Continue following the on-screen instructions and select the Do Not format this volume setting when it appears. Then, click Next.

5. Click Finish to complete the setup and then see if you still get hard drive errors.

Format the allocated partition

Consider this only as a last resort, as you will lose all previous data from the selected drive. To start formatting, right-click the partition and select Format.

In the new Format dialog box, click OK to begin formatting.

Follow the remaining on-screen instructions and your partition will be wiped clean in a few minutes. If your hard drive detection error is actually due to a damaged partition, this error will disappear at the end of the formatting process.

Fix hard drive detection problems on your Windows

In most cases, one of the methods we listed above will fix your hard drive detection problem. Just follow the steps to the letter and you should be able to do it from a few seconds to a few minutes.

However, if none of these methods work for you, it's best to seek professional help. Go to your nearest technology center or service store and have your hard drive or PC checked.

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