If you’ve installed a new solid-state drive (SSD) in your computer but it’s not showing up in BIOS, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to get it to be recognized properly. An SSD not being detected in BIOS is usually due to an improper installation or incorrect BIOS settings.
Make Sure the SSD is Installed Correctly
First, verify that the SSD is seated properly in the motherboard SATA slot. Unplug the power cable and data cable from the SSD, remove it from the bay, and inspect the connectors for any bent or broken pins. Reseat the SSD firmly into the slot, making sure it clicks fully into place. Inspect the SATA data and power cables and make sure they are not damaged and are connected securely.
If it is a desktop computer, you may have to open up the case side panel to access the drive bays and motherboard. For a laptop, you may need to remove the bottom cover to access the internal drive slots and connectors. Consult your computer or motherboard manual for exact removal instructions if needed.
Also, check that you are connecting the SATA data cable to the correct motherboard connector. There is often more than one SATA port, so make sure you are using the correct one for the drive bay the SSD is installed in. The boot drive is typically connected to the primary SATA port labeled SATA0 or SATA1.
In addition, check that you have the power and data cables oriented properly. SATA cables are usually L-shaped with locking connectors that need to be aligned and clicked into place. Make sure the power cable is snapped securely into the back of the SSD and coming from the correct power supply cable or drive bay power connector.
Enable AHCI Mode in BIOS
Many computers still have the SATA storage controller mode set to IDE or RAID in BIOS by default. Most modern SSDs require AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode enabled to be detectable by the BIOS. Here are the steps to enable AHCI mode:
- Restart the computer and press the key to enter BIOS during bootup, usually Delete, F1, F2, or F12.
- Navigate to the “Advanced” tab and look for a setting called “SATA Operation” or “SATA Mode.”
- Change this setting from IDE or RAID to AHCI. The setting may also be called AHCI or Advanced Host Controller Interface.
- Save changes and exit BIOS.
The system will restart and Windows may show a message that new hardware has been detected. Allow Windows to install default AHCI drivers if prompted.
Update BIOS to Latest Version
An outdated motherboard BIOS version can sometimes fail to detect a new SSD, especially NVMe M.2 drives. Check the motherboard manufacturer’s website for the latest available BIOS update. Follow their instructions to flash the BIOS, making sure not to interrupt power during the update process.
A BIOS update will rewrite the programming code of the motherboard BIOS chip. This resets all BIOS settings to default, so you will need to re-enable AHCI mode and any other custom settings again after the update.
Troubleshoot SSD Issues in Windows
If the SSD still isn’t showing up in BIOS, boot into Windows and check if it appears in Disk Management:
- Go to Start and type “disk management” and select Create and format hard disk partitions.
- The Disk Management utility will open. All connected drives will be listed here, including internal and external drives.
- Check if the SSD is shown here unlabeled or as an Unknown drive. If it is, you may just need to initialize it and assign a drive letter.
To initialize the disk:
- Right-click on the disk and select Initialize Disk.
- In the popup, select a partition style – GPT or MBR – and click OK.
- The disk should now show up as a basic disk.
To create a new volume on the disk:
- Right-click on the Unallocated space on the disk.
- Select New Simple Volume and go through the wizard, assigning a drive letter.
- The SSD should now show up in File Explorer with the new drive letter.
If the SSD does not appear anywhere in Disk Management, try these additional troubleshooting steps:
- Use a different SATA cable and port
- Connect the SSD to another computer and see if it is detected
- Update SSD firmware using the manufacturer’s utility
- Clear CMOS to reset BIOS settings to default
- Check for loose power and data connections
- Return SSD if still not detected under warranty replacement
Typical Causes for an SSD Not Showing Up
Here are some of the common reasons an SSD may not be visible in BIOS:
- Loose connector or faulty cable
- Outdated BIOS version
- Incorrect SATA mode – Needs to be changed to AHCI
- Drive not initializing – May need to be initialized in Disk Management
- Dead SSD – Unlikely, but SSD hardware failure is possible
- Incorrect drive orientation or installation
- Disabled SATA port in BIOS
- BIOS settings reset after CMOS clear
How to View the SSD in BIOS
Once the SSD is properly detected, here are the steps to view it in BIOS:
- Reboot the computer and enter BIOS (Delete, F1, F2 etc.)
- Go to the Boot or Advanced tab in BIOS.
- The Boot Order or Boot Priority list should show all detected storage drives.
- The SSD will be listed here along with its model name and size capacity.
- It may be listed as unknown if the disk has not been initialized.
If the SSD is still not listed here after troubleshooting, go back and double-check the connections and installation.
Set Boot Priority to the SSD
Once visible in BIOS, you can prioritize the SSD as the first boot device:
- In the Boot or Advanced tab, go to the Boot Order/Priority list.
- Use the arrow keys to move the SSD to the top of the boot list.
- Press F10 to save changes and exit BIOS.
On the next restart, the system will boot from the SSD first instead of the previous HDD or optical drive.
Initializing an SSD Using Disk Management
If your SSD shows up in Disk Management but not BIOS, it likely needs to be initialized and formatted first:
- Open Disk Management (Right-click Start > Disk Management).
- The SSD will show up as an unknown Disk # with unallocated space.
- Right-click it and select Initialize Disk.
- Select GPT or MBR partition table.
- Right-click the volume space and create a New Simple Volume.
- Follow the prompts to assign a drive letter.
- The SSD will now be accessible in File Explorer.
Initializing the disk writes a fresh partition table and file system to the drive so that Windows can access it. The SSD should now be detectable in BIOS after this.
SSDs are great for boosting overall system performance, but sometimes need a little extra handling to get running smoothly. If your new SSD isn’t being found in BIOS, stay calm and take a methodical approach to troubleshooting:
- Check physical connections and orientation
- Enable AHCI mode in BIOS
- Update the motherboard BIOS
- Initialize the drive in Disk Management
- Adjust boot priority to the SSD
Following these steps will typically get your new SSD showing up properly in BIOS and set as the boot drive. Just be gentle with handling the drive itself and patient during the configuration process.
Some people have resolved most of the above issues by just upgrading the BIOS to the latest version from the motherboard manufacturer. Unfortunately, it seems we are stuck somewhat waiting for BIOS manufacturers to actively add proper NVMe support.
Whatever issue you may be having with BIOS detecting your SSD, the solutions outlined here should help troubleshoot and fix the problem. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips for getting new SSDs properly recognized in BIOS during installation.