Solid state drives (SSDs) are becoming increasingly popular for use in computers due to their fast speeds and reliability. However, sometimes an SSD may not be detected by the computer on startup. There are several reasons why this can occur and a few ways to troubleshoot and fix the issue.
Here is a quick overview of the main methods to check if your SSD is detected:
- Check Disk Management – Open the Disk Management utility and look for the SSD listed.
- Check Device Manager – Open the Device Manager, expand the disk drives category and look for the SSD.
- Check BIOS – Enter the BIOS on startup and look for the SSD in the boot order or drive list.
- Check File Explorer – Open File Explorer and look for the SSD under My Computer or This PC.
- Check DiskPart – Open the command prompt, use the DiskPart tool and list disks to view attached drives.
If the SSD is not showing up in any of these places, it likely means there is an issue being detected. Some troubleshooting steps include checking connections, updating drivers, changing ports/cables, re-seating the drive and configuring the BIOS. Read on for more details on these methods.
Check Disk Management Utility
The easiest way to check if your SSD is being detected is to open the Disk Management utility on your Windows computer. To open Disk Management:
- Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
- Type “diskmgmt.msc” and click OK to launch the Disk Management utility.
This will open the Disk Management tool that shows all connected hard drives and devices. Any SSD connected to your computer should be listed here. Look for a disk with the layout showing the partitions, such as System Reserved, Primary and Healthy. If you don’t see your SSD listed here, then your computer is not detecting it.
What to Look For
When viewing the list of disks in Disk Management, you will want to look for the following to identify your SSD:
- Disk capacity – The total size of the SSD, such as 240GB or 500GB.
- Partition style – An SSD will likely show multiple partitions like System Reserved, Primary and Healthy.
- Thin horizontal bar – Signifies an SSD versus a mechanical hard drive.
- No drive letter – An SSD without a drive letter has not been initialized.
If you don’t see any disk with the expected capacity of your SSD, then it is not being detected properly. You will need to troubleshoot further.
Initialize a New SSD
For brand new SSDs that have not been initialized and formatted yet, they will show up as an Unknown and Not Initialized disk. To use a new SSD, you will need to:
- Right click on the disk and choose Initialize Disk.
- Select a partition style – MBR or GPT. GPT is optimal for SSDs.
- Right click the Unallocated space and create a New Simple Volume.
- Follow the steps to initialize and format the volume.
Once complete, the SSD should show up as a Healthy Partition with a drive letter assigned.
Check in Device Manager
You can also check if your SSD is showing up in Device Manager on Windows:
- Open the Start menu and search for “Device Manager” and launch it.
- Expand the Disk drives category.
- Look for an entry for your SSD’s make and model.
This will show all connected disk drives. If you see your SSD listed, then it is being detected properly. Note that if the SSD has partitions on it, the partitions will not show up here, only the physical SSD device itself.
If it is not showing, try scanning for hardware changes by right clicking on Disk Drives and selecting “Scan for hardware changes.” If it still does not show, the SSD is likely not being detected.
If the SSD is showing up in Device Manager but has a warning icon next to it, this typically means outdated or missing drivers. To update drivers:
- Right click on the SSD and choose Update driver.
- Search automatically for updated driver software.
- Or browse your computer for the driver installation files.
- Restart your computer after installing updated drivers.
Updating drivers will often resolve detection issues with SSDs and other hardware. Be sure you have the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website or Windows Update.
Check BIOS Settings
Issues with SSD detection can also be related to the BIOS settings on your computer. Check in the BIOS for the following:
- Make sure the SATA operation mode is set to AHCI for best performance with an SSD.
- Confirm the boot order list shows the SSD.
- See if the SSD is shown on the Drive Information page.
- Check that CSM/Legacy mode is disabled on UEFI systems.
If the SSD is not showing up in the BIOS, it indicates a hardware detection issue. If it is there but not bootable, you may need to rearrange boot order or change configurations.
To access the BIOS settings menu:
- Restart your computer.
- Press the BIOS key during the initial start – often Delete, F1, F2, F10 or F12.
- Navigate to the various BIOS submenus.
- Make changes and Save and Exit.
Refer to your computer or motherboard manual for the exact BIOS key and menus. Make sure any settings changes match the recommendations for proper SSD use and compatibility.
Check in File Explorer
Another way to confirm if your SSD is detected is by checking in File Explorer on Windows:
- Open File Explorer on your computer.
- Click on This PC on the left side panel.
- Look under Devices and Drives for your SSD.
All connected storage drives should be listed here. If you don’t see your SSD shown, even though you know it is properly connected via a SATA cable and power cable, the computer is not detecting it.
If using your SSD in an external USB enclosure, look for it under External devices instead of under Devices and Drives. The same applies to internal SSDs connected via USB adapter. If not there, try a different USB port, cable or enclosure.
Use DiskPart in Command Prompt
DiskPart is a command line tool that can provide information about connected drives. To use it to check for proper SSD detection:
- Open a Command Prompt window as Administrator.
- Type “diskpart” and press Enter.
- Type “list disk” to show all connected drives.
- Look for your SSD based on capacity size.
If the SSD is listed here, then it is being properly detected. This provides a simple way to check from the command line. If it doesn’t show, there is likely a hardware detection issue.
If your SSD is still not being detected in Windows after checking all the above, here are some troubleshooting steps:
- Try a different SATA cable – Faulty cables are a common cause of detection issues.
- Change SATA ports – Use a different SATA port on the motherboard.
- Check drive power cables – Reconnect power cables or try a new cable.
- Update motherboard drivers – Outdated drivers may prevent drive detection.
- Re-seat the SSD – Remove and reinsert the SSD to make a better connection.
- Reset BIOS – Reset BIOS to default settings in case of a misconfiguration.
Additionally, you can try connecting the SSD externally using a SATA to USB adapter or enclosure. If the SSD is then detected externally, it indicates an internal computer issue. If still not detected externally, then the SSD itself likely has a hardware fault.
SSD Not Detected – Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions related to SSDs not being detected:
Why is my new SSD not showing up?
Brand new SSDs need to be initialized and formatted first before being detected in Windows. Open Disk Management and initialize the disk, create a new volume, and assign a drive letter. The SSD should then appear in File Explorer.
What to do if SSD not detected in BIOS?
If an SSD is not showing up in the BIOS, there is likely a hardware connectivity problem. Check that the SATA data and power cables are properly plugged in. Try different SATA ports and cables. Also reset BIOS to default settings.
How can I tell if SSD is compatible with my PC?
Most modern SSDs use the SATA interface and are compatible with most PCs that have SATA ports. The SSD specs will indicate compatibility. Watch for the form factor, interface type and physical size to match your computer.
Why is my external SSD not detected?
With external SSDs, try different USB ports, cables, enclosures and computers to isolate the issue. Update USB and chipset drivers as well. If still not detected on any computer, the SSD itself likely has a fault.
What causes SSD not to be detected?
Common causes for SSDs not being detected include faulty SATA cables, loose connections, outdated drivers, incorrect BIOS settings, or hardware failure of the drive itself. Trying different cables, ports, adapters and computers can isolate the cause.
Troubleshooting an undetected SSD first involves checking Disk Management, Device Manager, BIOS and File Explorer to see if the drive appears. If not showing up, reconnect SATA cables, try different ports, re-seat the drive, update drivers and reset BIOS. If still undetected or showing errors, the SSD itself may be defective and need replacing.
Using an external enclosure to connect the SSD to another computer can determine if the issue is internal or with the drive itself. Proper SSD detection is key for accessing and storing data on these high performance drives.