Why wont my computer Recognise my new SSD?

When installing a new solid state drive (SSD), you may find that your computer does not recognize or detect the new drive. There are several potential reasons why your computer may not detect the SSD.

Quick Overview

Here is a quick overview of some common reasons why your computer may not recognize a new SSD:

  • Drive not properly seated in motherboard slot
  • Faulty SATA cable connection
  • Incorrect SSD drive orientation/upside down
  • Drive not initialized and formatted
  • Outdated motherboard drivers and firmware
  • Disabled SATA controller in BIOS
  • Incompatible SSD type for motherboard
  • Damaged or faulty SSD

Carefully checking these potential issues can help troubleshoot and fix the problem of an undetected SSD. The solutions usually involve re-seating connections, updating drivers, initializing the disk, or replacing cables/drive as needed.

Making Sure the SSD is Properly Seated

One of the first things to check is whether the SSD is properly seated in the motherboard SATA slot. SSDs plug into the motherboard using SATA ports and cables, similar to hard disk drives. If the SSD is not fully inserted into the SATA slot, the computer will not detect it.

Follow these steps to ensure the SSD is properly seated:

  1. Power off the computer and unplug all cables.
  2. Open the computer case and locate the SATA ports on the motherboard.
  3. Look for an empty SATA port to connect the new SSD. Refer to the motherboard manual to identify SATA ports if unsure.
  4. Carefully insert the SSD into the open SATA port, making sure the connectors are fully inserted.
  5. Check that the SSD clicks into place and is firmly seated in the SATA slot.
  6. Reconnect cables and power on the computer to see if the SSD is now detected.

If the drive is still not recognized, there could be a problem with the SATA cable connections.

Checking SATA Cable Connections

Loose, damaged, or faulty SATA cables can cause issues with disk detection in a computer. Check the following cable connections to rule out any problems:

  • Data cable – Make sure a working SATA data cable is securely connected between the SSD and motherboard SATA port. Try swapping with another known good SATA cable if possible.
  • Power cable – Confirm a working SATA power cable is connected from the power supply to the SSD. Try connecting to a different power cable or SATA power port on the PSU.
  • Connections – Listen and feel for a firm click when connecting data and power cables to the SSD. This ensures a tight fit.
  • Cable damage – Inspect cables for any bent pins or obvious damage that could cause issues. Replace damaged cables.

Reconnecting both the data and power cables can often resolve problems of an SSD not being detected due to connection problems.

SSD Orientation and Insertion

It is vital that the SSD is inserted in the proper orientation into the SATA slot. A backwards or upside down insertion can prevent the disk from being detected and damage connections.

When inserting the SSD, make sure the connector points are aligned correctly between the SSD and SATA slot. The connectors must mate properly. It may help to look closely at the SATA slot and SSD to identify the orientation notches that indicate the correct alignment.

If the SSD was inserted upside down, power off the system, remove the disk, and very carefully re-insert it in the proper orientation. Boot up the system to see if the SSD is now properly recognized.

Initializing and Formatting the SSD

After the physical connections have been verified, the next step is to initialize and format the SSD through Windows Disk Management. This sets up the drive file system so Windows can access and detect it.

Follow these instructions to initialize and format a new SSD:

  1. Open the Windows Disk Management tool (press Windows+R and type diskmgmt.msc).
  2. Locate the new SSD which may be shown as an Unknown disk with unallocated space.
  3. Right click the SSD and select Initialize Disk.
  4. Select a partition style such as GPT or MBR depending on your system.
  5. Right click the volume space and select New Simple Volume.
  6. Go through the formatter wizard to create a new volume.
  7. Select file system (NTFS recommended), assign drive letter, and name the volume.
  8. Allow the formatting process to complete.

After completing the initialization and format, the SSD should show up with its designated drive letter and volume name. The disk capacity will also be shown as available indicating the SSD is now detected by Windows.

Updating Drivers and Firmware

Outdated motherboard drivers, SATA controller drivers, SSD firmware and BIOS can also contribute to SSD detection issues. It is recommended to update these components to the latest stable versions after installing a new SSD:

  • Motherboard Drivers – Download and install the latest SATA, chipset and other drivers for your motherboard from the manufacturer website.
  • SSD Firmware – Find and install firmware updates specifically for your SSD model from the manufacturer website.
  • BIOS – A newer BIOS version may add SSD compatibility or resolve bugs. Check the motherboard website for a BIOS update.

After updating these critical components to their latest versions, boot into Windows and check if the SSD is now being detected properly.

Enabling SATA Controllers in BIOS

In some cases, an SSD is installed but not detected due to disabled SATA controller ports in the motherboard BIOS settings. This can prevent communication between the SSD and operating system.

Enter the system BIOS setup menu on boot to check that SATA controllers are enabled:

  1. Reboot the computer and press the BIOS key on startup (F2, Delete, F10, etc). This enters the BIOS setup screen.
  2. Navigate to advanced settings and locate the SATA Controller configuration.
  3. Ensure the SATA slots being used for the SSD are enabled and set to AHCI mode ideally.
  4. Save changes and exit BIOS to reboot.

The SSD should now be detected after enabling the associated SATA ports in BIOS. AHCI mode also allows full performance and capability of solid state drives.

Verifying SSD Compatibility

Not all SSDs are necessarily compatible with all motherboards and systems. There are some considerations around SSD compatibility:

  • Form Factor – Confirm the SSD form factor (2.5 inch or M.2) is supported by your motherboard SATA ports or M.2 slots.
  • Interface – Make sure the SSD interface (SATA/AHCI or NVMe) is compatible with the system/motherboard capabilities.
  • Bandwidth – Faster SSDs may be limited by older SATA ports and require PCIe NVMe slots for full speed.

Consult your motherboard manual or specifications to verify the SSD technology is supported. An incompatible SSD may fail to be detected or operate correctly when installed.

SSD Failure or Damage

If you have ruled out connection issues, configuration problems, incompatibility and other errors, then the SSD itself may be faulty or damaged. Some signs of a faulty or failed SSD include:

  • SSD is totally undetected in BIOS and operating system
  • Detected in BIOS but not visible in Disk Management
  • Disk errors, slow performance, corruption issues
  • BSOD errors mentioning the SSD
  • Overheating, burnt smell, visible damage to SSD case

A qualified repair shop can test the SSD using diagnostics tools to confirm if it is functional or faulty. However, a damaged SSD may need to be replaced under warranty or with a new unit.


While frustrating, there are multiple troubleshooting steps you can take to get an unrecognized SSD working properly. Carefully check the physical connections, update firmware and drivers, initialize/format the disk in the OS, enable controllers in BIOS and verify compatibility. If issues persist, the SSD itself may need to be replaced due to hardware failure or damage. Following methodical troubleshooting and elimination steps can help narrow down and resolve the SSD detection issue.

Quick Troubleshooting for Unrecognized SSDs
Reseat SSD in SATA slot
Inspect SATA cables and connections
Check SSD inserted correctly oriented
Initialize and format SSD in Disk Management
Update SSD firmware, motherboard drivers, BIOS
Enable SATA ports in BIOS
Verify SSD compatibility with system
Test or replace potentially faulty SSD

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my SSD not showing up in Windows Explorer or Disk Management?

If an SSD is connected but not showing up, it likely needs to be initialized and formatted first in Disk Management before it will appear in Windows Explorer. Powering off and reseating connections can help if the drive is not visible at all.

How can I tell if my motherboard is compatible with an SSD?

Consult the motherboard manual or look up the specifications online to verify it supports SATA or M.2 connections compatible with the SSD. Contact the manufacturer if uncertain about compatibility.

Should I update motherboard drivers before installing an SSD?

Yes, it is recommended to update chipset, SATA controller and other motherboard drivers beforehand to the latest stable versions. Newer drivers have better compatibility and performance with SSDs.

Why is my SSD detected in BIOS but not showing up in Windows?

If visible in BIOS but not Windows, the SSD likely needs to be initialized and formatted through Disk Management first before it will mount in Windows and get a drive letter. This sets up the required file system.

Do I need to enable AHCI mode in BIOS for my SSD?

Enabling AHCI mode is strongly recommended as it allows SSDs to operate in full performance mode. The instructions should be in the motherboard manual on switching AHCI on in BIOS.