If your hard drive does not show up in BIOS of the computer, it will not be visible to Windows. There are several scenarios for this type of problem and we will try to address some of these along with their resolution. Unfortunately, hard drives are a commodity and need to be treated as such. If you have a hard drive running in your computer it is only a matter of time before it fails.
However, if you purchase a new drive, it should show up in the BIOS. If the hard drive does not show up in BIOS, gather as much information about your PC as you can and write it down. Such as the model and manufacturer of the drive, the manufacturer of the computer or motherboard, and the BIOS manufacturer as well as the version. The latter can often be found splashed across the screen when you first boot the PC.
New Hard Drive Does Not Show Up In BIOS
The very first thing to check are the jumpers if you have an IDE drive. An IDE cable can support two devices, one as a Primary and one as a Secondary. These are sometimes referred to as Master and Slave. The jumper pins on the back of the drive should be set to Master for the Primary and Slave for the Secondary. There is also a jumper for Cable Select which recognizes the drives based on their location on the cable. For simplicity, stick with the Master and Slave setup. If you have a SATA drive, you do not need to worry about jumpers.
If the jumpers are correct, but the new drive is still not showing up, go into the BIOS setup and make sure the drive detection is set to AUTO. If this doesn’t work, you can try going to the manufacturer’s website and get the breakdown of Sectors, Cylinders, etc and manually input the figures. But if it doesn’t auto-detect the drive, it probably will not detect it manually, either.
The next step in this case is to flash the BIOS. Check the motherboard or computer manufacturer for a newer version. Firmware updates will often correct this type of issue as well as improve the current functionality of your hardware.
Older Hard Drive Does Not Show Up In BIOS
If you had an existing drive and it and hard drive does not show up in BIOS anymore, the drive is probably dead. You can try changing cables and trying a different power connector, but if the drive worked and then no longer works, this likely means the drive has failed. Drives can stop working due to an electrical or mechanical problem. A mechanical problem with the hard drive usually manifests itself in grinding or squeaking noises, random crashes or data loss. Electrical problems can happen instantly, without warning.
Drive Shows Up In BIOS But Not In Windows
This is the more typical scenario. If the drive does report properly in BIOS, but not in Windows, then the drive has lost its partitioning. You can try right-clicking My Computer, select Manage and look for the Disk Management section. From here, you can partition and format the drive. If the drive had data on it that you want to try and recover, we recommend NOT trying to partition or reformat the drive, as this data can be lost forever. Instead, run file recovery software to attempt to recover the data first.
Popular Hard Drive Utilities
Try hard drive utilities such as Seatools for Seagate drives and Western Digital Data Lifeguard for WD drives. They can help you diagnose problems, copy files, and perform partitioning and formatting functions for those specific models.
If you have questions why a hard drive does not show up in BIOS or in Windows, join our forums or read our other hardware tutorials for more information.