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A computer doesn't show an SSD in Windows and BIOS

Author: Vlad Brown

Data recovery specialist, guest author, journalist.

Updated on 02/14/2020

An SSD has increased read and write speeds compared to an HDD and due to this it's used as a replacement of outdated hardware a lot. But often after its installation some users encounter the following problem: their computers can't recognize the new SSD. 

Why does this happen and how to fix this issue on your own? Let's talk about the reasons why your computer may not want to display the new or previously used drives.

The contents:

  1. An SSD drive is disconnected
  2. Assigning a letter to an SSD
  3. Creating disk partitions
  4. Hidden partitions
  5. Its file system isn't supported
  6. Problems with BIOS and hardware
  7. Problems with an SSD drive (OS conflict)

Reason #1. Your SSD drive hasn't been initialized

After buying and installing an SSD drive you have to prepare it for further usage.  In some cases, if a drive is marked correctly and ready for operation, there is no need to perform any actions. But if you don't launch the process of initialization, Windows 10 might not recognize your SSD. 

This case shouldn't be applied to the devices already storing anything. Since it will lead to the deletion of all the data (try resolving the problem via any troubleshooting tool).

So here is a mini-manual on how to initialize an SSD:

  1. Go to Computer Management: Start > Run > compmgmt.msc (you can also launch the program via Windows search bar. It can be run only with administrator rights (you can enter this mode via the context menu). 
  2. Find Disk Management in the sidebar and open it;
  3. Hover over the SSD disk space which can't be identified as a file volume in the system. Right-click it and select Initialize. 
  4. Click "OK". Wait until the process is finished. If successful, your SSD will be mounted together with other devices. 
  5. Check in My computer whether it can be detected now.

If an error occurs again, it means that your OS can't recognize this SSD for other reasons: it lacks a valid signature, has connection or hardware problems and so on.

Reason #2. A drive lacking an assigned letter

Each drive and removable device is assigned a unique letter (B, D, C, etc.) after being initialized. The absence of it might be one of the reasons why your computer can't properly display an SSD along with other drives. 

In order to fix the error, follow these steps: 

  1. Go back to Disk Management.
  2. Right-click on the SSD you need.
  3. Select from the drop-down menu: "Change the drive letter or drive path...". 
  4. Put the required symbol and choose "OK" to accept the changes.

This step should be done right after the process of initialization since skipping it might lead to the switching off of the "Change the drive letter or drive path" command. If everything is fine, but you still can't add the letter, contact your computer manufacturer or turn to Microsoft Technical Support.

NB! If a problem similar to the one when your computer doesn't see an SSD follows the installation of Windows OS or any software on this particular SSD – avoid changing the letter since doing it might make the problem more complicated to solve. Windows may not boot or work properly.

Reason #3: No partitions on an SSD

Your SSD may not be marked. You can create a new partition to check whether this is the reason why your laptop or PC doesn't see the SSD. In order to do this you have to:

  1. Log in as an administrator;
  2. Make sure that the disk has enough free or unallocated space on the secondary partition.
  3. Go to Disk Management (Win + R > diskmgmt.msc > Enter). 
  4. In the drives list find the SSD you need and click the corresponding line. 
  5. Right-click on the unallocated area and choose "Create a volume". 
  6. The partition generation wizard will start. Follow the prompts and specify the size and letter of the drive, also remember to format the volume. 
  7. Complete the procedure by clicking "Done". 
  8. Check if the SSD can be detected now.

Reason #4: presence of a hidden partition

Another reason why your computer may not see an SSD in Windows 10 or other OS is the presence of a hidden partition. This could happen due to the user's fault or a software error occurring after the change of the SSD layout. 

Method 1

You can make a partition visible as follows:

  1. Go to Windows Disk Management. 
  2. Right-click the hidden partition and choose "Enable".
  3. Check if the drive appears now in Explorer.

Method 2

Kerish Doctor has a wide range of features needed to correct Windows system errors. It can make changes which are unavailable for an average user. Let's use this utility to make an SSD visible: 

  1. Download Kerish Doctor software from its official website (by selecting the version required for your Windows OS)
  2. Install and run the program with administrator rights. 
  3. Go to Maintenance > Solving PC problems.
  4. Choose "Local drives are not displayed" or "Windows does not react to connection of the new device"
  5. Click "Repair". Wait until the process is finished. 

Reason #5: The file system (RAW) isn't supported by Windows

An SSD may have an incompatible file system, and in such case all Windows attempts to read it will fail. The error is usually accompanied by the following messages: "Format the drive for usage", "File system isn't recognized", etc. 

The problem occurs both with new drives and those that have already been in active use. In the latter case, system failures which can also occur due to PC malfunction can be the main reason for incompatibility.

There are two ways you can deal with this problem. 

SSD formatting

  1. If you've just purchased your SSD, simply format it. Here is a manual on how to format an HDD.
  2. Do the same with the disk you use (or its partition), but make sure that there is no valuable data stored there.

How to format an SSD: 

  1. Go to Windows Disk Management.
  2. Right-click the partition or drive marked RAW in the File system column. 
  3. Select "Format".
  4. Set a new label and system –NTFS.
  5. Confirm the formatting by clicking "OK"

Checking an SSD for errors

  1. Simultaneously press and hold WIN + X.
  2. Enter the following command: a chkdsk: /f, where a is the drive letter, which you have to find out and specify. 
  3. Press "Enter" and wait for the process to complete.

Manual: How to check a drive for errors

Reason #6: BIOS and hardware issues

Unfortunately another reason why an SSD may be invisible is rarely remembered. Checklist for fixing the problem:

  1. Carefully inspect the connection pins between your SSD and PC. 
  2. Pay attention to the jumpers' condition also as they may be deformed. If they are undamaged, rub them with a cloth soaked in alcohol and try again. 
  3. If it doesn't work out, check the circuit: if it fits loosely, replace it with another one or try to fix the connection. 
  4. Slightly lift the disk by holding it at a little anglewise.

Reason #7. Problems with an SSD drive (OS conflict)

Driver problems aren't a common problem for an SSD, since Windows 10 supports most modern devices and hardware conflicts are quite rare. 

However, the possibility of a driver error shouldn't be completely excluded from the list. If it's your case, give a try to fixing it via your OS. 

  1. Open Device Manager via the context menu button “Start”. Another method is to use the keyboard shortcut Win + R > Run > devmgmt.msc > Enter. 
  2. Double-click "Disk drives". All storage devices connected to your PC are listed there. The faulty SSD will be displayed with a yellow icon. 
  3. Remove this SSD driver from the context menu by selecting "Uninstall"
  4. Restart Windows OS. Alternatively, you can use Update driver from the SSD Drive context menu. 
  5. Check the driver status via Disk drives.