SSD not showing up in Windows? Here are some easy fixes

This can be particularly frustrating when you install a new SSD and it doesn’t show up in Windows; especially if it’s a new boot drive and you just want to start installing the operating system. Fortunately, as long as the drive is working properly, getting Windows to recognize it is relatively simple.


  • Check if it is installed correctly
  • Check your BIOS settings
  • Initialize the drive
  • change drive letter
  • Format drive

Here’s the best way to get your SSD to show up in Windows.

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Check if it is installed correctly

I know, you know what you’re doing, but just do this for me, okay? We’ve all forgotten to plug in a SATA cable, or installed an NVMe SSD incorrectly. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

Step 1: If you are installing a SATA SSD, check that the SATA cable is properly connected to the drive and motherboard, and that the drive has a SATA power connector connected to the power supply. When in doubt, unplug the connection and plug it back in.

If you’re installing an NVMe SSD, make sure the slot you’re installing it in supports the drive’s size and type—although older PCI Express generations should support newer PCI Express, but at slower speeds.

Step 2: If you suspect this is the problem, you can also try installing the drive in a different slot on the motherboard and using a different cable in the case of a SATA drive.

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Check your BIOS settings

Your computer may not be set up to recognize the new SSD. Checking UEFI/BIOS is a good way to confirm.

Step 1: Reboot or start the PC, then use the motherboard’s special key to open UEFI/BIOS.For many people this will be F2 or Del, but it can be any range of buttons. Check your manual or manufacturer’s website if you’re not sure.

Step 2: Look for the section on storage or configuration – the contents can vary widely from one BIOS to another. Also, see your manual or manufacturer’s website for help navigating your system’s BIOS.

Step 3: If you are running an older SATA SSD, make sure the SATA configuration is set to HMI. Alternatively, if you have problems with SSD not being recognized by this mode, you can try setting it to Integrated Development Environment or compatibility mode to see if that solves the problem.

Step 4: On some older motherboards, some SATA ports may need to be enabled in the BIOS. Look for any indication that this might be happening to you, and enable the relevant SSD ports if necessary.

Disk management window.
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Initialize the drive

Sometimes, Windows does not recognize a new drive until it is initialized.

Step 1: Select Windows key + xthen select Disk management From the list,

Step 2: Find the new drive. You can search for it by drive letter if you know what it’s supposed to be, but looking at the capacity helps too.

But in reality, if your new drive is not initialized, it will have a black bar at the top of its unallocated space and a small red circle icon next to the drive name.

Step 3: Right-click on the drive and select Initialize the disk.

Step 4: Choose your preferred partition style: MBR or GPT.You will almost certainly need GPT, but choose the one that best suits your needs, and choose OK.

Step 5: Wait for the drive to finish initializing, then right-click on the unallocated space and select new simple roll, Follow the on-screen instructions to create.

Step 6: Your drive should now have space to install apps and store files and other data.

Change the drive letter of your SSD in Windows 11.
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Change drive letter

A conflict between drives could mean that your new SSD won’t be recognized because it doesn’t have its own drive letter. We can change that with a simple fix.

Step 1: Press Windows key + Xthen select Disk management from the list,

Step 2: Right-click on the SSD you want to change the drive letter and select Change drive letter and path.

Step 3: If your drive has a letter, select Change. If not, select Add to.

Step 4: Select the new drive letter from the drop-down menu. If your drive already has a letter, you may also want to delete it – but be aware that this may cause problems with any existing apps or games on the drive.

Step 5: When finished adding, changing, or deleting letters, select OK Finish. Then restart your computer and see if the drive is recognized.

Screenshot of the Disk Management utility used to format an SSD on Windows 10.
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Format drive

The drive may be set so that it cannot be detected. Starting from scratch may be the best way forward.

Step 1: Select Windows key + Xthen select Disk management From the list,

Step 2: Right-click on the drive you are having problems with and select iFormat.

Step 3: Choose the file system you want to use (for most people, it’s NTFS) and choose the default allocation size, unless you have a good reason not to.

Step 4: Check the box Quick format and press OK start.

Step 5: Wait for the formatting to complete, then restart your PC and see if the drive is recognized.

If after doing the above, Windows still doesn’t recognize the drive, you may be facing a hardware issue. Try another drive and see if that works. If so, you may need to replace the original one. Here is our list of the best SSDs of 2023.

Categories: How to

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