Windows 7 SATA Hard Drive Not Showing

Today, I noticed my first problem with Windows 7. A weird bug.

This evening I added a new SATA 640GB hard drive to Tammy’s new Dell SX8000 (commonly known as XPS 8000 ) machine and the drive appeared fine in BIOS.

However, when I booted into Windows 7, the normal process of formatting the drive wasn’t working. That is, going into Computer Management then Disk Management. Usually, the unpartitioned drive will appear here. It didn’t! After several reboots, complete shutdowns, nothing worked.

So, taking the advice of others who suggested using a Linux CD to partition the drive, I instead used a Windows 7 setup CD and booted from that. From there I went ahead and partitioned and formatted the drive without issue.

Great! Well, I thought. I booted back into Windows 7 exiting Windows 7 setup CD and discovered the drive still would not appear. Ugh. So the troubleshooting began.

The answer:

Start -> Right Click Computer -> Properties
Device Manager (on left side)
Click the Disk Drives arrow to show the list
Find Your Drive You Installed Here
Right Click on the Drive -> Uninstall
After the SATA HDD disappears, click the Action menu -> Scan For Hardware Changes

This will rescan your system and reinstall your SATA HDD drivers.

After I did this, the formatted drive letters appeared for me under “Computer” because I had already partitioned and formatted the drive in the Windows 7 setup CD. For most others, you’ll just need to go back into Disk Management where you SHOULD discover the drive now where you can partition and setup the drive like normal.

Let me know if this helps.

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  1. This worked a treat for me, thanks very much. I just couldn’t work out why Windows 7 wouldn’t find my new hard drive before I found this post.
    Best wishes

  2. thanks scott.

    for me, I installed win7 on a 1tb, and i had a second 1tb drive for my files
    i messed up win7 trying to enable AHCI, so I ended up reinstalling it again, and then enabling it after using intel AHCI drivers (iata89enu.exe)

    win7 sees both drives in Disk Management, but only the windows drive is visible in My Computer. The second one is partitioned and formatted, so then i found your blog…

    heres what i did:

    I unplugged the drive.
    Then I opened up Device Manager and Uninstalled it.
    I had both drives connected when installing win7, so I guess it put the MBR on the other drive.

    after some googling, I found out that win7 makes a 100MB partition for boot files. and it doesnt let you chose where. Because I had both drives connected when I installed, it but the boot files on the storage drive.

    still unplugged, I inserted the Win7 DVD and I repaired the installation. It immediatly detected the boot files error and all I did was click “repair and restart”

    still gave the error. after some more reading, I found out I was kinda right… only your primary drive should be connected during install, otherwise it writes the bootmgr to the other ones

    back to installing for the 3rd time today ๐Ÿ™

  3. thanks for your help.
    it’s interesting that i found the solution here not from the MS website.
    best wishes.

  4. Hi all,

    My Desktop model is Intels D102GGC2
    2 GB RAm
    SATA Drive 250 GB
    IDE 40 GB

    Problem: I have 2 hdd IDE and SATA, i had installed WIN Xp(32 bit) in IDE and win 7 64 bit in SATA, every thing went smooth and i installed win 7 64 bit in my sata. the probelm in whenever i reboot my OS is randomly loaded some time win XP some time WIN 7 for fixing this i edited the MBR it with paragon boot master and given win 7 as my default os but after doing that my MBR got corrupted or dont know what happened. my sata drive is not showing up( even in Xp mode) and win 7 is not loading, if i dis connect my sata drive xp is booting up but when i connect the sata drive, the XP OS loading is hanging in the OS screen, dont know what happened.

    Fixes i tried:
    i reinstalled win Xp in my IDE and updated the BIOS (Flashed).
    but still my sata is not showing up same problem OS getting hanged when i connect sata. but in BIOS both the hdd is showing up. i even tried to repair it with the installation disk (win 7 64bit) after disconnecting the IDE, the files are getting copied but there is no hard drive found in win 7 installation(in the presence of SATA drive some thing like bootx and file size is displayed). please help me to recover the data as all my data is in the sata drive. simply the disk is not showing up i tried in all the 4 sata ports in the mother board but still no progress. now only my IDE is working. is there any conflict between 2 hdd as i have installed win xp32 bit in IDE and win 7 64bit in SATA.


  5. It didn’t work for me. I’m running Vista business edition and installed a 2nd SATA 1T drive. What shall I do now?

  6. I am struggling with the following more or less similar issue:
    – Placed a 2 years old WD 500 Gb SATA hard drive as second hard drive in my brand new Dell desktop, using a brand new SATA data cable
    – BIOS recognized the second drive
    – Windows 7 is not recognizing the second drive, not in Disk Management, not in any control tool
    – Windows 7 takes 5 minutes to start, while with the original configuration (only one hard drive) Windows 7 starts within 15 seconds!

    Who has the solution for me so that Windows 7 does recognize the second hard drive?
    One post on the Internet suggests to use XP to format the drive, not really attractive route so exploring for other options.

    – Dell Inspiron 545 with Windows 7
    – Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8300 @ 2.50GHz, 2498 MHz
    – 1 Tb primary hard drive
    – second hard drive: Western Digital WD5000AAVS, WD Cavier GP, note: this drive comes from faulty WD MyBook World external drive, warranty expired, did not backup all data so need to recover this in one way or another (professional recovery services รขโ€šยฌ800/$1100, too expensive)

  7. thanks alot!!! i have been trying to figure this out for weeks i finally gave up then tonight i was reading through blogs and seen this so i thought well hey mise well give it a try and it worked! im still haveing a problem formatting it but hey atleast it comes up now

  8. Thank you. After countless google searches, forum, and blog browses I landed here. “Scan For Hardware Changes” just saved my life.

    Thanks again.

    ps: I’m using Vista, not Win7. So all I had to do was hit that Scan For Hardware Changes and the new drive showed it’s face, and I was able to initialize and partition it in the Disk Management. (though to be fair, I had been fiddling around with things for a while (see: countless google, foru.. blah blah) so I might have altered something during that time.

  9. I have a similar problem. My Maxtor DiamondMax10 200GB is recognized in the BIOS but missing in Windows 7 after boot up. When I do “Scan for hardware changes”, it’s immediately found and accessible. But after reboot it’s gone again. Anyone knows how to solve it? I’m using AHCI driver from Microsoft. All my other HDDs/SSD are detected with no problems. Or could it be a firmware problem of this (older) HDD?


  10. I was hoping this would be my answer too. Not so.
    I added a second SATA drive. BIOS see’s a device but doesn’t capture any details. XP (Device Mgr and Disk Management) neither see the
    drive. I’d tried scanning for new hardware, Add Hardware, booting from setup disk. Also tried changing SATA ports on the MB. Nothing.
    Anyone have any other ideas?

  11. I tried most all of what I have read so far. My 500gb internal sata hd worked till recently it stopped working. It displays correctly in bios but not in windows explorer or disk management. I have important stuff on this non accessible hd and now realize I do not really have it backed up. The 500mb hd is Magnetic Technologies. I ordered another 500 gb Western Digital hd and will buy a usb external sata enclosure tonight. Hope that allows it to work. If that does not work I am considering professional data recovery.

  12. Using a USB hard drive enclosure worked on the Magnetic Technologies hard drive, I was able to copy the files to the new Sata WD hard drive which worked fine. The old Hard drive said it had 38gb free space of 465gb, but looking at the files it seemed less than half full and windows was unable to finish checking the drive for errors so I assume it was a bad hard drive.

  13. I had this problem. After uninstalling & rescanning as described above, drive still did not show up in Win, but tit does in BIOS.

    Going into Computer Mgmt > Device Mgr, the drive showed but had no letters. I assigned letters & then everything was fine.

  14. Hey same initial problem, however when I scan it it comes up as additional devices as a “WD SES Device USB Device” and will not recognize or install any drivers. WD tells me i need to reinstall win 7 but I dont want to do that since my cd is states away from me right now. Any thoughts?

  15. I got a big deal ….. Same problem but I have Important files On my Hdd so i need to back it up before format it i really need help i got more than 300gb of Important files Heeeeelllppppp

  16. Great help, guys. This morning my HP Media Centre PC (Model # M7250N) started telling me that it could not detect my Samsung HD753LJ SATA HDD that has been running fine for over 2 years!! I used various parts of the advice posted above and ended up navigating through (of all things) the “Computer Management/Help/Microsoft Management Console/Disk Management/Manage Disks/Detect New Disks” path. Following the steps in the right-hand pane got my second HDD back up and running again. It now shows up in the Computer Management console in all its healthy glory. Thumbs up!!!

  17. I had the same problem, but with a reformat of the PC, I could not format the drive that was not detected, after severeal hours of trying I finally have found a way, and it’s very easy…

    Start menu > right click in computer > manage > then the only thing I had to do was give the letter of choice to the drive…

    (this only works if the drive is detected in the Device Manager)

    Cumps from Portugal ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Found a solution.

    Ok I followed the original instructions and it did not work.

    What I had to do for the hard disk to appear on Disk Management was:

    after Scan For Hardware Changes
    right click on hard drive you wish to fix
    click on properties->volumes
    click on populate at the bottom.

    after click on that I was able to rescan for drives on disk management and it showed up!!

  19. This does not work for me and my HD keep disappearing and disk management does not show the disk. use installation disk to repair also can’t fix it. I have 2 HD not been recognized so far, windows 7 keep asking format the disk but I will loose all data on the disk. so far I cannot find any solution for this problem. It seems like nobody knows how to really fix this.

  20. I have similar problems, I lost a 2TGB hard disk of data about 2 weeks ago, keep trying to find the solution., now I had another HD start to having the same problem, It starts to show up when it is start up then disappeared or deny access by windows or ask me to reformat it. This time I truly believe there is no problem with the HD and all the hardware(cable, connectors, mb, etc.) I refuse to reformat the disk and suddenly one morning after I started the PC the CHKDSK program kicked in and want to check the problem disk and I let it go, at the end it said something wrong with the journal or something(screen goes very fast). after that fix the disk come up without any problem. BUT, this is not the first time the CHKDSK was running but only this time fixed the problem, so, I would suggest, just let the SW run few times until it catches the problem and fix it. and never hot swap internal HD, I don’t think you can do that. So, don’t loose hope, keep trying, I hope somebody will find a real solution for this problem.Oh, by the way I did use disk recovery software to scan the disk the night before. I don’t know if that make any difference, it took almost 6 hours to finished the scan.

  21. Worked perfectly. Everything sorted in 30 seconds, after wasting well over 4 hours of messing around and trying everything.

    To make my comment more helpful I like to point out that I am using Windows 7, adding a secondary HDD to a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop/notebook via the modular bay.

    I did notice that some of the comments left by others that stated this “fix” did not work are not using Windows 7!

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