Here’s How to Fix an Unreadable Hard Disk On Windows PC

By nagib

PUBLISHED 11:53 am GMT+0700 Thu September 2021

As we know, the hard disk is one of the vital devices that serves to store data. In fact, the operating system files must also be stored on the hard disk to facilitate the boot process. Imagine if one day the hard disk encountered problems so that it could not operate properly.

One of the common problems experienced by hard disks is not being read or detected by the system. Many desktop or laptop PC users (perhaps including you) have experienced their hard disks being unreadable by UEFI / BIOS or operating systems. There are also those who experience that their external hard disk is not read by the OS even though it has been installed via the USB port.

What if the hard disk is suddenly not detected? Don’t panic just yet!

Here, Tekno Thumb provides several ways that can be done to overcome hard disks that are not read or not detected properly. Let’s see!

Also read: How to Overcome an Unreadable Flash Drive (FD) or External Hard disk

How to fix hard disk not being read/detected

First case, hard disk is not read by UEFI / BIOS

If the hard disk is not detected by UEFI / BIOS, you definitely can’t boot into the operating system. Generally, an error message will appear such as “No boot device” or “No hard disk detected”. This means that the hard disk has a hardware problem. What must be done is to directly check the physical condition of the hard disk.

CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Turn off the computer/laptop and make sure it is not connected to a power source
  • You have to disassemble the computer case to check the condition of the hard disk. On a laptop, you can open the hard disk cover at the bottom.
  • Make sure all cables connected to the hard disk are in good condition.
  • Also make sure the cables (SATA data cable and SATA power cable) are properly connected
  • Also pay attention to the jumpers on the hard disk. Jumpers are a series of configuration pins to enable special features on a hard disk. It is located next to the data cable port. How to set this jumper configuration is quite easy because it is included in the label attached to the hard disk. It is recommended that this jumper be set to the default position.
  • Restart your computer/laptop

Should have done the steps above, the hard disk can be read by UEFI/BIOS. But if it’s still not read when booting, there are further steps that can be taken.

  • Unplug the data cable and power cable
  • Connect the data cable to a different port on the motherboard, for example port 2 or port 3.
  • If there is, connect another SATA power cable

Possibly, if it is still not detected by the BIOS, what must be done is to install the hard disk on another computer/laptop. If on another computer the hard disk can be read in the BIOS, it means that there is a problem with the computer that was used before, either on the SATA connection or the power connection from the PSU. However, if it still doesn’t read, maybe it means the hard disk is damaged and you have to buy a new hard disk.

A similar method can also be applied to an external hard disk. If the external hard disk is not detected, unplug the connector and then plug it back in. Restart the computer to see if it appears in the BIOS menu.

Also read:  Tricks for Caring for Computer Hard Disks so that they are durable and not easily damaged

Second case, hard disk does not appear during OS installation

Hardware-wise, the hard disk may not have a problem. UEFI/BIOS can also detect hard disks well. However, once the operating system is installed, for example Windows 7/8/8.1/10, it turns out that the hard disk is not read by the operating system. In this case, the hard disk partition is not recognized by the operating system to be installed.

Here’s how to fix an unreadable hard disk

  • Restart the computer/laptop
  • Enter the UEFI menu
  • Turn off Secure Boot feature and enable Legacy BIOS/CSM mode
  • Save changes and restart to re-install the operating system

Modern computers already use the UEFI system and include Secure Boot and Legacy/CSM features. This system is relatively new so it is not supported by many operating systems. Some operating systems that support UEFI include Windows 8/8.1/10, Mac OS X v10.4 and later, and Linux Ubuntu 12.10 and later.

In the past, Windows XP OS users have also experienced the same thing. Because, at that time Windows XP did not support SATA connections. In order to install Windows XP, users must turn off AHCI mode and enable IDE mode via the BIOS menu. If you want to use the full SATA connection, the user must enter the SATA driver manually.

Also read: How to solve SSD not detected

Third case, hard disk partition not detected by operating system (Windows)

This time maybe the hard disk problem is not too serious. Hard disk partitions that are not read by Windows Explorer are generally because there are settings that have not been set. The Windows operating system recognizes a hard disk partition by a label/drive letter. Without this label/drive letter, the hard disk partition will be unrecognized and unreadable by Windows.

Here’s how to label/drive letter on hard disk partition

  • Right-click the Computer icon, select Manage
  • Or press Win key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type compmgmt.msc then press Enter
  • In the Computer Management window, select Disk Management in the Storage section. All hard disk partitions will appear

Here's How to Fix an Unreadable Hard Disk

  • Please note, the drive letter on the hard disk partition contains letters of the alphabet such as C:, D:, E:, and so on. By default, hard disk partition labels use the word “Local Disk”.
  • Look for a partition that doesn’t have a drive letter. If the partition is still empty, format it first
  • Right-click the partition, then select Change drive letter and paths
  • Click the Add button
  • In the Assign the following drive letter option, the drive letter alphabet will appear automatically. You can change the alphabet as you wish. Should still be sorted alphabetically by the existing drive letter.
  • Click OK button
  • Click OK Button
  • The hard disk partition will automatically appear in Windows Explorer

Also read: What is a hard disk partition? Find out here

A similar way can also be done on other operating systems, namely mounting drives.

External hard disks generally can be directly detected by Windows and appear immediately in Windows Explorer. In the case of an external hard disk that is not read by Windows, do the following ways to fix it

  • Unplug and plug the connector cable back into the USB port
  • Try plugging in another USB port
  • If it’s still not detected, try installing it on another computer or laptop
  • Make sure the connector or converter cable is in good condition
  • Worst case, replace the cable or converter

So, has your hard disk ever been unread/detected? The steps above are the solution. One way to keep hard disks durable and not easily damaged is routine maintenance. Oh yes, to anticipate the hard disk is not detected, namely routinely backing up important data. You can back up your data through the widely available data hosting services.

Also read: Tips for choosing the best SSD for your computer

Come on, upgrade to SSD

Currently, SSD (Solid State Drive) storage media are widely used. In addition to having a much faster performance, SSDs are also considered much more durable and long-lasting in storing data. This is because SSDs use NAND flash chips as storage containers, not magnetic disks like hard disks.

The speed of data access on the SSD is claimed to be able to compensate for the performance of the latest generation of CPU and RAM. The hope is that SSDs will improve overall computer performance. So, computer operations will be more effective and efficient.

Good luck and hopefully useful….

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