The BIOS does not detect or recognize the ATA / SATA hard drive
Tips and tricks for troubleshooting a Serial ATA or ATA/IDE internal drive that is not detected in the BIOS.
There are six main reasons why a system BIOS will not detect the presence of an internal hard drive. Here is a list of them. They are not in any particular order, but you can follow these steps one by one to troubleshoot this problem:
- Drive not enabled in the BIOS
- Serial ATA drivers are not properly installed
- Faulty or unplugged data cable
- Drive is not spinning up
- Incorrect jumper settings on the drive
- Faulty hard drive
Note: Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6 pertain to PC or Mac systems. Sections 1 and 2 pertain only to PC systems.
For more detailed step-by-step troubleshooting on this topic, please see the Seagate Serial ATA troubleshooter "Drive Not Detected" section
After verifying that your ATA or SATA port is set to Auto-Detect or is enabled, if you find that your disk drive is not being detected (auto-detected) by the system BIOS, try the following steps to try and isolate/troubleshoot the problem.
- this link can be useful.
System setup is where the date and time are stored and where startup preferences like NumLock or Passwords are defined. In addition, many hardware settings are defined in System Setup.
In particular, hard disk drives are often controlled here. At the simplest level, hard drives are numbered in Setup as Drive 0, Drive 1, etc or sometimes as Primary Master, Primary Slave. Which ever way these are named, they have a basic ON / OFF setting (sometimes AUTOMATIC or something similar). If your drive is not detected it may be because it is turned OFF in System Setup.
In most cases, the boot drive is Drive 0 or Primary Master. When you add a second drive to the system, it may be need to be enabled by turning it ON in System Setup.
Sample screen shot showing a Dell System Setup section for disk drives:
- To be able to hit the F6 button, you must restart the Setup process, and watch the bottom of the screen after pressing Enter on the "Welcome to Setup" screen. There will be some moments of files being loaded, and then you should see a message appear that says "Press F6 if you need to install a 3rd party SCSI or RAID driver". This message will only stay on the screen for a couple of seconds, so press F6 as soon as you see it appear.
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- After this is done, you will see other messages appear, and it will act as though nothing is happening, but eventually a screen will appear that will allow you to install the drivers for the add-in SATA controller. The screen will look like the sample below:
(Click to expand)
- After you press S, the driver install process will continue and the floppy diskettes will be needed. Further instructions will be furnished after the driver install process has ended.
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- Insert the floppy diskette containing the drivers for the add-in Serial ATA controller.
- Once the drivers are loaded, proceed with the normal Windows XP/2000 installation.
A few further notes on the driver diskette:
For the hard drive to be detected in a new installation, the drivers for the add-in SATA controller/motherboard must be loaded at the beginning of installation.
The drivers for the controller/motherboard can probably be found either on the CD that came with it or on the manufacturer's website. These drivers do not come from Seagate; they come from the motherboard manufacturer. Simply load the required drivers on the diskette and have it ready.
Document ID: 182453.
Here are some images of Serial ATA cables. Click to expand.
The BIOS will not detect a hard disk if the data cable is damaged or the connection is incorrect.
Serial ATA cables, in particular, can sometimes fall out of their connection. Be sure to check your SATA cables are tightly connected to the SATA port connection.
The easiest way to test a cable is to replace it with another cable. If the problem persists, then the cable was not the cause of the problem.
For ATA drives, Seagate recommends using UDMA cabling with a maximum length of 18 inches. UDMA cables have color coded connections which require proper orientation when connecting.
See this image:
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to determine whether it is providing sufficient electrical power to operate the drives and devices you have in your computer.
If the drive is still not spinning, connect it in another computer if possible.
Connect the drive in a SATA-USB enclosure or something similar if possible.
If the drive does not spin up after all of these steps, please visit the Warranty page to begin a warranty replacement order.
-- (Click to expand) Jumper settings for Seagate SATA drives
- -- (Click to expand) Jumper settings for Maxtor-brand SATA drives
ATA: It is recommended that all Seagate ATA hard disks supporting the Cable Select jumper option be configured as Cable Select. If your computer system was built prior to October 1998 and does not support UDMA 66 or greater you will be required to use the Master/Slave jumper settings.
- -- (Click to expand) Jumper settings for Seagate ATA drives
- -- (Click to expand) Jumper settings for Maxtor-brand ATA drives
When using Cable Select jumper settings on your ATA drive, all devices connected to the UDMA cable must also use the Cable Select setting. The cable decides master/slave device detection when the cable select jumper settings are used.
SeaTools for DOS (see the tutorial here) to test the drive. If SeaTools does not detect the drive after the steps followed above, or an error code that signifies drive failure displays, please proceed to the our Warranty Services page to begin a warranty replacement order.
The BIOS does not detect or recognize the ATA SATA hard drive
- Blue connector - always connects to the motherboard.
- Grey (middle) connector - is used for slave devices on the cable.
- Black connector - is used for master device connection.