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Fix Windows Not Detecting Or Recognizing The Second Hard Drive

If your windows computer is unable to detect your second hard drive, read this article, in this article, we have explained how you can easily fix windows not detecting or not recognizing the second hard drive issue using 7 effective methods.

Some people use two hard drives for additional space or backup purposes. A common complaint is that Windows 10 not detecting the second hard drive on my computer after a Windows upgrade. So, in this article, we will explain the causes of Windows 10 not detecting the external or second hard drive issue and the probable solutions to fix this issue.

Table Of Contents

Why is my second hard drive not showing up on windows or PC?

Prior to fixing the Windows 10 not detecting the second hard drive issue, let's understand the reasons why the second hard drive does not appear in Windows.

Here are the reasons why the second hard drive does not appear in Windows, File Explorer, or on the PC

1. Connection issues

The second hard drive might not show on windows may be because the hard drive is not connected properly. Or the power supply, cable or USB port, etc might go wrong

2. The hard drive is not initialized

If the disk is marked as unknown or not initialized in Disk Management, you will not be able to find a second hard drive in windows

3. The hard drive is not partitioned

If the hard disk has no partition and all disk space is unallocated, it won't show up on the PC.

4. Hard disk partition without a drive letter 

If a partition of the hard disk does not have a drive letter, then you cannot find it in Windows

5. Outdated disk driver

When the driver of the hard disk is outdated, it won’t be detected by your computer 

6. Bad sectors on the disk

If there are any bad sectors on the disk, the Windows system might be unable to recognize them.

Now that we are aware of the reasons for the second hard drive not showing up on windows, we will move ahead with the steps to fix the unrecognized second hard drive.

7 Effective Methods To Fix Windows 10 Not Detecting The Second Hard Drive issue

You can fix an unrecognized hard drive on a PC, laptop, or Windows computer using the methods listed below.

Method 1: Use Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter

Windows 11/10/8/7 comes with this troubleshooter inbuilt. If you recently installed a new driver or some hardware and find some things are not working as you’d like them to, use this troubleshooter.

  • On Windows 11/10, you can also open Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot and click on Hardware and Devices.
  • On Windows 8/7, open Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Configure a device

The Hardware Troubleshooter will open. You can set it to fix the detected problems automatically or select and opt to fix only the ones you want.

Click on Next to run the Hardware and Devices Troubleshooter. Once the scan is completed, it will present you with a report.

Choose the ones you want to fix and click Next.

Method 2:Reconnect and Re-install the 2nd Hard Drive

When your hard drive is disappeared from File Explorer or Disk Management, check on the hard drive power cable and SATA cable first.

Step 1: Take out the hard drive from your computer with a screwdriver.

Step 2: Check if the hard drive connection is loosened. 

If yes, unplug and re-plug the hard drive from the computer case. If the cables are damaged, change the SATA  cable and the power wire, and reconnect the drive to the PC.

Step 3: Put the computer case back on and restart the PC, check if your hard drive shows up. 

Method 3: Check and Make Second Hard Drive Detectable in BIOS

Applies to: Fix Windows not recognizing hard drive in BIOS error.

Step 1: Restart the PC and press F2 to enter BIOS.

Step 2: Enter the Boot Menu and check whether the second hard drive is showing or not.

Step 3: In case the hard drive is not visible to you then follow the below tips.

First, enter the Setup section, under System Setup, and check the state of the second hard drive.

Next, if the System Setup option is Off, turn it ON. Save the changes.

Remember to restart the PC each time to check if the second disk shows up in the BIOS. If the hard drive still doesn't show up, it's probably having a physical issue. 

Method 4: Change the drive letter to fix Windows 10 not recognizing the second hard drive

Sometimes your hard drive may be properly connected and functioning well. But if it doesn’t have a letter assigned, then it will not be shown on This PC/My Computer. So try changing the drive letter using the steps explained below.

  • In Windows 10, right-click on the Start button and click on Disk Management.
  • Find your second hard drive and right-click on it
  • Go to ‘Change drive letter and path’ and click on Change

change-drive-letter-to-fix-windows-10-not-detecting-second-hard-drive

  • Choose a letter for your partition from the list and confirm
  • Then restart your computer

Check if you can detect your hard drive, if not you can check for driver updates explained in the next step.

Method 5: Check for driver updates to fix windows 10 not detecting the second hard drive

Before you upgraded your system to Windows 10, was your system detecting the second hard drive? If yes, your current hard disk drivers are probably not compatible with Windows 10. To solve this issue,

  • Right-click on the Start menu and select Device Manager
  • Expand disk drives and find your second drive
  • Check if it is covered by a yellow exclamation mark as shown below or not

windows 10 not detecting second hard drive

  • If the yellow exclamation mark is visible right-click on it and select the Update driver software

fix-second-hard-drive-not-recognized-by-updating-the-driver

  • You can follow instructions if there are any updates and your drivers will be updated.
  • Run Hardware and Devices troubleshooter
  • Click on the Windows key and in the search bar look for Troubleshooting

Method 6: Initialize and partition the second hard drive

When the hard drive is not initialized, you won’t be able to see and read it in Windows File Explorer.

  1. Right-click This PC/ My Computer and select Manage and click on Disk Management to open Disk Management
  2. Find the hard drive and right-click it, select Initialize Disk from the given menu, then
  3. Right-click on the unallocated disk space and select New Simple Volume. And click Next on the welcome page.
  4. Fill in the simple volume size to the desired value in Megabytes, then click Next. Notice the minimum and maximum allowed size when creating the partition.
  5. Choose Assign the following drive letter and select the desired drive letter from the dropdown menu. Click Next to continue.
  6. On the Format Partition page, you can decide the file system, and allocate unit size and volume label. After everything is done, click Next, and then Finish to proceed.
    •  

Method 7: Recover Lost/missing partitions from the Second Hard Drive using Remo Recover

Partitions on the drive can get corrupted or lost due to file system file corruption or due to virus attacks. This results in data becoming inaccessible on that drive. In such cases, you need to make use of data recovery tools like Remo Recover.

Remo Recover is an advanced hard drive recovery software to recover more than 500 file formats like photos, raw images, videos, documents, excel files, etc. This tool works with a read-only interface to recover files from any hard drive such as SSD, USB drives, memory cards, and many more. Moreover, the Deep Scan feature of this tool allows you to recover files from corrupted, dead, unrecognized, unreadable, or formatted hard drives Download this tool now!

 

Steps to Recover lost partition from the second hard drive

Follow the below steps to start the recovery process of your deleted or lost partitions:

  • Download and install the Remo Recover software on your computer.
  • Select the drive on which you have lost or deleted the partition and click on Scan.

how-to-fix-windows-10-not-detecting-second-hard-drive

  • Once the scan starts you can click on the Dynamic Recovery View to recover the lost file during the scanning process itself.

use-dynamic-recovery-view

  • After the scanning process, you can see your lost data under the Lost and Found folder or Lost Partition folder.

list-of-recovered-files-from-second-hard-drive

  • You can double-click on any file to Preview the recovered files such as documents, PPTs, excel sheets, photos, videos, etc.

preview-the-files-recovered-from-second-hard-drive

  • If you are satisfied with the recovery results, select the files which you want to restore and hit the Recover button to save them at your desired location.

select-the-location-to-save-files

Here are some tips to make the hard drive or the second hard drive detectable :

1. Make sure the hard drive is correctly connected to the PC via its power cable and SATA cable.

2. Make sure the second hard drive is Enabled or turned on in the BIOS.

3. In addition always update the hard drive drivers, especially when you install a new hard drive on Windows PC. 

4. Partition or create partitions on the hard drive with a recognizable or supported file system - NTFS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Hard Drive Show Up in BIOS But Not in Windows?

There are many reasons your hard drive might show up in BIOS but not in windows. If it's detected in the BIOS but not in the OS, it's likely that the driver being used by the OS is not compatible with the drive. It's also possible that one drive is compatible with AHCI and the other with legacy IDE.
When you enable AHCI, Windows ignores the IDE drive. Thus, when you enable IDE, you can boot from the IDE drive, but Windows will ignore the AHCI drive. Below we have mentioned the reason behind Windows 10 not detecting hard drives but bios does issue.

a.) Incompatible file system
b.) Drive letter missing
c.) Driver issues
d.) Damaged MBR.

How do I enable my hard drive in BIOS?

Follow the below steps to enable your hard drive in BIOS

1. Restart the PC and press F2 to enter BIOS
2. Enter Setup and check system documentation to see whether the not detected hard drive is turned Off in System Setup or not
3. If it's Off, turn it ON in System Setup
4. Reboot your PC to check out and find your hard drive.

Why is my HDD not showing up in BIOS?

If you're connecting a hard drive via USB, it's likely that the BIOS will detect it as another USB device and not necessarily as a hard drive. You need to plug your hard drive directly into your computer in order to recognize that it is the correct hard drive.
If you're only going to use your HDD as external storage via USB, just plug it in when you normally boot from Windows and access it via device manager and format it from there or use explorer if it is already formatted.
If you have already connected your hard drive to your computer/laptop and it is still not recognized in the BIOS, then there is something wrong with the hard drive - it may already be dead, but make sure it is properly connected using the appropriate SATA ports and the power cable.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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