THE COCOON ™: Feb 28, 2010
~ AcidFlynn Wraith ~ Inspired by ~ AcidFlynn Wraith ~


Blog Archive


28 February 2010

Desktop hard drive is not detected??



Use this checklist to determine whether the BIOS has detected your hard drive, and to troubleshoot situations where it has not.

Typical Symptoms

After the Gateway/eMachines splash screen:

  • PXE Boot screen
  • Error messages:
    • No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key
    • Hard drive not found
    • Missing hard drive
  • Computer tries to load operating system from DVD/CD, diskette, or USB drive
  • Blinking cursor on a blank screen (after the splash screen)
  • Random text characters displayed (after the splash screen)


  • Only "Hard Drive not found" or "Missing hard drive" error messages conclusively indicate a hard drive has not been detected. Other symptoms could be a result of bad hard drive data or BIOS boot order settings.
  • Use proper Electrostatic Discharge procedures
  • Drive jumper settings are not applicable to SATA (Serial ATA) drives.

Disconnect external devices

Remove external devices and removable storage media.

  1. Start the computer.
  2. Eject/remove all media inserted into Zip drives, floppy drives, CD/DVD drives, card readers, etc.
  3. Power off the computer.
  4. Disconnect all external devices except the monitor.
  5. Note: Include the keyboard, mouse, printers, anything connected to the USB ports, anything externally connected to the expansion card ports (except the monitor), speakers, microphones, etc.
  6. Plug the power cord into the computer and press the power button.
  7. Check the front panel LEDs (lights) found on the front face of the computer, on optical drives, and listen for the power supply fan.
  8. If LEDs are on or the power supply fan starts spinning, watch for a boot screen on the monitor.
  9. If computer begins to start, turn off the computer.
  10. Reconnect each device one at a time, beginning with keyboard and mouse.
    Note: Make sure to power the computer on and off when reconnecting each device.
  11. If computer fails to start after a device is reconnected, this device may be causing the issue. Refer to the manufacturer of that device for assistance.
Ejecting Removable Media: The computer may boot or attempt to start using this media. Depending upon the state of the media and the drives in which they are inserted you may observe undesirable behavior that may seem to suggest more serious computer problems.
Disconnecting External Devices: If the computer appears to start normally, one of the devices previously plugged into the computer may have been preventing the system from starting properly.

Check RAID configuration

If your computer has a RAID configuration:

  1. Check RAID BIOS.
    1. If status is listed as Normal in the RAID Volumes section, there is not a RAID issue.
    2. If you are unable to enter RAID BIOS or a RAID volume is not listed in RAID Volumes section, a RAID volume has not been configured.
  2. Check the list of drives and RAID types. If the required number of drives for your RAID type, plus any non-RAID drive(s) included in configuration are not listed, continue with this checklist.
    • RAID 0: at least two drives must be detected
    • RAID 1: at least two drives must be detected
    • RAID 5: at least three drives must be detected
  3. If status is not listed as Normal, refer to appropriate checklist for the RAID configuration:
    • How do I troubleshoot a RAID0 volume?
    • How do I troubleshoot a RAID1 volume?
    • How do I troubleshoot a RAID5 volume?

This checklist is only applicable to RAID when BIOS has not detected one or more of the required RAID volume drives. Unlike system BIOS, RAID BIOS, if accessible, will present a clear indication of the hard drives that have been detected. RAID BIOS will also present the status of any configured RAID volumes.

Check hard drive settings in BIOS

To check BIOS settings:

  1. Start the computer.
  2. Press the F2 or F1 key repeatedly until BIOS Setup Utility Main page is displayed.
    Note: A message is displayed on the screen as to which key should be pressed.
  3. Make sure that the ATA/IDE Mode (or similar setting) is set to Enhanced or Native, not Legacy.
  4. If the computer has RAID, make sure that RAID is Enabled.
    Note: The RAID enable option may be included under either Configure SATA or RAID settings.
  5. Check the Drive Configuration (or similarly named) page, or the Standard CMOS Features page to make sure all hard drives are detected.
    • If all hard drives are listed, exit the BIOS.
    • If all hard drives are not listed, continue troubleshooting.
    Note: If a drive name contains odd characters, size appears to be incorrect, and cannot web browse the product name, assume the drive, cable, or port connection is defective. There may have been a read failure associated with one of those components.
  6. If the configuration has more than one hard drive:
    • Note the port name for each detected hard drive. This information is required to troubleshoot undetected hard drives connected to other ports.
    • Note the name of the first hard drive listed. In a non-RAID configuration, this drive should be the drive from which operating system starts.

The Drive Configuration page (or similarly named page) provides a list of all detected serial ATA (SATA) and Parallel ATA (PATA) devices that have been detected. If this page identifies all installed hard drives, Desktop Hard Drive not detected is not the proper checklist.

Use Disk Management

Use Disk Management in Windows XP to perform disk-related tasks, such as format, change drive letters, convert to a dynamic disk, delete a volume, create a new volume, color code the disk detail pane, and for adding a second hard drive.
Refer tot MS Knowledge Base article:
How to use Disk Management to configure basic disks in Windows XP - for additional information.

Inspect and reseat cables

Use proper Electrostatic Discharge procedures.

  1. Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord.
  2. Disconnect everything except the monitor and keyboard.
  3. Place the computer on a stable work area with the case cover facing up.
  4. Remove the cover.
  5. Find the internal drives.
  6. Inspect and reseat any cables connected to the drives not detected.
    • Check for broken connectors on the hard drive, motherboard, and drive cables.
    • Check for bent or broken pins on the hard drive, motherboard, and drive cables.
    • Check cable orientation.
    • Try a different cable, if possible. If the hard drive works with the new cable, the original cable is probably defective. Contact Gateway to get a replacement cable.
  7. Note: Make sure to firmly reseat the data cable connections to the hard drive and motherboard, then the power connection to drive. If the connectors do not firmly reconnect, the damaged component (cable, drive, or motherboard) may need to be replaced. Contact Gateway to get a replacement component.

The drive cables may have become loose if the desktop had been moved or during the shipping process. Reseating the cables ensure that they are properly connected to both the drives and to the drive connectors on the motherboard.

Test the hard disk drives in another computer

If available, test the hard drive(s) in another computer.
Testing the hard drive in a different computer eliminates other issues and isolates the issue to the hard drive.
Read more

Popular Posts

Follow by Email

Google+ Followers

Total Pageviews

My Blog List

Search This Blog

Best View Resolution 1280 x 1024 [RECOMMENDED]
Donate Here