Fix: An old HDD is not showing up in Windows 10

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
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old hdd not showing up

Here’s the scenario: you added a brand new HDD or SSD and installed Windows 10 on that dedicated partition. You decided to keep the old IDE HDD as a storage drive.

This would be the standard, non-stress procedure but the old and sturdy HDD suddenly disappeared and it was nowhere to be found. It just won’t show up in Windows 10.

This seems to be a common problem for a lot of users that foregone exact or similar scenarios. Luckily, when there’s a problem – there’s a solution. Or few of them, to be exact. If you found yourself in shoes of so many others, make sure to check them out below.

Old HDD disappeared after hardware upgrade or reinstallation? Here’s what to do

  1. Check hardware
  2. Inspect BIOS and Disk Manager
  3. Format the HDD and create a new partition

Solution 1 – Check hardware

First things first. We’ll need to confirm that HDD is properly plugged in. Make sure that HDD is connected with both power supply and motherboard data cable.

Also, make sure that you have right means to run the 3.5-inch drive. If your motherboard doesn’t support IDE, you can always get a converter and plug it in as a USB drive.

Additionally, there’s also the health question. In order to inspect HDD health, you’ll be needing a third-party bootable drive with the diagnostic tool. In this article, we thoroughly explained the diagnostics and monitoring of HDD in the Windows platform. So, make sure to check it out.

If you’re positive that everything is spot on and your HDD is still not visible, try connecting it to an alternative PC. If you’re unable to access your HDD on a different PC configuration, we’re sad to inform you that it’s probably the end of the road for that HDD device.

On the other hand, if it works great on an alternative configuration, move on with the additional steps.

Solution 2 – Inspect BIOS and Disk Manager

Now, let’s shift to a more plausible cause. There’s a chance that Windows can’t ‘see’ or identify your HDD. In order to make it available, you’ll need to check a few things before we condemn it dead and throw it out the window.

First, let’s take a peek in BIOS settings and confirm that the HDD is or isn’t there.

  1. Restart your PC and press repetitively Delete (F2 or F10) on your keyboard to access BIOS/UEFI settings. This can differ so make sure to follow on-screen instructions or google your motherboard and find out.
  2. Navigate to the BOOT tab.
  3. If you’re seeing old HDD on the list of available boot devices, we’re good to go.

Furthermore, once we can safely say that the motherboard is recognizing the HDD, then the system is the problem. And that’s where the Disk Manager utility comes in handy.

Before we start meddling with this tool, we need to draw your attention to dangers that misuse of this tool can bring upon you. So, follow the steps closely and we should be good to go:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type Disk management and open ”Create and format disk partitions”.old hdd not showing up
  2. Locate the troubling drive.
  3. Right-click on it and select ”Change drive letter and pathsold hdd not showing up
  4. Click on Add.old hdd not showing up
  5. Select ”Assign the following drive letter” and grant any available letter to drive partition.
  6. Hit OK.

After that, you should be able to see the brand new drive in This PC. If that’s not the case and your HDD is identified as a drive that’s not initialized and without allocated space, formatting is the only solution.

Solution 3 – Format the HDD and create a new partition

If you’re still unable to run or access the content of the aforementioned hard drive, you’ll need to start from a scratch. We’re well aware that this isn’t a solution per se since you’ll need to wipe out your HDD in order to use it.

Moreover, this might pose as an obvious obstacle for so many users. But, if there’s a chance to get your data out on an alternative machine, you can transfer it later in no time.

At least, with the formatting, you’ll be able to use the old HDD just like before and increase the PC storage space substantially. Just as with the previous step, make sure not to mix up drives and make rush moves.

In order to initialize and repurpose your HDD, follow the steps below:

  1. Power off your PC and make sure that your HDD is properly connected.
  2. Turn on PC again.
  3. In the Search bar, type Disk management and open ”Create and format disk partitionsold hdd not showing up
  4. Locate the troubling drive, right-click on it and choose ”Initialize Disk” in order for Logical Disk Manager to access it.
  5. Choose GUID Partition Table (GPT) as the preferred partition style and click OK.
  6. If drive’s space is still Unallocated, right-click on it and choose New Simple Volume.
  7. On the ”New Volume Wizard” screen select the reserved space and click Next.
  8. Now, assign the drive letter for your partition.
  9. Format the partition in NTFS format.
  10. There you go! Now your HDD should be accessible again.

With that, we can complete the list. In case you have questions or alternative solutions, the comments section is just below.