- Several users have reported that Windows 11 is not recognizing their SSD. This might be the result of improper connections or misconfigured BIOS settings.
- To fix the issue, check the connections, initialize the SSD, change the BIOS settings, update SSD drivers, amongst other methods listed below.
- Also, do not hesitate to find out whether you should defrag an SSD.
Whenever you connect a disk, be it HDD or SSD, to your computer, it should automatically be listed in the File Explorer, Device Manager, and Disk Management. However, several users have reported that Windows 11 is not recognizing the SSD.
If the SSD is new and you are connecting it for the first time, there’s a high likelihood of you encountering the problem probably because the disk is either not yet initialized or formatted. But for SSD’s already in use, the problem lies elsewhere.
In the following sections, we have taken up both the underlying causes and the troubleshooting methods in case Windows 11 is not recognizing your SSD.
Why is Windows 11 not recognizing the SSD?
We went through several forums where users shared the problem as well as their valuable inputs. And based on that, we were able to identify a number of issues as to why the SSD is not recognized in Windows 11. They are listed below:
- Improper connections
- Disk space unallocated
- No drive letter assigned
- Misconfigured BIOS settings
- Outdated SSD drivers
If you are, by any chance, able to identify the problem from the list, head to the relevant method and execute it. Otherwise, follow the steps in the sequence that they are listed for quick troubleshooting.
What can I do if Windows 11 is not recognizing the SSD?
1. Check the connections
If you are using an external SSD, it’s most likely that the connections are not in order. Remove it, clean both the port and the USB, and then plug it back in. It should now show up. If it doesn’t connect it to another port and check.
In case Windows 11 is still not recognizing the SSD, try connecting it to another computer. If it works there, it’s likely an issue with the port, and you will have to get it checked and repaired by a professional.
But if it’s not recognized on the other system as well, reconnect it to the first system, and try the methods listed below to get it up and running.
2. Initialize the SSD
- Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu, enter Create and format hard disk partitions in the text field at the top, and click on the relevant search result that appears.
- Check if the problematic SSD has a black bar at the top, and says Not Initialized. If that’s the case, right-click on it and select Initialize Disk from the context menu.
- Select the desired partition style, i.e, either MBR or GPT. We recommend selecting GPT, since it allows you to create more paritions, but there’s a drawback too, it’s not recognized by Windows 8 and earlier versions.
- Once the SSD is initialized, right-click on it and select New simple volume from the context menu.
- Click on Next to proceed.
- Enter the volume size in MB. We recommend you leave the default entry as is since it’s the maximum volume size, and click Next.
- Choose a drive letter from the dropdown menu, and click Next.
- Next, select a file system and volume label for the SSD, and click Next. If you are creating a volume for the first time, we recommed going with the default entries on every step.
- Finally, verify the details and click Finish.
If an SSD has not been initialized or the data on it has corrupted due to some reason, Windows 11 won’t be recognizing the drive. In which case, initializing the drive and creating a new volume on it would help fix the issue.
3. Assign/change the drive letter
- Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu, enter Create and format hard disk partitions in the text field, and click on the relevant search result.
- Right-click on the SSD volume, and select Change Drive Letter and Paths from the context menu.
- Next, click on the Add button. If the drive already has a letter assigned, click on Change.
- With the Assign the following drive letter option ticked, select the desired Drive letter from the dropdown menu, and click on OK to assign it.
If the volume on the SSD has not been assigned a letter yet, it wouldn’t be listed in the File Explorer. In which case, assign a drive letter using the steps listed above, and Windows 11 will now be recognizing the SSD.
Even if it has been assigned one but there are some issues with it, changing it should help.
4. Check BIOS settings
- Shut down your computer, and then turn in back on. As soon as the display lights up, hit the Del or F12 key, or the relevant key for your system manufacturer to enter the BIOS settings.
- Locate and click on Storage and then select the Storage Option entry.
- Now, set the SATA Emulation to AHCI Mode, and then save the changes.
Once done, boot Windows 11, and the SSD should now be recognized. In case it’s still not listed, head to the next method.
5. Update the SSD driver
- Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu, enter Device Manager in the text field at the top, and click on the relevant search result.
- Double-click on the Disk drives entry to expand and view the problematic SSD.
- Right-click on the SSD that’s not being recognized and select Update driver from the context menu.
- Next, select Search automatically for drivers from the two options that appear in the Update Drivers window.
- Your computer will now scan for the best available driver on the system and install it for the SSD.
Outdated drivers are known to cause several issues with the concerned device, which in this case is the SSD. When you update the driver, it enhances the device’s performance apart from introducing new features and eliminating previously known errors.
But, one of the drawbacks of the Device Manager method listed above is that it only scans the drivers stored on the system. So, if you haven’t downloaded a newer version previously, the update process might not go through.
If the whole process sounds like too much trouble, you can always use a reliable third-party app. We recommend using DriverFix, a dedicated tool that automatically scans the available sources for the latest version, and keeps the installed drivers up-to-date.
Once you have updated the driver, check if Windows 11 is now recognizing the SSD. In case the problem persists, head to the last method.
6. Replace the SSD
If nothing else worked, it’s likely a problem with the SSD itself. Several users have reported that after trying out the various troubleshooting methods available, they later identified that the SSD itself was malfunctioning, and replacing it did the job.
Some SSDs may have problems, though the chances are rare. Therefore, you must execute the steps listed above before replacing the one for your system. Also, check out our curated guide of the best SSDs for Windows 11.
Should I defrag the SSD?
Before we answer the question, it’s imperative that you understand what defragmenting a drive actually is. When you store data on a drive, it’s placed together in a certain space, but if you delete certain files from it, a part of that space is vacant.
Your system will make a list of all such empty spaces and store new files here. But, if the new file is larger than the available space, only a part of it will be saved here while the remaining will be saved in another section of the drive.
This is where the concept of defragmenting comes into the picture. When you defrag a drive, the data on it is rearranged such that all the files for the same program are stored together and thus can quickly be read.
Hence, you notice a considerable improvement in the system performance on defragmenting an HDD.
But with SSDs, the data can be read just as quickly, no matter whether it’s stored together or apart. That’s why defragmenting an SSD has no real benefit. On the contrary, it can have detrimental effects and can reduce the life of your solid-state drive.
If you were looking for a shorter answer, it’s No. Never make the mistake of defragmenting an SSD, since it would have no real benefit but lead to the degradation of memory cells.
The methods listed above will eliminate any issues that lead to Windows 11 not recognizing the SSD. By the time you reach this part of the article, either the error would be eliminated or you would have figured out that the SSD is faulty.
Also, if you notice that the hard drive went missing after updating Windows 11, learn how to fix the problem.
Do not hesitate to tell us which fix worked or was the SSD faulty, in the comments section below.