How Do I Get My BIOS to See My SATA Hard Drive?

When building a computer that contains a Serial ATA (SATA) hard drive, you may experience a problem if the computer's BIOS won't recognize the hard drive. This problem is caused by driver issues. Fortunately, you can do a few things to get the BIOS to recognize the SATA hard drive.

BIOS IDE and SATA Settings

In the BIOS screens of modern motherboards that support SATA hard drives, some type of option is included that allows you to switch from an IDE detection mode to a SATA detection mode. IDE hard drives were the mainstay of hard drives for several years until SATA drives became more popular because of their faster speed and transfer capabilities. Therefore, motherboards that support SATA hard drives usually have an option so you can switch between an IDE drive and a SATA drive.

Loading the BIOS

To access the computer's BIOS, restart the computer and pay attention to the instructions that appear briefly as it's booting. The command to enter the BIOS can either be pressing an "F" key, such as "F10" or "F11," or another special key on the keyboard, such as "End," "Home" or "Delete." The text that appears as the computer starts might call this command “BIOS,” “Setup” or something similar. Once you have identified the key to access the BIOS, press it to enter the computer's BIOS.

Changing From IDE to SATA in the BIOS

Search in the BIOS for the hard drive setting. This option or option list may be labeled “Hard Drive Options,” “Disk Drive Setup” or something similar. Once you've found the correct option or option menu, find the specific option to change the motherboard's settings to detect either IDE or SATA hard drives. If the option is set to "IDE," change it to "SATA." Be sure to save the change before you exit the BIOS. After you exit the BIOS, the computer reboots and it should detect the SATA hard drive.

Working With External SATA Controllers

If you have the SATA hard drive connected to the computer's motherboard through a third-party SATA control card, refer to the instructions that came with that controller card for how to enable the BIOS to recognize it. This process generally involves changing a setting in the BIOS so it will detect the controller card and boot the computer from it instead of looking for a hard drive to boot from.