How Do I Get My Computer to Detect My Hard Drive?

By Larry Amon

There are two aspects to installing computer hardware. The first is physically installing the hard drive; the second is getting the operating system to recognize the hardware and use the correct drivers so everything functions correctly. Installing hard drives is fairly simple, as most computers automatically detect new hard drives after installation. Occasionally, something goes wrong and you have to work to get your drive detected.

Step 1

Make sure the drive is connected tightly to the cable so that a loose connection does not prevent recognition. Make sure the power and data cables are securely in on the hard drive and the motherboard.

Step 2

Check the jumper on the hard drive, if it is an IDE hard drive. There is a jumper on the back marking Master, Slave or Cable Select. There will be a picture on the drive detailing how to set the jumper for each type. A single hard drive should be set to master. Another hard drive on the same cable will need to be set to slave. Alternatively, both can be set to cable select. The end of an IDE cable is set for the master and the middle connection is set for the slave. The hard drive jumper must match the correct cable position, unless all hard drives are set to cable select.

Step 3

Enter the BIOS. When you start the computer there will be a key listed on the screen that you can immediately hit to enter the BIOS. Hit the appropriate key. Go through the menus using the arrow or Page Up and Page Down keys and then press "Enter." Find the hard drive listings and make sure they are set to "Auto detect." You can change the setting by hitting "Enter" and then changing the choices with the arrow and space bar keys.

Step 4

Restart the computer and the drive should be detected.