My internal drive is not displayed in My Computer or Windows Explorer

Tips and tricks for troubleshooting a drive that is not detected in My Computer or Windows Explorer in Windows XP/2000.

In Windows Vista, XP or 2000, my drive is not displayed in My Computer or Windows Explorer. 

New internal Seagate and Maxtor-brand drives are not partitioned or formatted from the factory.  Only external drives are sold pre-formatted.  If your Internal drive has been operational and has stopped being displayed in My Computer, our SATA drive troubleshooter.

If your additional drive is new or completely erased, then to be visible in My Computer it must be partitioned. In Windows 2000/XP/Vista you may use the Disk Management Utility to partition the drive.

Here is the order of actions, and we will expand on these below.
  1. Connect and install secondary drive.
  2. Boot into Windows XP.
  3. Open Computer Management and select Disk Management.
  4. Initialize the drive.
  5. Partition the drive.
  6. Format the drive.
  7. Assign the drive letter.
  8. Initiate changes.

Opening Disk Management in XP
  1. Right click on My Computer.
  2. Choose Manage (This will open the Computer Management window).
  3. Choose Disk Management under the Storage category (Refer to Figure 1).

Figure 1 (Click on the image to view a larger image)

When the drive is first seen by Disk Management it will not be seen in Windows Explorer. For the drive to been seen in Windows Explorer the drive will need to be configured through Disk Management. XP will normally see the unpartitioned drive when you open Disk Management and start the wizard for you.

Note the Unallocated Drive in Figure 2.

At this point XP will normally launch a wizard to walk you through setting up the drive, but it may be necessary to set it up manually.

Figure 2 (Click on the image to view a larger image)

The Partition/Conversion Wizard Method
  1. Select the drive to partition (the new drive).
  2. Select the drive to Convert (not needed for new drives).
  3. A summary screen will tell what the wizard will do if you click on Finish. Confirm that the correct drive is selected.
  4. Once you click on Finish, the drive will be initialized and you will be taken to the Partition Wizard. See Figure 3 for details.

Figure 3 (Click on the image to view a larger image)


Manually Initialize
If the XP Initialize and Convert Hard Disk Wizard did not automatically open when you opened Disk Management, you will need to perform the following steps to initialize the hard disk drive.
  1. Right-click the new drive to initialize it (Refer to Figure 4). This prepares the drive to be used with Windows.
  2. Once you choose initialize, another window will come up asking you to confirm which drive to initialize. Once a drive is initialized the data on the drive will be erased.

    Figure 4 (Click on the image to view a larger image)

  3. Choose the correct drive. Windows will usually only display uninitialized drives, but if you have a dual boot system, drives from other operating systems will show up in this list.
  4. Once you choose OK, the drive will be initialized for use with Windows XP (it still will not be seen by Windows Explorer).

Figure 5 (Click on the image to view a larger image)


New Partition Wizard
Once a drive is initialized for use with XP, you may format and partition the drive. This option is not available for drives that do not have free space or for drives that have not been initialized.
  1. Right-click on the unallocated space, and select New Partition (Refer to Figure 6).

    Figure 6 (Click on the image to view a larger image)

  2. Partition type:
    Primary - This is the normal selection for drives with less than 4 partitions.
    Extended - This is used if the drive is split in to 4 or more partitions.
    The default selection is Primary. Click on Next.
  3. Specify partition size in Megabytes - Set the size of the partition (the full drive capacity is the default). If you are creating a single partition, leave the default amount. If you are creating multiple partitions, enter the size in megabytes for your first partition. Click on Next.
  4. Assign the drive letter - This allows you to select the drive letter for this partition. The setup will default to the next available drive letter. You may also assign the drive to another letter that isn't in use if you like. Click on Next.
  5. Format Partition - The New Partition Wizard will by default be set to format the drive with an NTFS file system, a default unit allocation size, and a volume label of "New Volume". For a faster format, check the Perform a quick format option. Keep in mind that if you choose this option, the format will skip several verification processes. It is recommended that you leave the Enable file and folder compression option unchecked. Click on Next.
  6. Summary - Allows you one more chance before committing to the changes. If you do not wish to make any changes, click on Finish. (Refer to figures 7 and 8.)
    Figure 7 (Click on the image to view a larger image)


    Figure 8 (Click on the image to view a larger image)

  7. Finished
    Once you have clicked on the Finish button, the New Partition Wizard will close. In a few seconds, the "Unallocated" partition will say "Formatting". When the drive has completed formatting it will display as a healthy drive with the size and type of partition below the volume name and drive letter.

    Figure 9 (Click on the image to view a larger image)


    The Disk Management tool in Windows 7/Vista looks slightly different than in Windows 2000/XP. Please see the following graphics for a comparison.

    These are the options for a new partition.
    These are the options for an existing partition. 


For more information see Document ID: 202291 - How do I install, format, and partition my internal PATA or SATA drive in Windows Vista?



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