Serial ATA Troubleshooter

Serial ATA Troubleshooter



Troubleshoot a wide variety of issues, most notably non-detection problems, with your Serial ATA drive.

StartMain Menu

    Issues
  1. The bootable Serial ATA drive in my PC was previously functioning but is now no longer detected or booting properly.
  2. The Serial ATA drive connected as a secondary storage drive in my PC was previously functioning but is now no longer detected.
  3. I am attempting a new installation of a bootable Serial ATA drive in my PC and it is not detected correctly.
  4. I am attempting a new installation of a secondary storage Serial ATA drive in my PC and it is not detected correctly.
  5. My Serial ATA drive's capacity is lower than I expected.
  6. Error messages

When the Boot Drive is No Longer Detected

Generally, if a SATA drive is configured as the bootable drive, then the computer relies on that drive to boot the computer and to launch Windows. It is the source of most of the computer's operations. So, if the computer suddenly stops detecting the bootable drive, this will almost certainly mean that the computer will fail to boot at all. Instead, some error message will occur, and it will become obvious that a serious problem has occurred.

This set of troubleshooting steps will attempt to get the drive detected again, or to conclude whether the drive has failed and should be replaced.
Click here to see further information about error messages.

One error in particular, however, is more important than others to watch out for. If a "SMART error" has recently appeared on your computer, this generally means drive failure is imminent or has already occurred. If you have received a SMART error, we strongly recommend that you stop everything and make an immediate backup of any and all important data contained on this drive that is not already backed up.
See the section on SMART errors for more information.

Please click here to continue troubleshooting.

When the storage drive is no longer detected

If a Serial ATA drive, installed as additional storage in your computer, was previously detected but is no longer detected, this set of troubleshooting steps will attempt to get the drive detected again, or to conclude whether the drive has failed and should be replaced.

If a "SMART error" has recently appeared on your computer, this generally means drive failure is imminent or has already occurred. If you have received a SMART error, we strongly recommend that you stop everything and make an immediate backup of any and all important data contained on this drive that is not already backed up.
See the section on SMART errors for more information.

Please click here to continue troubleshooting.

Prepare the Storage Drive

Once you connect a new Serial ATA drive in your computer as additional storage, there remains more to do to get your drive working.

First, please see Document ID: 196169 for more information on installing drives and Document ID: 188411 about the proper drivers in Windows (though if your computer's boot drive is SATA, there should be no need for additional drivers).

Click here to continue.

Capacity questions

If your drive is larger than 2 Terabytes, please see Document ID: 218691 and Document ID: 218619.

If your drive is otherwise displaying a lower capacity than you believe was advertised, please see Document ID: 194563 for all relevant information.

BIOS

The BIOS is a basic status monitor for the state of your computer and its devices.

Access the BIOS by rebooting the computer and, while it is in the process of booting, before the Windows screen appears, press the key that will open the BIOS. This key will vary by computer make and model, but it is often Escape, Delete, F1, or F2. Consult your computer manufacturer if you are unable to enter the BIOS.

Here are a few tips:

  • Sometimes the reboot will proceed too quickly for you to be able to press the BIOS key in time. In this case, shut down the computer and wait for it to cool a little (probably at least 5 minutes). Then boot the computer again and retry.
  • See this webpage for more tips on dealing with your BIOS.

Please keep in mind that these contain information that has not been fully verified by Seagate, nor does Seagate possess in-depth or exhaustive knowledge of your motherboard BIOS, since the BIOS is the property of a different company.

Most new computers will automatically detect devices through the system setup program (CMOS or BIOS). As the system starts, the auto-detect feature may display the drive model number on screen. Seagate drive model numbers begin with the letters "ST". Some Serial ATA BIOS have a system setup that is not contained within the normal motherboard BIOS. If this is the case, the Serial ATA drive will only be displayed in this Serial ATA BIOS message. Please consult the motherboard or Serial ATA controller documentation for assistance with entering into the Serial ATA BIOS setup.
(Click to expand first image)
(Click to expand second image)

Before proceeding, please ensure that the SATA port to which your drive is connected is enabled. If in doubt, enable all SATA ports unless instructed otherwise by the BIOS.

    Please select an answer:
  1. Please click here if the drive is not detected in the BIOS at all.
  2. Please click here if the drive is detected in the BIOS.

Verify Cabling

The cause of non-detection may be faulty cabling.

  1. Power down your computer.
  2. Replace the power cable and the data cable for the drive in question with cables that are known to be in good working order.
  3. Power the computer on and retry detection.

If the drive is still not detected, we must ensure the safety of your data.
Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?

    Please select an answer:
  1. Backed up elsewhere / I do not need to recover the data.
  2. I need to recover the data.

Alternative Installation

Since the drive is not detected in the BIOS, you can attempt to access and perform diagnostics on the drive in one of two ways:

    Please select an option:
  1. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind).
  2. Connect the drive as an additional (storage) drive in a second computer with a Serial ATA interface.

Connect in an External Enclosure

If connecting the drive in another computer did not allow you to access the drive, or if you do not have another computer available, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done beyond replacement.
    Please replace the drive. Please contact Seagate Recovery Services for assistance in recovering your data.

Once your drive is replaced, please install it according to the included instructions.

Please click here if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer. Check with the computer manufacturer for more information.

Verify Cabling

Since the drive is detected in the BIOS but has stopped booting correctly, the culprit may be faulty cabling.

  1. Power down your computer.
  2. Replace the power cable and the data cable for the drive in question with cables that are known to be in good working order.
  3. Power the computer on and retry detection.

If the problem persists, the most likely culprit may be a corrupted operating system.

Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?

    Please select an answer:
  1. Backed up elsewhere / I do not need to recover the data.
  2. I need to recover the data.

Repair Windows

Insert and boot from your Windows install disc to perform a Windows Repair/Restore.

  1. Disconnect all external storage devices such as external USB, Firewire, and eSATA drives, jump/thumb/flash drives, cameras, and printers before proceeding with a Windows repair or recovery. Failure to disconnect such devices could result in serious data corruption.
  2. Boot up the computer.
  3. Insert your Windows installation CD/DVD into the CD/DVD drive.
  4. Reboot the computer, and it should boot up into the Windows disc.
  5. Select to perform a repair or restore action, and follow the steps provided there.
  6. If the repair or restore fails, the following articles may be of assistance.

Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails in Windows 8

Windows 7 Repair & recovery
After you install a device or update a driver for a device, Windows Vista or Windows 7 may not start
Windows 7 Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

Windows Vista Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

If the drive successfully passes the diagnostics (but the Windows repair/recovery failed), then the drive itself is most probably safe to continue using. You should therefore attempt to erase the drive and reinstall the operating system.
The simplest way to reinstall the operating system (and probably erase the data, though that does not happen every time) is to insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. The option to repair Windows should appear as well as an option to reinstall Windows. Since the repair has failed, simply choose to reinstall Windows.

This will very probably erase all data on the drive.

If that fails to reinstall Windows, a stronger erase is probably required. Seagate's utility SeaTools for DOS can perform a quick, a timed, or a full erasure (known as a "zero-fill") of the drive. In this case, a full zero-fill is probably the best option. This can take many hours depending on many factors including the drive capacity, so leave adequate time for this. If you are short on time, attempt a timed zero-fill of at least a few minutes.
Then insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. You should be able to install Windows as if from scratch.

Connect in an External Enclosure

To return the drive to proper working order, we must attempt to repair or reinstall Windows. This will result in erasing the data on the drive.
Before putting your data at risk, you should make a backup.

The easiest way to do that is to connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to a different computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. Begin the backup action. If you are backing up the data to a different external drive, you may simply drag and drop.
    Creating two different complete backups of your data, on two different storage media, is strongly recommended.
  5. Please click here to proceed to the next step once the backups are complete.

If you were unable to access the data, please contact Seagate Recovery Services.

Repair Windows

Now that the data is backed up, insert and boot from your Windows install disc to perform a Windows Repair/Restore.

  1. Disconnect all external storage devices such as external USB, Firewire, and eSATA drives and jump/thumb/flash drives before proceeding with a Windows repair or recovery. Failure to disconnect such devices could result in serious data corruption.
  2. Boot up the computer.
  3. Insert your Windows installation CD/DVD into the CD/DVD drive.
  4. Reboot the computer, and it should boot up into the Windows disc.
  5. Select to perform a repair or restore action, and follow the steps provided there.
  6. If the repair or restore fails, the following articles may be of assistance.

Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails in Windows 8

Windows 7 Repair & recovery
After you install a device or update a driver for a device, Windows Vista or Windows 7 may not start
Windows 7 Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

Windows Vista Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

If the drive successfully passes the diagnostics (but the Windows repair/recovery failed), then the drive itself is most probably safe to continue using. You should therefore attempt to erase the drive and reinstall the operating system.
The simplest way to reinstall the operating system (and probably erase the data, though that does not happen every time) is to insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. The option to repair Windows should appear as well as an option to reinstall Windows. Since the repair has failed, simply choose to reinstall Windows.

This will very probably erase all data on the drive.

If that fails to reinstall Windows, a stronger erase is probably required. Seagate's utility SeaTools for DOS can perform a quick, a timed, or a full erasure (known as a "zero-fill") of the drive. In this case, a full zero-fill is probably the best option. This can take many hours depending on many factors including the drive capacity, so leave adequate time for this. If you are short on time, attempt a timed zero-fill of at least a few minutes.
Then insert the Windows CD/DVD in the CD/DVD drive and then reboot the computer. You should be able to install Windows as if from scratch.

Is the data backed up?

Since the drive is not detected in the BIOS, unfortunately the chance of recovering the data is lower than otherwise. You can attempt to access and perform diagnostics on the drive in one of two ways:

    Please select an option:
  1. Connect the drive in a second computer with a Serial ATA interface.
  2. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind).

Connect in an External Enclosure

If connecting the drive in another computer did not allow you to access the data, or if you do not have another computer available, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done. Please contact Seagate Recovery Services for assistance in recovering your data.
Click here if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer. Check with the computer manufacturer for more information.

Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard.

  1. Create a SeaTools for DOS bootable CD. See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.
  2. Insert the CD in the CD drive.
  3. Power down the computer.
  4. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  5. Boot the computer to the CD.
  6. Run short and long drive self tests on the drive (remember to doublecheck the model number of the drive you select for the tests).
    Click here for more information on what the tests reveal at the SeaTools error messages section of this troubleshooter.
  7. If the diagnostics reveal no problem, then the booting problem means a different problem exists in your original computer. We recommend you contact the computer manufacturer for further support.
  8. Remove the SeaTools for DOS CD.
  9. Reboot the computer and launch Windows normally.
  10. Attempt to access the data on the drive, in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.
    Back up your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information. An external USB drive would be the simplest solution.

Please click here if it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, even after you have enabled all SATA ports on the motherboard and are using known-good cabling.

Connect in an External Enclosure

If connecting the drive in another computer did not allow you to access the data, or if you do not have another computer available, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done. Please contact Seagate Recovery Services for assistance in recovering your data.

Click here if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

Since the drive functions properly when connected in the external enclosure, the drive itself is in good working order.

Please consult the manufacturers of the computer(s) in which the drive was not detected for further troubleshooting assistance.

Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard, as an additional storage drive.

  1. Create a SeaTools for DOS bootable CD. See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.
  2. Insert the CD in the CD drive.
  3. Power down the computer.
  4. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  5. Boot the computer to the CD.
  6. Run short and long drive self tests on the drive (remember to doublecheck the model number of the drive you select for the tests).
    Click here for more information on what the tests reveal at the SeaTools error messages section of this troubleshooter.
  7. If the diagnostics reveal no problem, then the booting problem means a different problem exists in your original computer. We recommend you contact the computer manufacturer for further support.
  8. Remove the SeaTools for DOS CD.
  9. Reboot the computer and launch Windows normally.
  10. Attempt to access the data on the drive, in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.
    Back up your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information. An external USB drive would be the simplest solution.

Please click here if it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, even after you have enabled all SATA ports on the motherboard and are using known-good cabling.

Check the Partition Status

Please check the status of the drive in Disk Management.

  1. Windows 8: Press the Windows key (a) + X and select Computer Management.
    Windows 7/Vista/XP: Right-click on (My) Computer and choose Manage.
  2. Select Disk Management.
  3. Locate the storage drive in the lower window. Disk 0 is usually the boot drive. Disk 1 or Disk 2 may be the additional storage drive.

Please click here if the drive is not detected in the lower window of Disk Management at all.

Please click here if the drive is detected there and the colored bar to the right is still dark blue.

Please click here if your drive is detected there but the colored bar is black or some other color.

BIOS

If the drive is not even detected in Disk Management, we must confirm it is detected at the level of the motherboard. We can do that by checking in the BIOS. The BIOS is a basic status monitor for the state of your computer and its devices.

Access the BIOS by rebooting the computer and, while it is in the process of booting, before the Windows screen appears, press the key that will open the BIOS. This key will vary by computer make and model, but it is often Escape, Delete, F1, or F2. Consult your computer manufacturer if you are unable to enter the BIOS.

Here are a few tips:

  • Sometimes the reboot will proceed too quickly for you to be able to press the BIOS key in time. In this case, shut down the computer and wait for it to cool a little (probably at least 5 minutes). Then boot the computer again and retry.
  • See this webpage for more tips on dealing with your BIOS.

Please keep in mind that these contain information that has not been fully verified by Seagate, nor does Seagate possess in-depth or exhaustive knowledge of your motherboard BIOS, since the BIOS is the property of a different company.

Most new computers will automatically detect devices through the system setup program (CMOS or BIOS). As the system starts, the auto-detect feature may display the drive model number on screen. Seagate drive model numbers begin with the letters "ST". Some Serial ATA BIOS have a system setup that is not contained within the normal motherboard BIOS. If this is the case, the Serial ATA drive will only be displayed in this Serial ATA BIOS message. Please consult the motherboard or Serial ATA controller documentation for assistance with entering into the Serial ATA BIOS setup.
(Click to expand first image)
(Click to expand second image)

Before proceeding, please ensure that the SATA port to which your drive is connected is enabled. If in doubt, enable all SATA ports unless instructed otherwise by the BIOS.

Please click here if the drive is not detected in the BIOS at all.

Please click here if the drive is detected in the BIOS.

Verify Cabling

The cause of non-detection may be faulty cabling.

  1. Power down your computer.
  2. Replace the power cable and the data cable for the drive in question with cables that are known to be in good working order.
  3. Power the computer on and retry detection.

If the drive is still not detected, we must ensure the safety of your data.
Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?

    Please select an answer:
  1. Backed up elsewhere / I do not need to recover the data.
  2. I need to recover the data.

Alternative Installation

Since the drive is no longer detected by your computer, it has probably failed.

If you wish, you can try troubleshooting it further in either of these two ways:

    Please select an option:
  1. Connect the drive in a second computer with a Serial ATA interface.
  2. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind).

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard.

  1. Power down the computer.
  2. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  3. Boot the computer.
  4. Once Windows has started, attempt to access the data on the drive, in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.
    Back up your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information. An external USB drive would be the simplest solution.

If it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, even after you have enabled all SATA ports on the motherboard and are using known-good cabling, please check the warranty status online and begin a warranty replacement procedure.

Connect in an External Enclosure

If connecting the drive in another computer did not allow you to access the data, or if you do not have another computer available, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done. Please check the warranty status online and begin a warranty replacement procedure.

Click here if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy. You can further confirm the drive's health with a SeaTools for Windows diagnostic test.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer. Check with the computer manufacturer for more information.

Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Reset the Drive Letter

If the drive is no longer detected in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer but it is displaying a blue bar in Disk Management, Windows has probably lost track of the drive letter. Please follow these steps:

  1. Attempt to perform a checkdisk action on the drive. See Document ID: 184611 for instructions.
  2. Remove any potential conflicts:
    1. Power down the computer.
    2. Disconnect all other storage devices, external hard drives, thumb drives, printers, and cameras.
    3. Power the computer up again and retry detection.
    4. If the drive is detected properly, add the disconnected devices one by one until you find the one that is causing the problem.
    5. Reassign devices to unused drive letters to avoid conflicts in the future. See this article for instructions.

If these steps did not resolve the problem, we must ensure the safety of your data.
Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?

    Please select an answer:
  1. Backed up elsewhere / I do not need to recover the data.
  2. I need to recover the data.

Diagnostics and Reformat

Since the data is backed up or you do not need it, we can proceed to diagnostics and reformatting the drive.

  1. Perform a diagnostic on the drive with SeaTools for DOS. See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.
    If the drive fails, please begin a warranty replacement order online.
  2. If the drive passes, reformat the drive using Windows Disk Management.
    Formatting the drive will erase all the data on the drive.

Lost Partition

A black bar in Disk Management means that the partition has become lost. At this point, we must ensure the safety of your data.
Is the data on this drive backed up elsewhere, or do you need to try to recover it?

    Please select an answer:
  1. Backed up elsewhere / I do not need to recover the data.
  2. I need to recover the data.

Connect in an External Enclosure

To attempt to access the data, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. Back up your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information. An external USB drive would be the simplest solution.
  5. If the drive is not detected, a data recovery software such as Seagate File Recovery is the best option. If data recovery software is insufficient, please contact Seagate Recovery Services.
  6. Once the data is recovered, perform a diagnostic on and reformat the drive. Please click here for instructions.

Not Detected in Disk Management

  1. If the drive is detected in the BIOS but not in Windows Disk Management, the cause of non-detection may be faulty cabling.
    1. Power down your computer.
    2. Replace the power cable and the data cable for the drive in question with cables that are known to be in good working order.
    3. Power the computer on and retry detection.
  2. If the drive is still not detected in Disk Management, please perform a diagnostic on the drive using SeaTools for DOS. Please see Document ID: 201271 for instructions. If the drive fails the diagnostic, please begin a warranty replacement procedure online here.
  3. If the drive passes the diagnostic but is still not detected in Disk Management, please attempt to update the Serial ATA drivers for your motherboard. Check with the motherboard manufacturer for assistance.
  4. If no update exists or the update fails to resolve the problem, please click here.

Alternative Installation

Since the drive is not detected in the BIOS, unfortunately the chance of recovering the data is lower than otherwise. You can attempt to access and perform diagnostics on the drive in one of two ways:

    Please select an answer:
  1. Connect the drive in a second computer with a Serial ATA interface
  2. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind)

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard.

  1. Power down the computer.
  2. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  3. Boot the computer.
  4. Once Windows has started, attempt to access the data on the drive, in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.
    Back up your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information. An external USB drive would be the simplest solution.

If it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, even after you have enabled all SATA ports on the motherboard and are using known-good cabling, please click here.

Connect in an External Enclosure

If connecting the drive in another computer did not allow you to access the data, or if you do not have another computer available, you can connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done. Please contact Seagate Recovery Services.

Click here if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy. You can further confirm the drive's health with a SeaTools for Windows diagnostic test.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer. Check with the computer manufacturer for more information.

Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Uninstall in Device Manager

Since the drive is still healthy according to the diagnostic and is still detected in the BIOS, the fact that Windows no longer detects it properly points to a problem with your Windows installation.

Please follow this procedure:

  1. Windows 8: Press Windows key () + X and select Computer Management.
    Windows 7/Vista/XP: Right-click on (My) Computer and select Manage.
  2. Select Device Manager.
  3. In Device Manager, click the + sign next to Disk drives to expand the menu.
  4. Locate the storage drive that we have been working on. It is usually identified by model number, beginning with ST.
    Be sure that you have identified which is the boot drive (ie, the main drive) and which one is the storage drive, the one we are troubleshooting at this time. If you are unsure, go back into the BIOS to identify which drive is which.
  5. Right-click on the storage drive (not the boot drive) and select Uninstall.
  6. Reboot your computer.
  7. Retry detection.

If the drive is still not detected in Disk Management, you may need to repair, restore, or reinstall Windows to get it to detect the drive.
Please backup your data in full and then see these articles:
Unable to refresh or reset PC after Automatic Repair fails in Windows 8

Windows 7 Repair & recovery
After you install a device or update a driver for a device, Windows Vista or Windows 7 may not start
Windows 7 Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

Windows Vista Startup Repair: frequently asked questions

If this does not help or you do not want to do this, you can use the drive in an external enclosure.

Please click here for more information.

Getting Ready

Once you connect a new Serial ATA drive in your computer, there remains more to do to get your drive working.

First of all, often, users want to install a new drive in order to upgrade to a larger hard drive in their computer. This usually means that the user wants to copy all the data from the older hard drive to the newer drive, then install the newer drive as the bootable drive. To upgrade to a new drive, copying your data from the old drive to a new one, see Document ID: 201991.

See also Document ID: 196169 for more information on installing drives and Document ID: 188411 about the proper drivers in Windows.

Click here to continue.

Install Windows

If you are simply going to install a new copy of Windows (the operating system), you first need to format and partition the drive, and then install Windows:

  1. Disconnect all external storage devices such as USB, Firewire, and eSATA drives, jump/thumb/flash drives, cameras, and printers before proceeding with a Windows repair or recovery. Failure to disconnect such devices could result in serious data corruption.
  2. Insert your Windows installation CD/DVD into the CD/DVD drive of your computer.
  3. Power down the computer.
  4. Install the drive physically into the computer.
  5. Boot up the computer.
  6. The Windows installation process should begin, as the computer boots from the installation CD/DVD.
  7. Follow the guidance of the install program.
    It will take you through a process of several steps, including partitioning and formatting the drive. You can choose the default setting - one big partition - or choose to partition the drive into multiple different partitions, as you prefer. It will then install Windows.
  8. Once it is complete, it will most probably ask you to remove the CD/DVD and reboot the computer. Once this is done, you should be able to boot into Windows, and the install is complete.

If you correctly installed the drive and it is not detected in the BIOS, please click here to proceed to the next page.

If you have a 3TB or 4TB drive and the installation process indicates that the available capacity of the drive is much less than 3TB or 4TB, please see Document ID: 218691 and Document ID: 218619 for assistance.

Check Motherboard Age

Some older computer motherboards are unable to support modern Serial ATA drives.
If your motherboard only supports SATA1 (1.5 Gbits/sec transfer rate) and you are installing a SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) or SATA3 (6.0 Gbits/sec) drive, the motherboard may not detect the drive. There are four options in that case:

  • Obtain an add-on controller card that can support more modern drives and connect the drive to that card.
  • (For Barracuda 7200.11 drives and older, as well as certain Barracuda 7200.12 models) You can place a jumper on the drive to slow it down to 1.5 Gbits/sec, so older motherboards can support it.
  • Use an older drive.
  • Update your computer equipment or obtain a newer computer.

Please click here if your computer does support SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) drives at least.

BIOS

The BIOS is a basic status monitor for the state of your computer and its devices.

Access the BIOS by rebooting the computer and, while it is in the process of booting, before the Windows screen appears, press the key that will open the BIOS. This key will vary by computer make and model, but it is often Escape, Delete, F1, or F2. Consult your computer manufacturer if you are unable to enter the BIOS.

Here are a few tips:

  • Sometimes the reboot will proceed too quickly for you to be able to press the BIOS key in time. In this case, shut down the computer and wait for it to cool a little (probably at least 5 minutes). Then boot the computer again and retry.
  • See this webpage for more tips on dealing with your BIOS.

Please keep in mind that these contain information that has not been fully verified by Seagate, nor does Seagate possess in-depth or exhaustive knowledge of your motherboard BIOS, since the BIOS is the property of a different company.

Most new computers will automatically detect devices through the system setup program (CMOS or BIOS). As the system starts, the auto-detect feature may display the drive model number on screen. Seagate drive model numbers begin with the letters "ST". Some Serial ATA BIOS have a system setup that is not contained within the normal motherboard BIOS. If this is the case, the Serial ATA drive will only be displayed in this Serial ATA BIOS message. Please consult the motherboard or Serial ATA controller documentation for assistance with entering into the Serial ATA BIOS setup.
(Click to expand first image)
(Click to expand second image)

Before proceeding, please ensure that the SATA port to which your drive is connected is enabled. If in doubt, enable all SATA ports unless instructed otherwise by the BIOS.

If the drive is now detected in the BIOS, please proceed with the installation of Windows as mentioned previously.

Please click here if the drive is still not detected in the BIOS at all.

Alternative Installation

Since the drive is not detected in the BIOS, you can attempt to access and perform diagnostics on the drive in one of two ways:

    Please select an answer:
  1. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind). Click here for instructions.
  2. Click here if you can connect the drive in a second computer that you have confirmed has at least a SATA-II (3.0Gbits/sec) interface.

Connect in an External Enclosure

Please connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done beyond replacement.
    Please replace the drive.

Once your drive is replaced, please install it according to the included instructions.
Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Please continue to the next step if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer.

Please contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting assistance.

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard, as an additional storage drive.

  1. Create a SeaTools for DOS bootable CD. See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.
  2. Insert the CD in the CD drive.
  3. Power down the computer.
  4. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  5. Boot the computer to the CD.
  6. Run short and long drive self tests on the drive (remember to doublecheck the model number of the drive you select for the tests).
    Click here for more information on what the tests reveal at the SeaTools error messages section of this troubleshooter.
  7. If the diagnostics reveal no problem, then the booting problem means a different problem exists in your original computer. We recommend you contact the computer manufacturer for further support.
  8. Remove the SeaTools for DOS CD.
  9. Reboot the computer and launch Windows normally.
  10. Attempt to access it in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.

Click here if it is detected in the BIOS but does not in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.

If it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, there is no more troubleshooting to be done beyond replacement. Please replace the drive.

Once your drive is replaced, please install it according to the included instructions.
Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Troubleshoot the Computer

Since the drive is properly detected in the second computer, and if it passed the diagnostic tests performed during the previous step, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer.

Please contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting assistance.

Prepare the Storage Drive

Once you connect a new Serial ATA drive in your computer as additional storage, there remains more to do to get your drive working.

First, please see Document ID: 196169 for more information on installing drives and Document ID: 188411 about the proper drivers in Windows (though if your computer's boot drive is SATA, there should be no need for additional drivers).



Click here to continue.

Format the Drive

Before the drive can display in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer, it must be formatted in Windows. Please see the following articles for instructions:

Instructions in Windows 8/7/Vista
Instructions in Windows XP

Please click here if the drive is not detected in the Disk Management application.

Motherboard Compatibility

Some older computer motherboards are unable to support modern Serial ATA drives.
If your motherboard only supports SATA1 (1.5 Gbits/sec transfer rate) and you are installing a SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) or SATA3 (6.0 Gbits/sec) drive, the motherboard may not detect the drive. There are four options in that case:

  • Obtain an add-on controller card that can support more modern drives and connect the drive to that card.
  • (For Barracuda 7200.11 drives and older, as well as certain Barracuda 7200.12 models) You can place a jumper on the drive to slow it down to 1.5 Gbits/sec, so older motherboards can support it.
  • Use an older drive.
  • Update your computer equipment or obtain a newer computer.

Please click here if your computer does support SATA2 (3.0 Gbits/sec) drives at least.

BIOS

The BIOS is a basic status monitor for the state of your computer and its devices.

Access the BIOS by rebooting the computer and, while it is in the process of booting, before the Windows screen appears, press the key that will open the BIOS. This key will vary by computer make and model, but it is often Escape, Delete, F1, or F2. Consult your computer manufacturer if you are unable to enter the BIOS.

Here are a few tips:

  • Sometimes the reboot will proceed too quickly for you to be able to press the BIOS key in time. In this case, shut down the computer and wait for it to cool a little (probably at least 5 minutes). Then boot the computer again and retry.
  • See this webpage for more tips on dealing with your BIOS.

Please keep in mind that these contain information that has not been fully verified by Seagate, nor does Seagate possess in-depth or exhaustive knowledge of your motherboard BIOS, since the BIOS is the property of a different company.

Most new computers will automatically detect devices through the system setup program (CMOS or BIOS). As the system starts, the auto-detect feature may display the drive model number on screen. Seagate drive model numbers begin with the letters "ST". Some Serial ATA BIOS have a system setup that is not contained within the normal motherboard BIOS. If this is the case, the Serial ATA drive will only be displayed in this Serial ATA BIOS message. Please consult the motherboard or Serial ATA controller documentation for assistance with entering into the Serial ATA BIOS setup.
(Click to expand first image)
(Click to expand second image)

Before proceeding, please ensure that the SATA port to which your drive is connected is enabled. If in doubt, enable all SATA ports unless instructed otherwise by the BIOS.

If the drive is now detected in the BIOS, please proceed with the installation of Windows as mentioned previously.

Please click here if the drive is still not detected in the BIOS at all.

Alternative Installation

Since the drive is not detected in the BIOS, you can attempt to access and perform diagnostics on the drive in one of two ways:

  1. Install the drive in an external enclosure and connect the drive via USB to a second computer (of any kind). Click here for instructions.
  2. Click here if you can connect the drive in a second computer that you have confirmed has at least a SATA-II (3.0Gbits/sec) interface.

Connect in an External Enclosure

Please connect the drive via an external enclosure or adapter that will connect to the computer from one of the USB ports on the outside of the computer.
You will need:

  • a working computer; it can be either a desktop or a notebook
  • an external USB enclosure
    A USB enclosure or SATA-USB connection adapter can be found at many computer stores and is inexpensive.
  • two storage media for backing up your data - internal hard drive, external hard drive, CD, DVD, online storage, tape, or some combination.
  1. Connect the drive inside the enclosure or to the adapter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  2. Power on the drive and enclosure, and connect it to the computer via USB. The computer can be powered on when you do this.
  3. The drive should appear in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer.
  4. If the drive is not detected, follow the steps of our external drive troubleshooter to see if you can get the drive detected.
    If the drive is still not detected, there is no more troubleshooting to be done beyond replacement.
    Please replace the drive.

Once your drive is replaced, please install it according to the included instructions.
Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Please continue to the next step if the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure.

Troubleshoot the Computer

If the drive is detected normally in (My) Computer and/or Windows/File Explorer when installed in this external enclosure, this means the drive is healthy.

However, since we already tested the drive in the original computer and it was not detected even at the most basic level, the BIOS, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer.

Please contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting assistance.

Connect in a Second Computer

If you have access to a second computer with a Serial ATA interface, you can (after powering down the computer, of course) connect the drive to another of the Serial ATA ports on the motherboard, as an additional storage drive.

  1. Create a SeaTools for DOS bootable CD. See Document ID: 201271 for instructions.
  2. Insert the CD in the CD drive.
  3. Power down the computer.
  4. Connect the drive using known-good cabling to another of the SATA ports on your motherboard.
  5. Boot the computer to the CD.
  6. Run short and long drive self tests on the drive (remember to doublecheck the model number of the drive you select for the tests).
    Click here for more information on what the tests reveal at the SeaTools error messages section of this troubleshooter.
  7. If the diagnostics reveal no problem, then the booting problem means a different problem exists in your original computer. We recommend you contact the computer manufacturer for further support.
  8. Remove the SeaTools for DOS CD.
  9. Reboot the computer and launch Windows normally.
  10. Attempt to access it in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.

Click here if it is detected in the BIOS but does not in (My) Computer or Windows/File Explorer.

If it is not detected in the BIOS of this second computer, there is no more troubleshooting to be done beyond replacement. Please replace the drive.

Once your drive is replaced, please install it according to the included instructions.
Seagate also recommends that you backup your data immediately. See Document ID: 190751 for more information.

Troubleshoot the Computer

Since the drive is properly detected in the second computer, and if it passed the diagnostic tests performed during the previous step, the source of the problem is either a limitation or another problem with the first computer.

Please contact the manufacturer for troubleshooting assistance.

Error Messages

What error message is displaying?

    Please select an answer:
  1. SMART error.
  2. Black screen when Windows is booting.
  3. "Delayed write failure" error message.
  4. Errors from SeaTools.

SMART Error

Under what circumstances did the SMART error occur?

    Please select an answer:
  1. After running a SeaTools test.
  2. It appeared suddenly, without warning.
  3. A third-party SMART software issued an alert.

SeaTools

Seagate uses the SeaTools diagnostic software to test the SMART status of the drive. It also dives deeper to test the drive on other levels.

SeaTools' PASS or FAIL is the standard that Seagate uses to determine whether a hard drive is still in good working order, or is failing. A drive may be failing but continue to function normally for a short time, so SeaTools is often a better judge of whether the hard drive is failing than the drive's functionality at any given moment.
Therefore, if SeaTools indicates that the drive is failing, Seagate recommends backing up your data immediately and replacing your drive.

Please see our Warranty Information page for replacement information.
See Document ID: 203971 for more information on SMART errors.

Drive Self-Test

Each Seagate hard drive engages in regular self-tests, and most computers automatically run regular SMART tests on the hard drive(s) installed on them. SMART tests indicate whether a drive is approaching imminent failure. Thus, if a SMART error appears suddenly, it virtually always means, unfortunately, that the drive is about to fail and should be replaced.

See Document ID: 184619 on SMART errors and Document ID: 203971, on the difference between third-party SMART monitoring programs and Seagate's SeaTools for more information.

See our Warranty Information page for help replacing a failing drive.

Third-party SMART

Please see Document ID: 203971 having to do with third-party SMART programs.

Black Screen

See Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 314503.

Alternately, this could be caused by the bootable drive's having failed or gone undetected . You may need to begin troubleshooting at the first step of the troubleshooting procedure for bootable drives.

Please click here to begin troubleshooting there.

Delayed Write Failure

If you encounter a delayed write failure, please check the following things:

  1. Confirm the cable is firmly connected to the drive.
  2. If the drive cables come loose repeatedly, use locking SATA cables or reposition the drive in the case so that pressure/tautness on the cable is reduced.
  3. If the problem continues, consider replacing your SATA cable.
  4. Confirm you are using the current SATA driver from the manufacturer of your SATA motherboard/controller. See Document ID: 005708 for more information.
  5. Test the drive using SeaTools for Windows or SeaTools for DOS.

SeaTools

SeaTools tests Seagate Solid State Drives for electronic and mechanical well-being and gives a PASS or FAIL result.

A FAIL result means two things:

  1. You should make sure your data is completely backed up. Please contact Seagate Recovery Services for assistance in recovering your data.
  2. You should replace the drive.

Please see Document ID: 206595 for more information on related error messages.
Tutorial for SeaTools for DOS
Tutorial for SeaTools for Windows





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