My computer does not recognize my second hard drive

As long as your secondary hard drive is properly configured and connected to both the computer’s motherboard and power supply, then the Input/Output System BIOS (Basic) will automatically detect it. However, the BIOS cannot automatically detect a dead hard drive. This information narrows down your power cord troubleshooting tasks. For most modern computers, this is as simple as making sure everything is plugged in. If your computer is older and uses Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) drives, only then does cable checking become difficult. Instructions
Restart your computer and press the setup key before Windows starts. The setup key is typically “Esc” or one of the function keys. Wait for BIOS to load and then look for two hard drives in hardware list that appears. If your secondary drive didn’t show up anything from within Windows then it probably won’t show up in the BIOS either. Turn off the computer and unplug it from the wall.

Open your computer and look at the hard drives. Hard drives are usually housed in a metal “cage” located on the front of the computer and underneath the optical drives. Check the back of the hard drive. There should be two cables connected to the rear. If you don’t find cables connected, or just one, find cables that match your primary drive’s cables and attach them to the back of your secondary hard drive. If you find the two cables connected, pull out and attach them, just in case they were incorrectly attached.

Determine whether your computer uses Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) hard drives or whether the drives are Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE). The data cable on a SATA drive is about 1/4-inch wide and usually red in color. An IDE drive uses a 2-inch wide cable, usually gray in color. If your drives are IDE, then it’s possible your hard drives are using incorrect jumper settings.

Correct the IDE drives jumper setting, if any are present. Different brands of hard drives use their own bridging schemes, so read the jumper diagram on the hard drive label. For two IDE drives to share a cable, the drive attached to the end of the cable requires a “master” configuration, and the next climb on the cable requires a “slave” setting. When each unit uses its own cable, you must set both to “master”. To change the setting, pull the jumper off the two pins it’s already covering and connect it to the correct pins as shown in the diagram on the unit.

Make sure the data cable connected to your secondary hard drive is connected to the motherboard. If the cable is not connected, attach it to the motherboard in a compatible socket. This jack is located next to the one your main unit is connected to.

Plug the computer into the wall and turn it on. Boot into the BIOS and then look for your secondary drive in the hardware list. This time, if your computer still doesn’t see the secondary hard drive, there’s a chance that it’s dead. Check the cables once more, but if that doesn’t work, take the drive out and replace it with a new one.

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