Fix: Hard Disk or Partition Not Detected When Installing Windows

Although the installation process of Windows OS happens to be user-friendly to a considerable extent, a few hardware-related errors might cause disruption. At times, the Windows installer might fail to detect the presence of a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or Solid-State Drive (SSD) during the initial phase of the installation process, leading to error messages that read — We couldn’t find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load Driver. OR No drives were found. Click Load Driver to provide a mass storage driver for installation. 

Hard Disk or Partition Not Detected When Installing Windows – Possible Causes

The root cause of the error involves the HDD or the SSD not being detected by the BIOS/UEFI. The reasons for this can be traced to several factors on the hardware and software fronts.

  • Improper cable connections: The hard drive may not be detected during the Windows installation process if the cable connections are improper, leading to the error.
  • Outdated or discordant Hard Disk Drivers: Outdated or incompatible storage controller drivers can also cause the hardware device’s failure to be detected. Hence, the update of the driver software may help the cause.
  • Incorrect BIOS or UEFI settings: At times, incorrect settings in the BIOS or UEFI can also contribute to the hard drive not being detected by the system during the installation process, leading to the error in question.
  • Faulty hard drive: A faulty HDD or SSD can also contribute significantly to the error, as the system may not detect damaged hardware.
  • Faulty disk partition or format: Revisiting the disk partition and its layout can also help narrow down the problem. Faulty partitions can also lead to errors where the disk may go undetected.
  • Unassigned Drive Letter: Another potential cause of the undetected hard drive can also be encountered if no drive letter is assigned to the concerned partition. The absence of drive letters may not allow the OS installer to recognize the drive, leading to the error.

Hard disk or partition not detected when installing windows

Fix: Hard Disk or Partition Not Detected When Installing Windows

The preliminary measures to approach the possible solution to the above problem involve checking the physical connections to identify any possible faults on the part of the hard drive.

  1. Reseating cable connections for the hard drive
  2. Verifying BIOS/UEFI settings
  3. Updating storage controller drivers
  4. Verifying or repartitioning the hard drive

Exploring further, the software part, with respect to the device drivers, can be taken into account to check for possible errors in pursuit of the resolution to the problem as detailed below:

1] Reseating Cable Connections for the Hard Drive

Checking the hard drive’s physical cable connection can be the first step in this case, as improper connections can prevent the system from detecting the particular device. Reseating the cable connections or connecting the hard disk to a different port, if needed, can be an effective prelude to approaching the solution to the problem.

2] Verifying BIOS/UEFI Settings

From the hardware perspective, checking the BIOS/UEFI to see if the BIOS or UEFI detects the concerned hard drive can confirm the functionality of the concerned hardware device.

Press F5/Esc/DEL/F12 (as applicable) immediately after switching on the POWER button to enter the BIOS/UEFI and then checking the relevant IDE/SATA section to see if the hard drive is being detected or not can help in identifying if the disk is at fault.

However, there can be 2 possible scenarios in case the hard drive is not showing up in the BIOS/UEFI settings, as detailed below:

  • The current version of the BIOS can be outdated and hence can possibly be attributed to the non-detection of the device. In such cases, checking the current version of the BIOS and updating it to be the same as available online to ensure that the latest version runs on the system can help in approaching the problem’s solution.
  • If the system is equipped with the latest version of the BIOS/UEFI, but the hard drive is still not detected, the possibility of a physically damaged device cannot be ruled out. In such cases, downloading disk testing tools to check the hard drive’s functionality can help address the issue.

Read: How to Update BIOS or UEFI on Windows PC

3] Updating Storage Controller Drivers

The absence of a valid storage controller driver can also contribute to the error. Hence, downloading the compatible driver on a USB flash drive or any other removable device (considering the Operating System is unbootable or no OS installed) can help resolve the issue. The following steps can be performed to download the storage controller driver:

  • The initial step to download would require identifying the type of storage controller (SCSI, SATA, IDE, etc.) by checking the manual or the documentation, followed by downloading the same from the manufacturer’s website into the removable device.
  • Restart the installation and proceed to the point where the error is encountered reading—No driver found. Click Load Driver to provide a mass storage driver for installation.

hdd nt dtd

  • Clicking the Load Driver option after inserting the removable media will ensure that Windows searches for the driver on all the available devices and lists all the available ones.
  • Once the list of drivers is displayed by Windows, selecting the right option and proceeding with the installation may possibly resolve the issue.

4] Verifying or Repartitioning the Hard Drive

Since improper or incorrect partitioning of the hard disk can be a prime cause for the error, verifying the presently created partitions for adequately available storage or repartitioning the drive once again can contribute to eliminating the error.

Although third-party utilities are available to partition the hard drive, using Windows’s own partition manager (Diskpart) is recommended.

Note: These commands must be executed on the Command Prompt or PowerShell from the Windows Advanced Recovery. The below images will help you understand how to execute these.

The following steps can help verify the existing partitions available or repartition the same during the installation phase:

  • While continuing with the Windows installation, in the Install Now stage, press Shift + F10 to open the Command Prompt and type Diskpart

cmd dskprt

  • Enter List Disk at the command prompt to verify the existing partitions and available storage space.

lst dsk

  • Since disk selection is mandatory before reinitializing the disk’s partitions, select a particular disk partition and type the select disk <number> command.

sel dsk

  • Once a disk partition is selected, type clean at the command prompt again to reset and reinitialize the entire disk partitioning for fresh allocation during installation.

cln disk

  • Once done, type exit to exit from the command prompt

dsk prt exit

The above-mentioned troubleshooting steps cover almost all aspects of the error and possible workarounds. It is, however, advisable to have the data in the system backed up before making any major changes to the PC.


I hope the post was easy to follow and you could resolve the Hard disk or partition not detected when installing Windows error. We couldn’t find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load Driver. OR No drives were found. Click Load Driver to provide a mass storage driver for installation. All point to the same issue.

Sandip Basu
Sandip has worked as an IT solutions consultant for the last 15 years and specializes in troubleshooting software and hardware.


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