Solid State Drives (SSD) are quickly replacing the hard drives in our desktops and laptops. Faster read/write speeds, lighter weight, and no mechanical parts make SSDs a more reliable storage option. Besides, SSDs also offer better firmware level encryption for those who are more concerned about their data and privacy.
Since it’s already been established that SSDs can fall victim to errors, the obvious step to take is to determine what those errors are. There could be a few possible reasons behind why your SSD is not showing up on Windows PC
SSD Not Showing Up Because The Drive Letter Is Missing Or Conflicting:
In case the drive letter of the SSD is missing or conflicting with another disk, Windows OS will be unable to recognize it. It’s fine because you can assign a new drive letter for the SSD in Windows Disk Management manually. To assign a new drive letter, follow the steps:
- Right-click on This PC, select Manage. Under the Storage section, click Disk Management. Or press Windows + R keys and type diskmgmt.msc in the Run box hit Enter.
- Right-click on the SSD partition and select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- Click the “Change” button, and then select a drive letter from the list and click “OK”.
SSD Not Showing Up Because It Is Not Initialized:
If you get a new SSD and it won’t show up in Windows Explorer, it’s likely in the “uninitialized” state. You must initialize a disk before the Logical Disk Manager can access it. Also, for an old SSD that shows the error ‘disk unknown not initialized‘, the result is the same.
In these two situations, to fix the problem, you can try to connect the SSD to the other working computer to check if it reports the same error. Otherwise, you need to initialize the SSD in Windows. To initialize an SSD, follow the steps:
- Open Disk Management as taught.
- Find and right-click the SSD you want to initialize, and then click Initialize Disk.
- In the Initialize Disk dialog box, select the disk(s) to initialize. You can select whether to use the master boot record (MBR) or GUID partition table (GPT) partition style.
SSD Not Showing Up Because The File System Is Not Supported:
If the above two methods do not work in your case, we need to think further. One presumption is that the file system has corrupted or Windows does not support the current file system. As investigated, the relevant file system issues are mainly displayed as ‘RAW’, ‘Free space’, or ‘Unallocated space’. To fix the file system issue, reformatting the disk would be enough.
- On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select the drive marked with SSD where you lost data, and click the Scan button.
- When the scanning finishes, find lost SSD data from “Deleted Files” or “Lost Files”. “Filter” and “Search” may also help you find lost data via file types, file names, and extensions.
- Double-click to preview lost SSD files, select desired data, and click the Recover button. Choose another safe instead of the SSD to keep the recovered data.
SSD Not Showing Up Because Of Disk Driver Issues:
Just like a hard drive, most times the SSD is detected but not showing up in My Computer because the disk driver is not installed properly. So, you can try to reinstall the SSD driver to check if it can help to fix the issue.
- Right-click on This PC, select Manage. Under the System Tools section, click Device Manager. Or press Windows + R keys and type devmgmt.msc in the Run box hit Enter.
- Go to Disk drives. It should list the storage devices that you have connected to your PC
- Right-click the SSD and press “Uninstall”.
Why Is My SSD Not Showing Up In BIOS?
To make BIOS detect the SSD, you need to configure the SSD settings in BIOS as follows:
- Restart your computer, and press the F2 key after the first screen.
- Press the Enter key to enter Config.
- Select Serial ATA and press Enter.
- Then you’ll see the SATA Controller Mode Option.
- Save your changes and restart your computer to enter BIOS.
Types of SSDs:
SSDs come in a few different shapes and sizes, and that can affect their speed, their storage capacities, and even their thermal output.
SATA III is the last evolution of an older connection option that works with both HDD and SSD. It was advantageous during the transition from HDD to SSD, as hard drive-compatible motherboards could then work with the new standard. It’s still the most common one used in modern SSDs but is by far the slowest at around 550MBps. It also involves a SATA cable connecting the drive to the motherboard, so it adds clutter.
The Peripheral Component Interconnect Express or PCI Express (PCIe) slot is typically used for graphics cards and add-in cards like USB ports and sound cards. However, there are now PCIe SSDs that can use all the additional bandwidth for exceedingly fast data transfers.
The latest-generation PCIe 4.0 drives first launched on AMD’s X570 motherboards and can deliver sequential read speeds up to 5,000MBps and write at up to 4,400MBps. Their prices are often more than double that of their SATA counterparts, and all that extra bandwidth doesn’t always equate to a big difference in real-world usage.
The smallest of the SSD designs, M.2 drives can leverage SATA or NVMe controllers (which can be a little confusing), so speeds do vary between two extremes, but in terms of physical size, M.2 drives are minuscule. They have a short pin connector and typically lie flat against a motherboard, making them extremely inconspicuous. Their compact nature can make them quite hot, though, especially for the fastest drives, so they often feature heatsinks or heat spreaders like RAM.
Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) is the underlying interface that allows almost all PCI Express and M.2 SSDs to transfer data to and from the host system. When combined with either of those physical interfaces, it allows for the fastest speeds and is what you want if you are looking for the most capable of storage.
How To Choose The Right SSD:
Choosing the right solid-state drive for you isn’t difficult, but the process can be a little overwhelming with so many brands available. In this section, we’ll show you what you want to look for when choosing a drive and offer up a few recommendations that have worked well for us. All SSDs are fast, and will feel like a great upgrade from an HDD, but when you’re spending significantly more money on a drive that provides less storage you want it to be one of the best.
You also want a reliable piece of hardware, and these are both fairly hard to gauge if you have little experience with the technology. Here are the qualities you want to look for in an SSD when you’re shopping around:
High maximum speeds:
Max read speeds are around 400MB/second, and max write speeds are around 300MB/sec (note: that’s megabytes per second). These numbers do not have to be exact. A little faster or slower won’t make a significant difference.
Good real-world speeds:
The SSD manufacturers generally will not provide real-world read and write speeds, as they’re guaranteed to be slower than the maximums. Fortunately, many online reviews contain speed test results. On Amazon, you can often find users who’ve posted screenshots of their test results (here’s an example). Seeing this data can often be discouraging because the real-world rates are quite a bit lower. If the test results reveal read and write speeds of about 2/3 of the maximum (in the sequential and 512KB block tests) you’re good to go.
If you apply this to our maximum speeds above, that comes out to read speeds of about 265MB/sec and write speeds of about 200MB/sec. If you want to figure out if a more expensive SSD is worth the money, its real-world test speeds will be higher than 2/3 of its reported maximum capabilities.
Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND flash memory:
When shopping for SSDs, you’ll run into two kinds of memory: multi-level cell (MLC) and single-level cell (SLC). The primary difference is that MLC memory can store more information on each cell. The advantage here is that it is cheaper to produce, and SLC is often cost-prohibitive for the average consumer. The downside is a higher rate of error, but an SSD with error-correcting code (we’ll discuss this momentarily) can help prevent these problems.
SATA III Support:
Most SSDs use the Serial ATA (SATA) interface, but not all use the latest version and this can limit the performance of your SSD. This is because SATA I can transfer data at 1.5 Gbps, SATA II at 3.0 Gbps, and SATA III at 6 Gbps. To ensure your SSD has enough bandwidth to transfer data as quickly as possible, you want it to be compatible with SATA III. You’ll also want to make sure your computer is SATA III compatible as well. If not, SATA III-capable drives will still work as all versions of SATA are backward-compatible. Just know that you may not get the most out of your SSD if your computer doesn’t support the most recent SATA specification.
Error-correcting code (ECC) memory does what the name implies: it provides your SSD with the ability to detect and correct common types of data corruption so you don’t end up with unusable data on your drive. An SSD with ECC memory is more reliable.
A history of reliability:
Reliability is a very hard thing to gauge, but there are a few tricks you can employ to get a good idea. First, look for an SSD that is made by a manufacturer who has been in the business for a while (I like OCZ and Crucial). The technology is fairly new, so you don’t want to go with just any company who has recently decided to jump on the solid-state bandwagon. Additionally, look at the rating each SSD receives in online shopping reviews. If it is rated a 3.5 out of 5.0 or higher, this often points to a reliable drive. When the ratings are lower, you may want to look elsewhere.
Advantages Of SSD:
Solid-state drives are becoming far more common in everything from high-end gaming PCs to entry-level laptops, and with good reason. They have several advantages over traditional hard drive storage, and embedded flash memory (eMMC).
No moving parts:
The big problem with moving parts in hard drives is that they are a significant point of failure. If any of the moving parts break, the entire drive becomes unusable. That makes traditional hard drives vulnerable to drop damage and wear over time. SSDs have their lifespan limitations, but they’re generally more durable and reliable. There are no moving parts to damage and no drive motor to break. This reliability makes SSDs great for portable, external drives, which may be subject to more rigorous use and handling.
SSDs can write or read data at incredible speeds compared to HDDs and even emacs, which is useful for transferring large blocks of data. More crucially, their random access times are in microseconds rather than milliseconds. That’s why SSD systems boot up so fast, games load so quickly, and systems based on SSD technology just feel snappy and responsive.
SSDs are smaller and lighter than previous drives. This development makes it possible to create today’s ultra-thin laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. The thinnest SSDs are just millimeters wide and only a few inches long, making them ideal for the smallest of high-speed devices.
Low failure rates:
After years of development, SSDs malfunction far less often than HDDs, and they maintain their speed throughout their lifetime, too. The low failure rates are down to widespread material improvements and features like error-correcting code (ECC) that keep SSDs on the right path.
Size and design:
SSDs can come in many different shapes and sizes, depending on how many chips they have and the overall chip arrangement. They can fit into a graphics card slot, 2.5-inch drive bays, and M.2 slots. There’s an SSD for almost any occasion, and that makes them far more versatile than other types of storage.
Every SSD has a lifespan that’s limited by wear on the drive’s ability to store the electrical charges sent to it properly. The lifespan of hard drives is usually measured in the numbers of terabytes that can be written to the drive before the flash cells degrade. That can equate to a decade or more of use for a typical buyer. Research has shown that not only do SSDs last longer than HDD counterparts, but they also last longer than experts expected.
Disadvantages of SSD:
SSDs also have disadvantages. Here are some of them.
1. Flash SSDs have limited write cycles, which is related to SSD lifespan. The SLC SSD has 100,000 write cycles, while the general entry-level SSD that usually uses MLC, has only 10,000 write cycles.
2. The Solid-State Disk is much more expensive in gigabyte than a traditional mechanical hard disk, so an upgrade to an SSD with the same GB capacity may lead to some considerable costs.
3. Capacity. Due to the high cost, the capacity of SSDs is usually less than that of HDDs.
Solid State Drives are prone to mechanical failure and physical damage due to sudden shock or drop and are also affected by logical issues just like traditional hard drives. Therefore, it’s essential to safeguard your system against viruses or malware infections which otherwise can damage the file system and cause disk errors leading to such issues.
Additionally, you can keep a backup along with a data recovery software such as Stellar Data Recovery, which comes handy when your backup is either outdated or unavailable. Also, the software lets you restore deleted data from all kinds of storage media even if the drive is corrupt, formatted, or inaccessible.
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