Resolving the 'Drives Not Detected' Issue During Windows Installation: A Guide for XOTIC PC Users

Modified on Thu, 19 Oct 2023 at 10:54 AM

Setting up a new computer or refurbishing an old one can be an exhilarating experience. However, one of the common issues users sometimes face during the Windows installation process is that the system doesn't recognize or display the drives. This hiccup can be a source of frustration, especially when you're eager to get started with your PC.

But don't fret! This guide will walk you through some potential solutions to help you get back on track with your Windows installation.

Why Aren't My Drives Showing Up?

There are a few reasons why your drives may not appear during the Windows installation:

  • Drive Connection Issues: The drive might not be properly connected to the motherboard.

  • Drive Format: If the drive is not formatted correctly or is using a file system that's not recognized by Windows, it may not appear.

  • Driver Issues: Some drives, especially newer NVMe or SSDs, might require specific drivers to be loaded during the Windows installation process.

  • BIOS/UEFI Settings: Incorrect settings in your computer's BIOS or UEFI might prevent the drive from being detected.

Steps to Resolve the Issue:

1. Check Physical Connections

  • For Desktops: Power down your computer, open the case, and ensure that the SATA or NVMe drive is securely connected to both the motherboard and the power supply.

  • For Laptops: Ensure the drive is seated correctly in its bay. You may need to consult your laptop's manual or reach out to XOTIC PC support for guidance.

2. Examine BIOS/UEFI Settings

  • Restart your computer and enter the BIOS or UEFI settings (typically by pressing a key like F2, F10, or DEL during startup).

  • Ensure that the drive mode is set to AHCI if you're using an SSD.

  • Check if the drive is listed in the BIOS/UEFI. If it isn't, there might be a hardware issue or a connection problem.

3. Format the Drive

If you're using a new drive or one that has been previously formatted with a non-Windows file system, you might need to format it:

  • On the Windows installation screen, press Shift + F10 to open a command prompt.

  • Type diskpart and press Enter.

  • Type list disk. Identify your drive from the list.

  • Type select disk # (replace # with the number corresponding to your drive).

  • Type clean, then create partition primary, followed by format fs=ntfs quick.

  • Finally, type exit to close the diskpart utility.

Restart the installation process, and the drive should now be recognized.

4. Load Necessary Drivers

For some specific drives, especially newer models, you might need to provide drivers during the Windows installation:

  • Prepare a USB drive with the necessary drivers (you can typically download these from the drive manufacturer's website).

  • During the Windows installation, when prompted to select a drive, click on 'Load Driver' and browse to the location of the drivers on your USB drive.

The IRST Driver Puzzle

Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) is a technology that enhances the performance and reliability of systems with SATA drives. For systems that utilize this technology, specific IRST drivers are required for Windows to recognize the drives, especially during a fresh installation.

ASUS, a prominent motherboard manufacturer, has detailed this requirement in their support documentation. This ASUS FAQ page sheds light on the necessity of these drivers and how to go about the installation process.

How to Resolve the Issue Using IRST Drivers:

1. Download the Necessary IRST Drivers

Before you start the Windows installation:

  • From a different PC, navigate to the ASUS support page or your motherboard manufacturer's official website.

  • Search for your specific motherboard model.

  • Under the 'Drivers' or 'Downloads' section, locate the IRST drivers. Download them and save them onto a USB drive.

2. Start the Windows Installation Process

Insert your Windows installation media and boot from it.

3. Load the IRST Drivers

When you reach the screen where you're prompted to select the drive you want to install Windows on, and you notice your drive isn't displayed:

  • Choose 'Load driver' or 'Have Disk' option.

  • Insert the USB drive containing the IRST drivers.

  • Browse to the USB drive location and select the appropriate driver.

  • Follow the prompts to load the driver.

After loading the IRST drivers, your drives should now be visible, allowing you to proceed with the Windows installation.

In Conclusion

While the 'drives not detected' issue during Windows installation can be perplexing, in many cases, it can be resolved with a few steps. If you've tried the above solutions and are still encountering problems, it might be time to consult with an expert. The XOTIC PC support team is always available to assist and ensure that you have a smooth experience setting up your computer.

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