Kyle Hawk - Anime Enthusiast, Front-End Developer, Recreational Gamer

Debugging Why My SSD Disappeared From Windows

Life

In my gaming rig I have two Crucial SSDs: 256GB and 1TB. The smaller one was one I purchased when I first built my PC, which was quite a few years ago now. I use that one as my boot drive, and main programs, and the 1TB is a recent upgrade (from a HDD) that is used storage (games, website projects, etc.).

An image of a Crucial SSD

The Problem

After rearranging some things on my new case, I found that after booting into Windows that my 1TB SSD was gone. So naturally, I entered freak out mode.

After I regained my senses, I went into problem solving mode. Let’s go through the steps!

Is Everything Plugged In?

My immediate thought was that something was not plugged in properly. Maybe something came loose whenever I was moving cables around or something. Maybe something wasn’t clicked in all the way.

I checked both cables, made sure they were plugged in properly, and rebooted.

Still missing.

Is Windows Not Recognizing It?

Windows 10

This hard drive worked before, and it showed no problem of going out, so my next thought was that maybe Windows just wasn’t seeing it. Maybe somehow the drive letter didn’t get assigned properly when I plugged it back in.

I opened up Disk Management to check.

The drive isn’t there.

At this point, I actually went downstairs to vent to my fiance. She patiently listened to my rant despite having no idea what I was talking about.

Is The SATA Cable Bad?

Maybe it’s the data cable?

I had switched the SATA cable to a flat connector instead of a 90 degree one due to the new positioning of the SSDs. Maybe the cable was bad? That can happen, right?

I switched out the cable, which took undoing the SSD from its slot since the whole reason I used a flat connector was because the 90 degree wouldn’t fit. So now my SSD is just floating in the case with the cables.

Reboot.

A shimmer of hope sparkled in my eyes as my SSD showed up…only to disappear a few seconds later after I clicked on it.

Shit…

It really is the hard drive going bad isn’t it? I’m going to lose all my stuff. At least my websites are backed up in a git repo…

OH GOD! When did I last push?!

Naturally, I entered panic mode again.

Is It The SSD?

An image of a Western Digital HDD

Amidst my freakout another thought occured to me. My suspicion was that it’s the drive, but how can I test that thoroughly? My answer was to switch the SSD with my old HDD that was still around.

Reboot.

What do you know? That drive doesn’t show up either, and I know that drive isn’t bad. Unless, by some mysterious force of the universe, it randomly died in the month or so it was out of my computer.

This is when my suspicion changed to a new suspect…

Is It The Motherboard SATA Port?

Motherboard SATA Ports Example

I used the same two ports on the motherboard that I had used previously, but maybe there’s a chance that something got messed up as I was moving wires around.

I changed the cable over to a new port, plugged the SSD back in, and held my breath.

BAM!

There’s the drive.

The Solution

In the end, I’m not really sure what caused that particular motherboard port to crap out on me, but luckily there are plenty of others! It honestly could of been anything. Maybe when pulling cables through I put a little too much force on it and bent or broke something within the port.

About an hour or so and a lot of pacing later, changing the port on the motherboard did the trick. I’ve had no issues whatsoever since.

The Moral of the Story

Don’t jump to conclusions. That’s funny coming from me since within this whole process I was already looking up warranty information on the “bad” drive.

There were parts of this process I was calm and thought things through, and other parts where I was just angry or confused and needed to vent. Take a wild guess at which of those two were more productive.

Stay calm, and troubleshoot.

Try everything you can think of, then ask someone else if need be. Maybe they know something you don’t.

Of course…this is coming from the guy that instantly assumed all of his web work and games were lost forever.

Thanks for reading, and hope this helps someone out there!

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