How to enable a new storage device in Windows 10


Once a new Hard Disk or Solid-State drive has been physically installed in a PC, it must be activated, partitioned, and formatted before it can be used.

These illustrated steps will explain how to perform this set up for the most typical case under Windows 10 of a single partition in the NTFS format.

Be ready

Physically install the new drive as appropriate first

               Ensure SATA devices are securely mounted and connected with both data and power leads

               Ensure M.2 SSDs are fully inserted into the appropriate slot and screwed down


1) Right click the Start menu icon and select ‘disk management’ 

Select Disk Management


2) Right click in the grey area of the listing for the new 'Unknown' device and select ‘initialise’. Note: this step may occur automatically when Disk Management is openned with an uninitialised disk detected (see step 3)












3) Select the partition style to be used. In Windows 10 this should be GPT though some legacy scenarios may need the older and more limited MBR

Partition Type


4) Right click on the white 'Unallocated' space for the new drive and select New Simple Volume

New SImple Volume


5) In the New Simple Volume Wizard click Okay and select the size of the partition you want to create. One volume the full size of the drive is typical for adding disks, but multiple smaller partitions can also be useful for dividing up storage space.



6) Select an appropriate drive letter. Take care, assigning Drive A: (and more rarely B:) may cause errors in legacy software looking for the Floppy drive, and C: is normally reserved for the main System drive and similarly may cause problems if this is not respected.



7) Select the filesystem and name the new volume (the 'Volume Label'). NTFS is recomended for supporting larger files, larger volumes, and security options. FAT32 is highly compatible but this is unlikely to matter for an internal drive under Windows 10.

It is recomended to give a volume label that offers meaningful identification to avoid future confusion. Eg 'Hard Disk' if adding a large-capacity HDD to a system with the OS installed on a small SSD.

Filesystem and Name


8) Check options selected and Finish the wizard



The new storage device should be ready to use

DiskMgr DoneExplorer done

Notes and Troubleshooting

External or removable storage devices

This process is not usually necessary for external or protable storage devices (such as those connecting by USB) which typically come formatted and ready to use. However, the same steps can be used to modify them if desired, such as creating multiple partitions or changing to NTFS for a high-capacity USB flash drive (typically pre-configured in FAT32)

New device not showing up in Disk Management

Power off the machine and check it is properly installed physically.

Ensure the device is fully compatible with the system it is being installed in.

Check if the device shows up succesfully in another system, if not, it or the connector may be faulty.

Tags: Storage, Windows 10
Last update:
24-09-2021 01:31
Tom Lee
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