SATA Ports on Motherboard Not Working: 10 Reasons & Fixes

Almost all drives used in a PC are connected to the motherboard using SATA connectivity. It is an inevitable connectivity tech that has been in use for a long time.

SATA Ports on Motherboard Not Working: 10 Reasons & Fixes

In certain instances, you can find the SATA ports not working on a motherboard due to some reasons. Because of this, your major drives like the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) cannot function and it has to be fixed immediately. 

Therefore, we are going to discuss the possible reasons for SATA ports not working on a motherboard and find solutions to fix it right away. 

SATA Ports on Motherboard Not Working

The reason for SATA ports not working on your motherboard can be due to a faulty drive or controller, a connecting cable problem, a driver issue, improper BIOS settings, or a failure in the motherboard. It can be caused by any of these issues and rectifying them will immediately fix the problem. 

Reasons and Fixes for SATA Port Not Working

There are about 10 reasons for this to happen and we shall look into each of them along with their respective fixes.

Loose SATA cable

Your drive may seem to be faulty but in reality, the connecting cable will not be properly installed into the ports. 

Therefore, when you find an issue with the SATA port, check for the cable connectivity and ensure whether it is tightly fixed onto it or not.

Sometimes the port may be damaged and it can also cause a loose connection. But the chances are very slim for the port to get damaged. Only with frequent plugging the port will get damaged. Otherwise, it will not be the case. 

Fixing Method:

  • Turn off your PC and remove the side panels to expose the motherboard.
  • Find the SATA cables that are connecting to the motherboard from your drives.
  • Ensure that they are tightly fixed to the motherboard port as well as on the drive port. If both ends are tightly secured, then it is good. 
  • Otherwise, fix the cables tightly onto the ports on both ends and turn on your PC to check it’s working.

Faulty SATA Cables

If the cables are tightly plugged in and yet the ports are not working, then it may be due to a faulty cable. 

Turn off your PC and physically check whether the cable is intact without any damage. Sometimes the plug that connects to the port will be damaged. 

So, you have to use another cable and check whether the port is working fine or not.

Fixing Method:

  • Turn off your PC and remove the power supply from the switchboard.
  • Remove the SATA cable from the drive and the motherboard port.
  • Physically check the cable for damages. Particularly, you must look into the plug ends and check for damages.
  • If the plug is damaged or the cable is faulty, then replace it with a new one. 
  • Turn on the PC and check whether the ports are working or not.

SATA Port Disabled in BIOS

Generally, SATA ports are enabled by default in BIOS settings. But sometimes it may be turned off and due to that, the motherboard SATA ports don’t communicate with the system.

Therefore, you must check for the BIOS settings and enable it, if the settings are disabled due to some reason.

Fixing Method:

  • Restart your PC and enter the BIOS settings. It is usually done by pressing F2 or Del key soon after the PC boots.
  • Once you are in the BIOS, choose Advanced Settings or navigate to Integrated Peripherals.
  • Here, look for SATA port settings or settings related to Storage Configuration.
  • Once you find SATA-related settings, check whether the port status is Enabled or Disabled.
  • If it is Disabled, then toggle the Enable button and save the settings. 
  • Restart the PC and check whether the ports are working.

Enabling the Wrong SATA Controller Mode

SATA works with different controller modes namely AHCI, IDE, and RAID. This varies according to the version of the system you are using.

For example, modern SATA drives use AHCI controller mode and you must choose it in the BIOS for it to work. Older ones use the IDE. 

Therefore, you must choose the right type of controller mode and this might fix the issue.

Fixing Method:

  • Restart the PC and enter the BIOS settings
  • Navigate to SATA port settings as mentioned in the previous fix and go to the controller mode option. 
  • Check for the mode enabled and change it to the relevant one. For instance, if you have recently bought the drive, then it will work with AHCI mode. So, change the mode to AHCI and save the settings.
  • If you are using an older drive, then you may have to choose IDE mode for the port to work.
  • Restart the PC and check whether this fix worked out or not.

BIOS Reset with CMOS Clear

Even if you had selected the right type of mode and enabled the SATA ports in BIOS, it may not work out. In such instances, you may have to reset the BIOS by clearing the CMOS.

CMOS is a battery on the motherboard that keeps the board alive even when it is not plugged into a power source. By removing this battery and resetting the BIOS, you might fix the SATA port issue.

Fixing Method:

  • Turn off your PC and remove the power sources.
  • Remove the side panels of the PC case and expose the motherboard.
  • Find the CMOS battery on the motherboard and carefully remove it.
  • Press the power button of your PC to drain the residual charges and wait for two minutes.
  • Now replace the battery, and side panels, and turn on your PC. Your BIOS is reset and now check for the SATA ports working.

Driver Issues

If hardware fixes don’t work out, then it can be a driver issue. Windows usually updates the hardware drivers and it may show up in the optional updates section for manual updates. 

If you fail to update the hardware drivers, then it can be the cause of the port problem.

In such a case, you just have to update the driver and fix the issue.

Fixing Method:

  • Search for Device Manager in the search bar of the Start Menu and enter it.
  • Click the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers option and choose the SATA controller.
  • Navigate to the Driver tab and click on the Update Driver option.
  • This will search for driver updates online or look for local files on your PC.
  • If there is an update available, it will do so automatically. Otherwise, look for your SATA controller version and manually check for updates online.
  • Once updated, the SATA port will work fine. Otherwise, go for other fixes.

Faulty SATA Drive

Sometimes, it may not be a port problem at all. Your drive may not be functioning and it may seem like a SATA port issue.

In this case, you must change the drive to a new port or replace the drive with a new one. 

Fixing Method:

  • Turn off your PC and remove the power sources.
  • Open the side panels and expose the motherboard.
  • Remove the drive connected to the SATA ports by removing the cables from the drive and the motherboard.
  • Now try connecting the drive to another SATA port to ensure whether the problem lies with the drive or the port.
  • If the drive works with another port, then it is a port problem. Otherwise, you have to replace the drive with a new one.

Issues with the Power Supply Unit

The SATA connectors are powered by the PSU through a separate SATA cable. If there is an issue with this cable connecting the drive and PSU, the drives may not work posing it as a port problem.

Therefore, by ensuring the cables connecting to the PSU are intact, you can fix the problem.

Fixing Method:

  • Turn off the PC and remove all the power sources.
  • Open the panels and reach for the PSU at the bottom or top (Varies according to the PC case).
  • Check for SATA power cables from the PSU to the drives. If the cables are intact, then it is not the issue.
  • If the cables are not properly inserted which can be the case of modular PSUs, then try to plug it firmly.
  • If you find any damage in the cable, then, replace it with a new one.

Failed SATA Controller

The drive has a SATA controller unit within itself which connects to the motherboard. This controller ensures the communication between the board and the drive. If there is an issue with this controller, then your drive will not work.

Fixing Method:

  • If you find the controller to be faulty or failed, then you have to replace the drive with a new one.

Failed Motherboard

When nothing works out and your SATA port still doesn’t show any sign of working, then your motherboard ports have failed. It can be due to any number of reasons and it can only be fixed with a replacement of the board.

Fixing Method:

  • Replace the entire motherboard
  • Or look for a PC technician to try and fix the issue.

Other Motherboard Topic:

Why do Only 2 SATA Ports Work Out of 6 Ports?

This can be primarily caused by not updating the drivers of the SATA controller and the SATA chipset of the drives. 

You can try updating the drivers and check whether the ports work. Otherwise, perform a BIOS reset as we mentioned in the fixes above. You can also try using another SATA cable. If nothing works out, then it is an issue with the motherboard.

How can I tell if my motherboard SATA ports are failing?

You cannot possibly tell the failure of SATA ports beforehand. Because the SATA ports on the motherboard usually don’t fail very soon and it can only be caused by accidents like power surges.

As for monitoring the ports, it is not possible. You may monitor the health of your SATA drive, but you cannot monitor the port’s integrity. 

Only at the time of failure or after failure you can know that the ports have failed. That too only after trying out all the above-mentioned fixes we recommended, you can conclude that the SATA ports on the motherboard have failed.


These are the reasons why the SATA ports aren’t working on your PC. If you try out these fixes, you can solve the issue completely. The possibility of a motherboard failure is very low and when it becomes imminent, you have to change the motherboard or avoid the use of SATA ports. But for the most part, these fixes will solve your SATA port problem right away.

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