How to fix internal drive detected as removable storage bug on Windows 11

If you have an internal drive recognized as removable on Windows 11, use these instructions to fix it.

Windows 11 fix SATA drives
Windows 11 fix SATA drives

On Windows 11, if an internal drive is identified and labeled as removable storage, you can use this guide to resolve the problem. Microsoft has recently confirmed that the latest version of its operating system still contains an ancient bug that detects Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives as removable media.

The bug labels a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) or Solid-state drive (SSD) as removable media storage in the Taskbar. Although this issue doesn’t affect the drive’s functionality, it can confuse users at the time to identify the correct storage.

According to the company, whether a device is “considered removable is determined by your system’s BIOS and how it marks the various SATA ports on the motherboard. The inbox driver directly inspects SATA ports and considers devices connected to those ports marked “external” as removable devices.” Microsoft continues explaining that not every drive does this, “which can be a potential cause for corruption or data loss.”

This guide will teach you the steps to resolve this problem on Windows 11.

Warning: It’s crucial to note that modifying the Registry can cause serious problems if not used properly. It’s assumed you know what you’re doing and created a full backup of your system before proceeding.

Fix drive labeled as removable on Windows 11

According to the company, you must first download and install the latest firmware update for your computer’s UEFI (BIOS). Since every device is different, you have to check your manufacturer’s support website for instructions. If the device doesn’t have a newer version of the firmware, Microsoft recommends a workaround using the Registry.

To fix a drive recognized as removable on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 11.

  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Open the Disk drives category.

  4. Right-click the drive recognized as removable and choose the Properties option.

    Device Manager drive properties

  5. Confirm the “Bus Number” in the “General” tab.

    Drive bus number

  6. Open Start.

  7. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  8. Type the following command to resolve the drive mislabeled on Windows 11 and press Enter:

    reg.exe add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\storahci\Parameters\Device" /f /v TreatAsInternalPort /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d BUS-NUMBER

    In the command, replace BUS-NUMBER with the actual number of your device storage device. For example, this command fixes the drive with the bus number as “0”:

    reg.exe add "HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\storahci\Parameters\Device" /f /v TreatAsInternalPort /t REG_MULTI_SZ /d 0

    Windows 11 SATA removable drive fix

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 should recognize the drive as internal. You may need to repeat the steps if other internal drives are mislabeled as removable.

The instructions will also work for older versions of the operating system, including Windows 10 and 8.1.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].