I am trying to install Ubuntu 14.04 / 15.10 on my Dell XPS 13 9350 (November 2015).

I created a bootable USB disk which boots fine but the installer and the file manager do not detect the hard drive.

What is the problem? How can I solve it?

4 Answers 4

  1. In Windows, run Command Prompt as admin
  2. Invoke a Safe Mode boot with the command: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
  3. Restart the PC and enter your BIOS during bootup.
  4. Change from IDE to AHCI mode then Save & Exit.
  5. Windows 10 will launch in Safe Mode.
  6. Right click the Window icon and select to run the Command Prompt in Admin mode from among the various options.
  7. Cancel Safe Mode booting with the command: bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
  8. Restart your PC once more and this time it will boot up normally but with AHCI mode activated.


  • 1
    This saved my day. However I stuck on i/o err. Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 13:56
  • 4
    This is a good solution but only if you have Windows 10 installed already unfortunately...
    – hg8
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 7:29
  • 1
    In my case there was AHCI and RAID ON options in BIOS and it also worked.
    – renadeen
    Commented Jul 29, 2018 at 10:38
  • 2
    @hg8 the steps on windows are required only if you want to keep windows booting - for linux just changing the bios to AHCI is enough
    – pqnet
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 12:08
  • 1
    @ErelSegal-Halevi if you use powershell you need to enclose {current} in quotes, i.e. such as "{current}", because brackets are interpreted by powershell as special characters
    – pqnet
    Commented Jan 21, 2019 at 12:09

So far the only workaround I found is to switch to AHCI Sata mode in BIOS settings:

  1. Boot into BIOS (F12 at startup)
  2. Select Bios Setup.
  3. Move to System Configuration > SATA Operation and select AHCI.

Restart the computer and now the Ubuntu installer will detect the SSD.

Unfortunately this is not practical for a dual boot setup as Windows won't be able to boot in SATA mode so you every time will have to revert the BIOS settings when wanting to boot Windows.

  • 1
    @cl-netbox Indeed, unfortunately the pre-installed Windows is not in AHCI mode...
    – hg8
    Commented Nov 11, 2015 at 10:14
  • 4
    You can create the boot recovery USB thumb drive, boot from there and repair windows install by choosing to "keep your personal files". Then windows will boot again in AHCI mode.
    – Metiu
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 12:39
  • 4
    It also works in the new dell xps 15
    – nanounanue
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 17:43
  • 1
    This worked for Dell Inspiron 7591
    – Jatin
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 9:56
  • 1
    This also works with Dell Precision 3541. Thank you! Commented Feb 4, 2020 at 12:14

The main problem is that DELL shipped with Windows pre-installed in IDE mode. The best solution in every aspect is to perform a clean installation of Windows. As a side effect you achieve one big advantage: pure Windows without any crap.

  1. Create a Windows system backup before. Things may break badly!
  2. Boot from a GParted Live media and format the Windows partition with ntfs.
  3. Boot into BIOS/UEFI of the PC and change the settings to AHCI/SATA mode.
  4. Reinstall Windows.
  5. Disable Hibernation and Fast startup in Windows
  6. Boot from Ubuntu installation media and reinstall GRUB.
  7. Boot into BIOS and select Ubuntu to be the default operating system to boot. Now you can select which system to boot, without having to change settings.

For those users who don't want to reinstall Windows, there is a way to switch to AHCI mode:

  • so Windows install first, followed by Ubuntu install ?
    – toine
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 21:40
  • 1
    @toine : Yes, it is recommended to first install Windows and afterwards Ubuntu. :)
    – cl-netbox
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 16:59

I had the same issue on an old HP Compaq & it was due to RAID format. I remove this in the BIOS menu:

  • press ctrl + F12 on te startup & then quckly Ctrl + I one the Intel BIOS screen
  • Go in "Remove RAID" section & select your Hard Drive
  • exit from BIOS & then reboot
  • Hard drive should be visible from your Ubuntu installer

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