A disk signature collision will make one hard drive or storage device connected to your computer offline making it impossible for you to access the data in it unless you fix the issue.
Take help from this guide to know about Disk Signature Collision Error on Windows how it is caused on Windows 11/10 and how to resolve it.
What Is A Disk Signature Collision Error?
A disk signature is a unique number given to your hard drive by Windows stored in Master Boot Record (disk’s MBR) to recognize it. It’s 8 character alphanumeric ID and is also called Disk Identifier, HDD signature, and Unique Identifier.
Now, when two hard drives or storage devices connected to a computer have identical disk signatures, it triggers the disk signature collision error on Windows 10/11.
The error usually reads “This disk is offline because it has a signature collision with another disk that is online” or “The boot selection failed because a required device is inaccessible”.
Causes Of A Disk Signature Collision Error
- A hard drive is cloned sector by sector and then mounted alongside the original hard drive.
- A virtual hard disk made by a virtualization tool or backup software.
How To Fix The Disk Signature Collision Error on Windows 10/11?
In older Windows operating systems like Windows XP and Windows Vista, Windows changed the disk signature automatically in the case of disk signature collision caused by disk cloning or any other reason.
But in newer operating systems (Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11), Windows only notify you of the error and takes the disk with an identical signature offline. So, you can’t access the storage device until the disk signature is changed.
- Make the Hard Drive Online Using the Windows Disk Management Utility
- Change the Hard Disk Signature Using the Diskpart Command
- Use Windows Startup Repair
- Reconnect the USB Device or External HDD/SSD
Warning: The first two methods are applicable only for hard drives that don’t have Windows installed on them.
Using these solutions on a hard drive with Windows installation will trigger a chain reaction leading to Windows boot errors on that hard drive.
1. Make the Hard Drive Online Using the Windows Disk Management Utility
Windows don’t change the HDD signature automatically but it can perform this action if you instruct it to. For this, go to Disk Management and make the hard disk online.
- Right-click the Start button on the taskbar and select ‘Disk Management’ or press the Windows logo key + R, type diskmgmt.msc, and hit enter.
- Click ‘Yes’ if UAC prompts.
- Find the hard drive that’s offline. Right-click it and choose ‘Online’.
- Windows will change its disk signature and bring it online.
2. Change the Hard Disk Signature Using the Diskpart Command
You can perform the same process of changing the HDD signature using the command prompt or Windows PowerShell as well. Follow these instructions.
- Click the Start menu, type cmd, and choose ‘Run as administrator’
- Type diskpart and press the Enter key.
- Now, input the list disk and hit enter. This will show you the list of online and offline disks connected to your computer.
- Type select disk and write the number of the disk that’s offline. If disk 2 is offline, write select disk 2 and press enter.
- To see the disk signature of the hard drive, type the unique id disk and hit the enter key.
- You can change the ID of the disk to a new signature. Write unique disk id = [type new ID] and press enter. For instance: unique disk id = 87E7Y38S. Make sure that it’s in the hexadecimal form.
- Windows will change the HDD ID of the selected disk and make it online.
3. Use Windows Startup Repair
In case you change the disk signature with the above methods for a drive that has Windows installed on it, you may experience problems when booting Windows on it.
For this, use Window Startup Repair to fix common boot bugs and issues, which might fix the disk signature collision error as well.
- Turn on your computer. When the Windows logo appears, long-press the power button to turn it off.
- Perform the same process.
- Now, switch on the computer. It will load the Windows automatic repair environment.
- Navigate to Advanced options > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup repair.
- Windows will reboot and perform startup repair.
4. Reconnect the USB Device or External HDD/SSD
In the event of facing the disk signature collision error on Windows for external storage devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives, simply, reconnect them and check again.
Disk Signature collision error on Windows 10/11 is easy to fix if the drive doesn’t have any operating system. However, drives with a Windows OS on it may show boot errors later which you can try to fix startup repair.