Purchasing an M.2 SSD Drive and discovering that it doesn’t show up in Disk Management or BIOS can be a truly horrifying experience.
I know that because I’ve been there, feeling as frustrated as you are feeling right now, but I got past it and managed to fix M.2 drive not showing up in the BIOS after a few hours of research.
You’ll only need to spend a couple of minutes, not hours, to understand why is M.2 SSD not being detected and to discover multiple ways to fix M.2 not showing up in your BIOS.
I know you are getting impatient so head on to the next section immediately to find what you need.
Why Is My M.2 Drive Not Showing Up
Outdated disk management program, shared bandwidth with other ports, incorrect BIOS settings, and an unsupported file system are the primary reasons behind M.2 SSD detection issue. Apart from these, incorrect boot priority, conflicting driver letters, and secure boot can be the culprit.
In order to aid you in resolving the matter, I have arranged the best possible reasons behind the vanishing of an M.2 drive in the boot menu.
Here are the probable causes:
1. Incompatible SSD
See, M.2 form factor has two types of SSDs that are currently available in the market— NVMe & SATA. For both interfaces, there is a clear distinction between the connecting pin count and their arrangement.
M.2 SATA drives have two notches or keys, whereas NVMe has one to match the slot. Hence, their data transfer is done through different interfaces. FYI, NVMe utilizes the PCIe lanes and is way faster.
Now, if you install a SATA drive in an NVMe slot and vice versa, chances are it’s not going to work unless your motherboard supports both types of interfaces on a single slot. It switches depending on the drive interface.
Some motherboards, however, come with separate M.2 slots for SATA and NVMe interfaces. Interestingly, you can’t even seat an NVMe drive in the SATA slot due to the difference in notch placement.
So, the compatibility of the slot and the M.2 drive is one of the probable reasons why it is undetected.
2. Outdated disk management program
Disk management is a system utility that helps you to carry out advanced storage tasks. This is mainly for installing a new drive and extending a volume that already exists. If the mainframe of the utility is outdated, it might be slightly problematic to show up a new drive.
3. Enabled Secure Boot
Secure boot detects interference with bootloaders, key operating system files, and illegal ROMs by confirming their digital signature. When you install a new drive, it automatically blocks the detection in order to avoid system attacks. It may be one of the reasons why your M.2 drive is not showing up.
4. Enabled Compatibility support module
The compatibility support module (CSM) follows a BIOS environment that is harmonious with your operating system. Enabled CSM doesn’t allow most modern drives to authorize UEFI on your system; hence your new M.2 SSD remains undetected.
In most motherboards, M.2 ports are shared with other PCIe slots and other SATA slots. That means, if you install an M.2 SSD, one of your SATA ports gets disabled, or if you install a 3.5 or 2.5-inch SATA drive, your SSD gets disabled.
For example, imagine your motherboard supports up to 4 SATA drives, and you have already populated every one of them. Now if you install a new M.2 SATA drive it won’t work because your motherboard is already fully saturated. So, you have to free up one SATA port to install it.
Similarly, if your system’s PCI lanes are occupied, your new drive won’t work. A system supports a specific number of PCI lanes depending on the CPU and the main board. External WiFi, Thunderbolt, Audio, or Graphics cards all utilize PCI lanes to communicate with the processor.
So, before buying an SSD, read your motherboard manual to avoid such a scenario. Calculate how many drives you can connect before you hit the resource-sharing limits.
6. Conflicting Drive letters
Imagine your existing drive is being indicated by C:/ and the new SSD you installed is also being dictated by the same driver letter. It may cause the SSD to vanish from your system. Check if the drives are being dictated with the same letter.
These are the probable reasons why your M.2 SSD is undetected. There may be another reason apart from these. That is a dead or faulty SSD. But, don’t panic yet.
Just act on the fixes I’m about to show you. Trust me, I’ll tell you when it’s time to panic!
How to Fix M.2 SSD Not Showing Up In BIOS
You can fix M.2 SSD is not showing up in BIOS or Disk Management by reseating the drive in the correct slot, prioritizing it as the boot drive and choosing PCIe mode as M.2 drive. Configuring the SATA as AHCI, updating M.2 driver and BIOS can also help your PC detect it.
Now, bear in mind, if you mess up BIOS, things can go horribly wrong which may prevent you from entering the BIOS altogether. If that’s the case, simply clear CMOS to reset it.
Note: Menu names and assigned actions for keys are different depending on the motherboard vendor. So don’t forget to fiddle around the BIOS to find similar options. Naming scheme is mostly very similar. To find the key bindings and menus, reading the motherboard manual is essential.
Here are the methods to fix M.2 SSD not detected in Windows:
1. Configure your M.2 SSD
This is the primary method you can apply so that your M.2 NVME SSD data gets detected in BIOS.
Here’s how you can configure an M.2 SSD:
- Start your PC and press F2 or Delete to enter the BIOS settings .
- Expand SATA Configuration.
- Select Configure SATA as AHCI.
- Save and exit.
If you are having trouble configuring your new M.2 drive, the SSD is not properly connected. The M.2 connector might also be at fault so double-check it.
Check immediately after you complete this process. This is a simple trick but works most of the time.
2. Change BIOS Boot Priority to M.2
The default boot order for your PC puts hard drives first, and then the removable devices. It is wise and effective to change the settings of your boot priority option to recognize the M.2 SSD in BIOS. But if you make any error, your system won’t find a boot device, resulting in a non-operating computer.
Here are the steps to change boot priority to M.2:
- Restart your PC
- Enter the BIOS by pressing F2 key or Delete key.
- Go to Boot tab in your BIOS screen using your arrow key.
- Press + or – to move items on the boot menu. You’ll see a list of drives on the basis of Boot priority.
- Move the M.2 drive to first in order to change the boot priority.
- Press F10 to save the changes.
- Select Yes to confirm the action.
By performing this action, you can easily show your computer which drives you to want to give precedence.
But there is one more thing you should know. Sometimes you may find that M.2 NVME not showing up in BIOS Boot priority.
In my case, I disconnected all other SATA drives and then went to BIOS again. Guess what? I’ve found the M.2 in the boot priority menu. Then reconnected other drives and everything worked out just fine.
3. Reinstall M.2 Drive
If you are not finding the drive even after you know the drive has no physical problem, I would suggest you reseat the drive.
This may sound unusual, but in most cases, people get crazy after buying a new SSD and getting caught up in excitement, they install it in the wrong manner whether incorrect insertion or motherboard screws. I have also made that mistake in my earlier days, to be honest. It’s a common mistake for a rookie user.
Just do as I say; It won’t take you more than two minutes to reinstall. Just turn off the computer > Open the case (battery, if you’re using a laptop) > Disconnect the drive and reinstall it > Secure it with a screwdriver.
If that does the job, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, however, I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve to solve the problem. Simply follow the subsequent methods.
4. Assign a Unique Drive Letter
You know, the M.2 is not recognized by the system, probably because there’s no drive path assigned for it. So the system does not know where to navigate to show the drive.
It requires some simple steps to identify the storage drive with a letter.
Here is the process to assign a drive letter for your M.2 SSD:
- Right-click on the Windows start menu button and choose Disk Management.
- Click on Disk Management under Storage from the left pane.
- Create a new volume if there’s an Unallocated disk space that matches your M.2 drive’s storage capacity. That will automatically allot a new letter for the drive.
- Right-click on the disk and assign a new letter if it is already partitioned.
- Select Change Drive Letter and Paths.
- Choose a letter as per your preference and move on with the subsequent steps.
Once you are done with the process, you will see the drive listed in This PC. Now, you are good to go to use the drive as you want.
Note: Do not assign the same letter that’s already allotted to a different partition.
5. Disable Secure Boot
Deactivating the secure boot option in the BIOS allows more access to the system, and it also helps to recognize a newly installed M.2 SSD in your computer.
Here’s how you can disable secure boot:
- Restart your PC and press the assigned button to access BIOS such as F2,F11 or Delete.
- Go to the Boot tab.
- Choose Disabled from Secure Boot option.
- Save and Exit the BIOS.
On an additional note, some older motherboards have an option called Delete all Secure Boot Variable. Simply access it and Choose Yes to disable Secure Boot.
Now, check whether your M.2 Solid-State Drive gets detected or not. If not, move on to the next method.
6. Update Your BIOS
See, the most intriguing part of BIOS update is that it helps to improve overall performance and stability. When you install a modern device on your motherboard, it might be possible that an outdated BIOS can not recognize the new technology.
Most often than not, updating the BIOS helps to accept the changes; It’s more effective for older motherboards, to be precise. And let me tell you; this process is quite simple if you follow proper instructions.
See, you can update the BIOS in more than a few ways such as utilizing the BIOS flashback button. But not all methods are compatible with every mainboard. Nope, no need to freak out!
I’m going to show you the best way that will work for every motherboard out there, regardless of the brand.
Before you undertake the BIOS update, I highly recommend you read the manual first. And if you misplaced the manual, don’t worry. You can go to the manufacturer’s website and get instructions from there easily.
Here is the process to update the BIOS:
- Go to your Motherboard manufacturer’s website and find the specific BIOS file for your model.
- Download the BIOS update file and copy it over to a USB stick. Make sure it is formatted to Fat32 and the file is in the root of the drive.
- Insert the Pendrive into a USB port of the board. If there’s any port specifically assigned for flashing the BIOS, use it.
- Restart your computer.
- Keep pressing the BIOS switch until you see the menus.
- Find the flashing option such as M-flash (MSI), EZ flash (ASUS), Instant Flash (AsRock), Q-flash (Gigabyte) and hit Enter.
- Choose the file and the update process will begin.
The entire operation will take 10–15 minutes to complete. Don’t get worked up if your PC restarts in between. It’s part of the update.
Note: Do not turn off your computer while updating the BIOS. Or your motherboard may get permanently bricked. Also, make sure the USB drive has no other file than the update package.
Look for M.2 in BIOS by checking the storage list again to see if your SSD shows up now.
Resetting the BIOS may also work if the SSD does not appear in the screen.
7. Check M.2 Setting in BIOS
You should check whether your PCIe slot settings in the BIOS are configured in M.2 mode or not. Normally, it is set to the Auto mode by default, but you can always manually set it to M.2 mode if it’s not. You need to make sure your M.2 SATA SSD or NVME SSD is enabled in the BIOS before trying anything else.
Here’s how to set M.2 mode in PCIe configuration:
- Go to BIOS by pressing F2 while restarting the computer.
- Select Advanced Setting. To do that, press F7 when you are in BIOS.
- Go to Onboard Devices Configuration.
- Search for PCI Express slot Bandwidth.
- Change the option to M.2 mode if it’s not already selected.
- Press F10 to save and click ok to confirm the changes.
After you do that, restart your computer. This process will definitely make sure your BIOS recognizes your M.2 SSD.
8. Update M.2 SSD Driver
If your BIOS recognizes the SSD and your system doesn’t then this trick is for you. You just have to update the SSD driver.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Go to the device manager by pressing Windows + X simultaneously.
- Extend the Disk Drives.
- Right click on M.2 drive and select Update Driver Software.
- Choose Search automatically when the update software window appears.
- After completing the process, restart your computer.
After the restart, You’ll see your M.2 SSD is working just fine.
These are the most feasible solutions to fix this issue. You don’t have to go through all of them. But, I would recommend you perform them in consecutive order.
Throughout this entire article, I tried my best to deliver the correct data and facts regarding M.2 SSD not showing up in BIOS. I’m sure it was beneficial for your better understanding.
Your M.2 SSD will definitely show up in both BIOS and your system if you follow exactly as I explained, and I believe you’ll be able to do so.
If you find any issue applying the methods, feel free to reach out.
Thank you!! Helped a lot. I had a SATA HD connected interfering with the M.2 SSD. Unfortunately this information is not clear in the motherboard’s manual . I’ll keep in mind of the others possible solutions.