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M.2 SSD not getting detected is one of the most common SSD problems faced by many PC or laptop users. This problem mainly occurs when installing an NVMe SSD but can also happen with an M.2 SATA solid-state drive too. In some cases, the M.2 drive is not detected in the BIOS while in others, it is detected in the BIOS but not by the Windows operating system. Most of the time the problem arises because of compatibility and configuration issues. Other causes of this problem are because of the driver, operating system support and very rarely it is because of a bad solid-state drive. So, to help you out on this issue, I am going to list the various causes of this problem along with their solutions.
M.2 SSD not Detected [Causes & Solutions]
Here are the various causes of M.2 SATA or NVMe SSD not being detected along with their fixes or solutions.
M.2 SSD not Detected in BIOS
The M.2 SSD not detected BIOS is the most common issue. It mainly occurs with NVMe SSDs but can occur with M.2 SATA drive too. When your M.2 SSD is not detected in the BIOS then most probably it won’t be recognized in Windows either. Below are the main causes of this issue along with their proper fixes.
Check Physical Installation
The first thing to check when your M.2 SSD is not getting detected is that whether the M.2 SSD is installed properly or not in the M.2 slot. The M.2 SSD should be inserted properly in the M.2 slot with the label side facing towards you and the M.2 screw should be properly tightened. To be frank, it is very uncommon to get the physical installation wrong but it may happen with some users especially the ones installing the M.2 SSD for the first time. Sometimes the M.2 SSD may not make proper contact in the M.2 slot which is one of the major issues faced on the installation side. So, make sure that the M.2 SSD is installed correctly in the M.2 slot.
M.2 Slot SSD Compatibility
Check the SSD compatibility for the M.2 slot on your motherboard because some M.2 slots support only M.2 SATA SSDs, some only NVMe, and some can support both NVMe PCIe and M.2 SATA solid-state drives. So, if you insert an NVMe SSD in an M.2 slot that only supports M.2 SATA SSD then the SSD will not be detected. You can check the M.2 SSD compatibility for your motherboard in the motherboard’s manual or on the motherboard manufacturer’s website by going to the specification section of your motherboard’s model page.
M.2 Slot Shares Bandwidth with other Ports
In most motherboards, M.2 slot or slots can share bandwidth with some of the SATA ports or PCIe slots. In some motherboards with a single M.2 slot, SATA 5 and SATA 6 ports share bandwidth with the M.2 slot which means if you insert an M.2 SSD in the M.2 slot then SATA 5 and SATA 6 ports will be disabled. It is also true inversely which means if you have a storage drive connected to SATA 5 or SATA 6 port then M.2 slot will not work and your M.2 SSD will not get detected in the BIOS during such a scenario.
In some motherboards with multiple M.2 slots and PCI-Express slots, PCIe slots may share bandwidth with an M.2 slot. So, you need to refer to your motherboard manual to check whether any other device is not sharing bandwidth with the M.2 slot having an M.2 SSD plugged in it. If you have misplaced your motherboard’s manual then you can also check this info on the motherboard’s manufacturer website by selecting your motherboard model and then going to the specifications section.
Check M.2 setting in BIOS
You may have to check your M.2 or PCI-Express slot setting in the BIOS to make sure it is configured to M.2 mode. Generally, it is set to the Auto mode by default but in some cases, you may have to manually set it to M.2 mode to get the M.2 drive detected. For example, in some motherboards, there is a setting in BIOS “M.2 and SATA Express Mode Configuration” which you have to switch to M2 to get the M.2 SSD detected. Well, the M.2 SSD configuration-related setting varies from one motherboard model to another and you may have to consult your motherboard’s manual for that. Below is another example of a different motherboard and here, you have to go to Advanced settings-> Onboard Devices Configuration and for the PCI Express X4_3 Slot Bandwidth section, and set the option to “M.2 Mode”.
Disable Secure boot
Disabling the secure boot option in the BIOS may help in recognizing a newly installed M.2 drive in your computer.
Disable CSM (for NVMe)
If you are installing a new NVMe M.2 SSD and want to boot from it then you may want to disable the Compatibility Support Module (CSM) in the BIOS and make sure that the UEFI option is enabled for modern operating systems like Windows 10. Here you have to note that a UEFI system can boot only from a GPT disk, not MBR so if your older boot drive or disk is using an MBR partition then you will not be able to boot with UEFI.
Try different M.2 slot
If your motherboard has more than one M.2 slot then you can try inserting your M.2 SSD in a different M.2 slot to check whether the issue is with a particular M.2 slot or not.
You can also try resetting BIOS to default settings by removing the CMOS battery if you have tried all the things mentioned above. Sometimes, it can help in the M.2 drive being detected if the BIOS settings are messed up or there is some unknown issue with the BIOS settings which is causing the changes not to be applied.
Updating the BIOS may help in some cases especially the ones involving older motherboards. Updating BIOS is a pretty simple procedure and can be done without risks in modern motherboards. You just have to refer to your motherboard manual on how to perform it as it is different for every motherboard.
Remove other Drives
You can also try removing all the other drives and boot only with the M.2 SATA or NVMe drive. This technique can help to recognize the M.2 SSD in some cases.
Faulty M.2 SSD
A faulty drive is less likely but it can happen. In such cases, you have to cross-check your M.2 drive by installing it on other PCs. If the drive is not getting detected in other computers too then most likely the drive is faulty and you have to replace it under warranty.
Pro Tip: Make sure that the AHCI mode is enabled in BIOS for SATA SSD (M.2 or 2.5-inch) for modern operating systems (Windows 7 and higher). The AHCI mode avoids potential conflicts and also provides better performance than the IDE mode.
M.2 SSD not Detected in Windows
If your M.2 SSD (NVMe or SATA) is detected in the BIOS but is not appearing in Windows then the issue is related to the operating system side only. Below are the various causes of this problem with their solutions.
Windows NVMe SSD Driver Missing
If you are installing a PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD on an older operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8 then the M.2 SSD will not get detected because these older operation systems do not have NVMe driver built into them. For such older operating systems, you have to download and install the NVMe driver additionally and then the drive will get detected. Newer operating systems like Windows 10 natively support NVMe drivers and you don’t have to install NVMe drivers on them.
Format the SSD
New solid-state drives come unformatted without any partition and file system. So, if you are installing a new M.2 SSD as a non-boot drive in Windows then you have to format it for the operating system to recognize it. You can format the drive using the Windows built-in Disk Management utility. To Format the SSD go to the Control Panel->Administrative Tools->Computer Management->Storage->Disk Management. Here, the Disk with Unknown or Unallocated Space is your newly installed drive, which here is the M.2 SSD. First Right-click the drive marked as “Unknown” and “Not Initialized” and select the Initialize Disk option. Select the partition style MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table) and click Ok. Now, right-click on that Disk that shows Unallocated space, click on New Simple Volume->Specify Volume Size->Assign Drive Letter-> Format (Perform a quick format). After this, you will be able to see the new drive in My Computer.
Tip: Select GPT partition style if your SSD is 2TB or larger in capacity and using a modern operating system like Windows 10.
Don’t have an M.2 Slot?
If your motherboard doesn’t have an M.2 but you want to use an NVMe SSD then you can use M.2 PCIe adapters that plug into the PCIe x16 or PCIe x4 slots on your motherboard.
Check out: Best M.2 PCIe adapters for NVMe SSDs
If you are facing issues regarding M.2 SSD not being detected then you can ask me your queries in the comment below, clearly stating your hardware specs and ongoing problem.