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M.2 Drive Not Showing Up? Here’s How to Fix It

M.2 SSD suddenly not showing up anymore? Let’s fix that!

In the world of PCs, people are always on the search for an ever expanding array of advancements to keep your system in tune with all the modern programs and games that exist today.

While there are tons of improvements you can make, one thing that is always on everyone’s mind is the amount of memory someone has. While some people opt to go the route of external HDD drives, the superior option is SSD drives, both external and internal.

The most effective of the SSD’s is the M.2 drive. These drives are smaller than the traditionally bulkier SSD drives, but they are much faster than your typical SSD drive.

Sometimes though, you may run into an issue where this drive just won’t show up. Is this a sign that it is broken? Do you need to take it in for tech support? Is this an easily fixable problem yourself?

Let’s find the solution of your prized SSD deciding that it doesn’t want to be seen anymore.

How to Properly Install an M.2 Drive

When a drive isn’t showing up, there are usually a myriad of reasons why. Using common sense to start out, you need to make sure it is connected properly. How do we do this? Well, luckily it is not too hard of a process. It is a precise one though, so here are the steps to properly installing the drive.

Before we get into the steps, we first need to figure out if your PC is even compatible with this kind of storage drive.

Typically, the latest generation of motherboards is the only kind that can support this rather modern style of SSD that has traditionally been only used in laptops because of their size.

So, now that we know our PC can handle it, lets open it up and find the motherboard. You will know it is the motherboard because it is the only thing inside the PC that could possibly be interpreted as such.

Once you’re looking at it, you will see an M.2 connector. This is a horizontal slot that is about an inched wide and it will say either SATA or PCIe or potentially both on it on a label of some kind.

Depending on which one you see there, you need to be certain to match the drive that you bought with that determination, or else it won’t work. This means that an M.2 SSD with a PCIe connection will not fit on a SATA connection and vice versa.

Now that we’ve got that figured out, here are the steps to install:

  1. Remove the screw located next to the M.2 drive slot.
  2. Carefully place the M.2 SSD inside the slot.
  3. Replace the mounting screw. This keeps the M.2 SSD drive in place.

This is all that is required to get the M.2 SSD drive in the right place, but that doesn’t mean we are done with the installation of it. The final step is making sure that the PC recognizes the drive as a new storage device.

While some motherboards will detect the drive right away, but sometimes, that is not the case. When that happens, we need to investigate why.

What to Do If an M.2 Drive Isn’t Recognized

If your M.2 SSD drive is not being recognized, the first thing we have to do is tell the BIOS that this device has been connected.

To get to the bios, hold delete while turning your PC on. This should bring up the BIOS menu and while every BIOS looks different depending on the manufacturer, the settings should be pretty much the same.

Once you are in the BIOS, go to advanced settings and select onboard devices configuration.

From here, look for the PCI Express X4_3 Slot bandwidth section and select the option for M.2 Mode. Then, you save and exit BIOS. Now, it should be installing without issue.

How to Initialize an M.2 SSD Drive

To initialize the drive, you need to find the disk management program in windows for SSD initialization. After you do this, press Win+R. Then press input compmgmt.msc in the run dialogue to open up this tool. This will bring up a pop-up windows saying “you must initialize a disk before Logical Disk Manager can access it” and will suggest you initialize the SSD.

From here, the initialization should be completed and you will now see the M.2 SSD drive in your PC.

Third Party Software Check

Although the chances of this being the issue are slim, it is possible that a third-party software may be hiding your drive from your PC. Check and see what you have installed that deals with file and drive protection and disable it. If disabling it shows the drive, then search for a new similar program because it will be clear that those two are not compatible.

What to Do If It’s Still Not Working

If those steps haven’t helped yet, then there are other options to figuring out why we are not connecting properly. One reason for the lack of connection is you have possibly put it into the wrong port.

As stated above, you can only put an M.2 SSD drive into an M.2 drive slot. Sometimes, you just don’t have a port and at that point, the only option for installing this is replacing your whole motherboard, which really isn’t worth doing.

If you don’t feel like buying a whole other motherboard, you can take your PC to a technician and see if they are able to put another M.2 SSD slot into the motherboard. Sometimes, this is all that is needed to get the connection up and running.

The other option is to simply unplug and then reconnect the drive into the correct slot. When installing it, you might notice that it is installed at an angle. This is intentional, so if you tried jiggling it to try and get it to set more securely, this may have caused a disconnection and that could be the reason the drive is not showing up on your PC.

What if an M.2 Drive Doesn’t Even Show Up in the BIOS?

If an M.2 drive isn’t showing in the BIOS, there is clearly a connection issue, because even if your PC is not recognizing the drives, there should still be the presence of drives in the BIOS menu. If this isn’t the case, you should check your motherboard to see if there is another M.2 SSD drive that you aren’t aware of.

In rare cases, you might be seeing the drive not show up because the BIOS itself has not been updated. You should check your BIOS settings and see if an update is available in order to rule out this possibility.

Be careful here though, as updating your BIOS will reset all your settings and if you have been doing any overclocking, this will have to be redone as well. If this doesn’t work either, it is time to go back to basics.

It’s also possible that you are mixing up the SATA and PCIe drives with the type of M.2 SSD you’ve purchased.

If all above options have been exhausted, follow these steps to see if you are missing out on sometimes:

  • Turn off your computer
  • Re-install the SSD drive into the correct M.2 SSD drive slot
  • Disconnect any drives or cables from additional drive slots
  • Go to the BIOS and set M.2 to SATA mode or PCIe mode depending on which kind of M.2 SSD drive you have purchased.
  • Save the configuration in the BIOS and restart your computer.
  • Check the devices in BIOS again.

Check boot order priority- If the above still has not worked, go to advanced settings, then to boot, then to boot priority. From here, set the drive with your operating system to be the first device in the boot order. After you do this, press F10 to save and exit BIOS.

If you have followed all of these steps above, you should find no issue in connecting your shiny new M.2 SSD drive.

While it can be intimidating installing drives on your motherboard, it was designed to have devices added to it and the process to installing them is pretty straightforward.

Investigating the BIOS is usually the key to getting your PC to recognize the device, but on the off chance that doesn’t work, it is possible you may have damaged a part of the drive during installation.

If all else fails, it is worth taking the device in for tech support to take a look at it. As small as the M.2 SSD drive is, it is the top-of-the-line storage device and can house precious data, so you should go at any length to make sure that your PC will recognize it.

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