Why is my m 2 SSD installed but not showing?

An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive that uses the M.2 form factor and interface to provide high-speed data storage for computers. M.2 SSDs are smaller and faster than traditional SATA SSDs, making them desirable for laptops, ultrabooks, and small form factor PCs where space is limited. Installing an M.2 SSD can significantly improve a computer’s boot times, application launch speeds, and overall system responsiveness compared to a hard disk drive or older SATA SSD. Key reasons someone may want to install an M.2 SSD include:

  • Faster boot and load times for Windows and applications
  • Improved workflow when working with large files like videos, photos, etc.
  • Upgrading an old laptop or desktop with faster storage
  • Taking advantage of NVMe speeds vs SATA limits

However, sometimes after installing an M.2 SSD, users find it is not being detected or showing up properly in the operating system. This article explores the most common reasons for this issue and how to troubleshoot an M.2 SSD that is not being recognized.

Common Reasons an M.2 SSD May Not Show Up

One of the most common reasons an M.2 SSD may not show up in Windows is if it’s not enabled in the BIOS. The BIOS is the firmware used to initialize hardware components and load the operating system. For the M.2 drive to be accessible in Windows, it needs to be enabled by the BIOS first.

To check if the M.2 drive is enabled in BIOS:

  1. Restart the computer and press the key to enter BIOS, usually Delete or F2.
  2. Navigate to the “Advanced” tab and look for an option labeled something like “M.2”, “NVMe”, or “PCIe”.
  3. Make sure this setting is enabled. Some motherboards have it disabled by default.
  4. Save changes and exit BIOS.

If the M.2 drive was previously disabled in BIOS, enabling it should allow it to show up in Windows after rebooting. You may also need to initialize the drive in Disk Management before it can be used. If it’s still not showing up, there are a few other troubleshooting steps to try covered later.

For more details, see this guide: https://www.easeus.com/data-recovery-solution/m2-ssd-not-detected-in-windows-10.html

Enabling M.2 in BIOS

One common reason an M.2 SSD may not be detected is because it needs to be enabled in the BIOS first. Most modern motherboards have options to enable or configure M.2 or NVMe drives, but it may be disabled by default. Here are the general steps for enabling M.2 in BIOS:

1. Restart your computer and enter the system BIOS, usually by pressing the Delete, F2, or F12 key during bootup. The key will differ depending on your motherboard model.

2. Look for options related to M.2, NVMe, or onboard devices. There may be a dedicated menu for M.2 or it may be under a Advanced or Chipset menu.

3. Find the setting to change the M.2 slot mode from disabled to enabled. Some motherboards have this option labeled as “M.2/NVMe Configure” or “M.2 Mode.”

4. Save changes and exit BIOS. Allow your PC to boot normally.

Now check if your M.2 drive appears in Windows. If not, continue troubleshooting. Refer to your motherboard manual for more specific steps for enabling M.2 or NVMe in your BIOS brand and model.

Installing M.2 Drivers

For your M.2 SSD to be recognized, you may need to install the appropriate drivers for your specific drive. Many M.2 SSDs require additional drivers that are not included natively with Windows or your motherboard. Check the manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your make and model of M.2 SSD. Be sure to install these drivers after connecting the M.2 drive. After installing the drivers, reboot your computer and check if the drive now appears in Disk Management. Refer to this guide for help on locating and installing the proper M.2 drivers.

Checking Disk Management

One of the most common reasons an M.2 SSD may not show up is because it needs to be initialized in Disk Management before it can be used. Disk Management allows you to manage storage devices connected to your computer. When a new drive like an M.2 SSD is installed, Windows will detect it but it needs to be initialized and formatted before it can be utilized.

To check if your M.2 drive needs to be initialized, open Disk Management in Windows. You can access Disk Management by right-clicking on This PC or Computer and selecting Manage. Then go to Storage > Disk Management on the left sidebar. All connected disks will be listed here.

If you see your M.2 drive listed but it shows as unknown or not initialized, you will need to right-click on it and select Initialize Disk. This will allow Windows to prepare the drive before it can be formatted and used. Be sure to initialize with the correct partition style for your needs, such as GPT or MBR. Once initialized, your M.2 should show up and be accessible.

According to Microsoft, initializing the disk is often required for new drives to be utilized in Windows.

Securing the M.2 Connection

One common reason an M.2 SSD may not be detected is if it has a loose connection in the M.2 slot. M.2 drives use a form factor that directly plugs into the M.2 slot on the motherboard. If the connection is loose, it can prevent the drive from being properly detected by the system.

There are a few ways to troubleshoot a potentially loose M.2 connection:

  • Reseat the M.2 drive by removing it and reinserting it into the slot. Press down firmly to ensure it is fully seated.
  • Some motherboards have an M.2 screw or standoff to secure the drive. Make sure this is installed correctly and tightened down.
  • Inspect the M.2 slot for any damage or bent pins that could prevent a solid connection.
  • Try inserting the M.2 drive into a different M.2 slot if available to rule out a bad slot.
  • Consider using small pieces of electrical tape on the bottom of the M.2 drive to help stabilize it in the slot.

If reseating the M.2 SSD doesn’t help, the drive or slot itself may be defective and need replacing. But in most cases, firmly reseating the M.2 drive will resolve detection issues caused by a loose connection.




Updating Firmware

Outdated firmware on the M.2 SSD can sometimes cause compatibility issues that prevent the drive from being detected properly. Firmware contains the programming code that allows a device to communicate with the operating system. M.2 SSD manufacturers periodically release firmware updates to fix bugs and improve performance. Therefore, it’s a good idea to check for and install the latest firmware version.

The firmware update process will vary depending on the SSD brand and your computer’s BIOS, but generally involves downloading the firmware image file, entering the BIOS boot menu, and selecting the option to update SSD firmware. Refer to the SSD manufacturer’s instructions for full details. Updating the firmware essentially reprograms the SSD and can resolve problems caused by outdated code.

After successfully updating the firmware, reboot your PC and check if the M.2 SSD now shows up as expected. With optimized firmware, the drive should be detected properly. Just be sure to backup important data first, as firmware updates carry a slight risk of data loss if interrupted.

Trying a Different M.2 Slot

If your motherboard has multiple M.2 slots, try installing the M.2 SSD in another slot. Motherboards often have multiple M.2 slots with different capabilities. For example, one slot may support PCIe 4.0 while another only supports PCIe 3.0. The M.2 SSD may be compatible with one slot but not the other.

Consult your motherboard manual to verify which slots support NVMe and their maximum supported speeds. Move the M.2 SSD to another available compatible slot and see if it is detected. This basic troubleshooting step can help determine if the issue is with that particular M.2 slot.

According to this Reddit thread, M.2 slots started becoming more common around late 2013 and early 2014, providing an alternative to mPCIe and MSATA slots.

Verifying M.2 Compatibility

To confirm that your M.2 SSD is compatible with your motherboard, you need to verify that the M.2 type and size match what your motherboard supports. There are several types of M.2 drives, including SATA, PCIe NVMe, and PCIe AHCI. The motherboard manual or product specifications should indicate which type(s) of M.2 drives are supported.

Additionally, M.2 drives come in different physical sizes, such as 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, and 22110 (dimensions in mm). The motherboard manual will specify which sizes can be installed in each M.2 slot. For example, some slots may only support 2280 size, while others are flexible. If the SSD is the wrong physical size, it will not properly insert into the slot.

Use resources like the Crucial Advisor tool or your motherboard manufacturer’s online compatibility checker to verify your specific M.2 drive is fully compatible before purchasing it (1). Alternatively, consult the product manuals or specifications for both the SSD and motherboard. Matching the M.2 type, size, notch position, and PCIe generation support is crucial for proper installation and performance.

When to Seek Help

If you have tried all the troubleshooting steps listed above and the M.2 SSD is still not being detected, it’s time to seek professional assistance. There are a few signs that indicate a hardware issue that will require expert help to resolve:

– The M.2 drive is not showing up in the BIOS at all. This points to the SSD not getting power or the connection being faulty. Reseating the drive does not help. (Source: https://www.easeus.com/resource/m2-not-recognized.html)

– The M.2 slot itself is damaged or faulty. If you’ve tested the SSD in another system where it is detected, the slot is likely the issue.

– You receive hardware error messages when trying to access the drive. Errors like “device not ready” indicate a hardware problem.

– The SSD initially worked but now is not detected after a system crash or hardware change. This can signify malware, a damaged port or slot, or drive failure.

In these cases, specialized tools and component testing is required. An experienced technician can diagnose the underlying problem and suggest replacement parts if needed. Seeking timely support can help recover data and restore full system functionality.