If your new SSD is not showing up either in BIOS or Windows, you can try some basic hardware and software troubleshooting steps to fix the issue.
Check if it's installed correctly in the motherboard, whether the SSD is configured correctly in the BIOS, and whether the storage controller drivers are updated.
As someone who relies solely on their computer for their work, I know how concerning this issue can be. That's why I've curated this comprehensive guide that covers all possible causes of this problem and the step-by-step process to fix each one of them.
Without further ado, here are 10 workable solutions to fix the M.2 SSD not showing problem in your computer.
If your M.2 SSD is not being detected in the BIOS, then either the firmware settings aren't configured correctly or the disk is damaged. Hopefully, it's not the latter, and you'll be able to get your SSD up again.
Here are the most effective methods that can solve this without risking data loss:
The first thing you need to do is check whether the drive is properly connected to the correct motherboard slot.
You'll have to open your laptop/CPU case, disconnect the drive, and reinstall it. Make sure the drive is placed firmly into the slot, and the mounting screw is properly fastened.
Note that you'll also get the same issue if the drive is not placed in the proper drive slot.
There are two main types of SSD slots: SATA and PCI-E. Insert your M.2 SSD in the correct slot. You can refer to the motherboard manual provided by the manufacturer.
Once you've followed all the above steps, restart your computer and check if the hard disk is showing up in BIOS. If it's properly installed and still not showing up, you can move on to the next method.
Sometimes, the motherboard doesn't automatically detect a new SSD after installing it. In this case, we need to enable it manually. The process will vary slightly depending on your motherboard, but here are the usual steps.
Reboot your computer and access the BIOS menu by pressing the designated key (generally F2, F12, or Delete key).
In the BIOS menu, navigate to the Advanced Settings section, and look for Onboard Devices Configuration.
Now find the PCI Express X4_3 Slot Bandwidth options. Most motherboards set this to Auto, but if it isn't working, set it to M.2 Mode instead.
After that, save changes and exit. Your computer will reboot and hopefully recognize the SSD this time.
Sometimes, old disk drives don't work with newer BIOS modes like UEFI or Secure Boot. If your M.2 drive uses an old SATA configuration, you probably need to use legacy BIOS settings on your PC.
There are two things you can do here. Either disable the Secure boot option or enable CSM mode.
If your disk uses an MBR partition, it should be detected once you've enabled CSM or disabled Secure boot.
Another reason for the "M.2 SSD not showing" issue is that you haven't configured the drive settings in your BIOS correctly. To set up the correct M.2 SSD configuration, follow these steps:
If your BIOS firmware is outdated, you might get the M.2 SSD not showing up in the BIOS issue.
You can check whether a newer BIOS version is available on the official website of your motherboard manufacturer. If there is, download the file and transfer it to a flash drive.
Now restart your PC with the flash memory connected and enter the BIOS. In the BIOS menu, select the Update BIOS from the Drive option. Select the updated file stored on your flash drive and wait for the process to finish.
Next, we'll cover the methods that you can perform if your M.2 SSD is showing up in BIOS but not in Disk Management or Windows File Explorer.
The good news is that most of these are software-related issues and can be fixed in just a few clicks. Let's look at them now.
If you haven't updated driver software for your storage device in a while, Windows might not be able to read your M.2 SSD properly. Luckily, it's super easy to update the drivers using the following method:
Restart your computer after the process finishes and check if the M.2 SSD is recognized now.
Sometimes, Windows fails to recognize hard drives because of a missing or conflicting drive letter. You can change or assign a new letter to fix this issue.
Restart your PC after you make the changes. Check if you can now access your SSD through File Explorer.
If your M.2 SSD is showing as an "Unknown" disk in Windows Disk Management, you haven't initialized it yet. Follow the steps below to do that:
Windows operating system comes with a built-in troubleshooter for almost any hardware issue that can arise in your PC.
Here are the steps to troubleshoot your M.2 SSD:
Apply the desired fixes and restart your PC. Open Disk Management and see if your M.2 SSD is correctly detected now.
If none of the above solutions worked, a low-level format might be your last bet before visiting a technician.
This is different from the usual "Quick Format" option in Windows and is more intensive. As opposed to just setting up an empty file system, it completely wipes off the data and writes a zero to each cell.
Note: This method is not suggested if you are a beginner! Also, the process will wipe out your hard drive so it's not recommended if you don't have a backup of your SSD.
You can use third-party tools like the Intel Memory and Storage tool, AOMEI Partition Assistant, HDAT2, KillDisk, and DBAN. The exact steps can be found in the documentation of these tools, and we won't go into them here.
For example, the complete how-to instructions to run a low-level format using the Intel Memory and Storage tool can be found here.
The reasons why your M.2 SSD is not showing in Windows can be both hardware or software-related. Some of the most common issues are listed below:
In the BIOS, navigate to Advanced settings > Onboard Devices Configuration. Now find the PCI Express Slot Bandwidth option and change it to M.2 Mode. Save and exit to manually enable the M.2 SSD.
The primary reason why your drive is not appearing under Boot Priority is the incorrect partition format. If you have a UEFI system and your disk uses an MBR partition, it won't be recognized by the OS.
In this case, you can try disabling Secure boot and Fast boot or use the CSM compatibility mode. If that doesn't work, you can reformat the M.2 SSD to the GPT partition format.
Before using a newly installed SSD, you need to initialize and partition it. To do that, right-click Start and select Disk management.
Now right-click on your new hard disk and select Initialize. Choose the correct partition format (MBR or GPT). After that, right-click on the unallocated space and click on New Simple Volume. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a new partition on your SSD.
SSDs are a wonderful upgrade to mechanical hard drives, but they do come with certain issues. If your newly installed SSD is not detected in Windows, it can be either a software or hardware issue.
Whatever the case, we have provided the best solutions that can fix this problem and prevent dreadful data loss.
I hope you were able to fix the issue of M.2 SSD not showing in BIOS or Disk Management system utility. If not, I suggest that you don't DIY anymore and visit an authorized technician to look it up.