Dueling SSD drives
October 12, 2017 1:53 PM   Subscribe

I have a new computer, and transferred an m.2 SSD drive from my previous system to my new system, with the intention of using it for storing data. I can't seem to use the m.2 drive and the new computer's SSD boot drive at the same time...why not?

Apologies for not being too well-versed in all the technical details, but here goes.

I had a 500GB m.2 SSD drive on my previous system (PC's name : 'Bessy') that I used as my boot (c:) drive. When my old computer (Bessy) died on me a few days ago, I purchased a new system (George) with a regular 250GB SSD boot drive, and figured I could add the larger drive from my old system as a data drive...wrong!

With just the 250GB SSD installed, George boots into a brand new version of Windows 10 and all is well.
As soon as I add the m.2 drive, however, George insists on booting into it, and my BIOS refuses to acknowledge that the other drive exists!

If it helps, I can give details of my motherboard and whatnot, but I suspect I'm doing something horribly inept and missing some very basic piece of information. I'm sure there's an issue with one SSD being an m.2 drive, and the other being a standard SATA drive.

Help me metafilter, please!!
posted by newfers to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
m.2 is the connection format but it could be either PCIe or SATA - maybe there's a conflict where it's trying to use the same SATA port for both? What's the mobo make/model?
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on October 12, 2017

Once again, apologies for not being more well-versed in all the terminology. I love USING tech, but my eyes often glaze over when reading makes/models/etc.

My motherboard is an Intel Z270.

There are a few spots on the mobo where I could install the m.2 drive. Are you saying that there a possibility that moving it to another location would fix the problem?
posted by newfers at 2:13 PM on October 12, 2017

The booting thing is likely a boot order setting you can change in BIOS, but the visibility one is a little weird, sight unseen. There may be a setting in BIOS that affects that.

Here's something that talks about the different m2 slots stepping on SATA ports, so either move the SSD cable to a different connection on the motherboard or put the m2 in the other slot.

The boot order thing will probably still apply regardless of how you move your connections around, though.
posted by rhizome at 2:23 PM on October 12, 2017

The problem is, when the m.2 drive is installed, the BIOS hides the other drive completely, and I'm unable to see or choose it to boot from. I hadn't considered moving the m.2 drive to another slot. If that fails, I'll move the other SSD drive to another port.

Fingers crossed.
posted by newfers at 2:28 PM on October 12, 2017

This is another shot in the dark, but I had an ASUS motherboard that had a "boot order" setting that appeared to hide disks, but there ended up being a separate boot priority setting that determined which internal SATA drive to use for booting first. Read your motherboard documentation carefully, perhaps it mentions something about this.

Also, Intel Z270 is a chipset, not a motherboard make/model, so unfortunately that doesn't help us look up the documentation for your motherboard.
posted by Aleyn at 2:53 PM on October 12, 2017

Oh, crap... well, I was close...according to the Motherboard manual, it's a "Prime Z270-P".
posted by newfers at 3:13 PM on October 12, 2017

Oh, crap... well, I was close...according to the Motherboard manual, it's a "Prime Z270-P".
Asus Prime Z270-P to be more specific.
posted by newfers at 3:18 PM on October 12, 2017

From the manual (assuming I have the right manual): "When a device in SATA mode is used in the M.2_1 socket, SATA_1 port cannot be used."

So more questions: Is the M.2 drive a SATA drive or a PCIe drive? (what's the make/model?)

Which port is the SATA HDD plugged into? (there are 4)
Which M.2 port are you using? (there are 2)

The M2_1 socket is closest to the CPU and the SATA_1 port is in the very corner of the mobo. SATA_2 is directly beside it.

There seem to be BIOS settings that allow the SATA ports to also be individually disabled and there's also a BIOS setting to configure M.2_1 in either SATA or PCIe mode... so there's a bunch of stuff to check.

My guess is that just making sure the SATA HDD is in port 2 should be enough, assuming the BIOS settings are otherwise sane. That should allow all drives to show up in the boot config BIOS screen.

But BIOS config, ugh.
posted by GuyZero at 3:29 PM on October 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I know, I know, it's all too much... the m.2 drive is SATA, apparently (here it is).

I'm just now wrapping my head around the fact that not every port "just works", so I can't answer as to which port each device is plugged into. I'm going to unplug things right now, and take a look. *sigh*...
posted by newfers at 3:40 PM on October 12, 2017

GuyZero, you made my day!

I was assuming that there was some obscure BIOS setting that I needed to adjust, when in fact, all I needed to do, was to plug the SATA drive into port 2...seriously, that's all it took!

I honestly had no idea that one type of drive would or could disable a drive in another port, but hey, that's what happened.

Now I have a nice fresh Windows 10 install on the 250GB drive, and have access to the data on my old(er) 500GB m.2 drive.

Thanks so much for your help, my friend, I really appreciate it!
posted by newfers at 4:12 PM on October 12, 2017

I could not tell you why that was my guess, but I'm glad it was right!
posted by GuyZero at 4:34 PM on October 12, 2017

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