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Question M.2 will not recognize HDD

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
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Updated my Acer E15 laptop with a M.2 SSD. Created a Win 10 recovery disk on a USB flash drive, Built a working Win 10 on the M.2, Can boot from either the M.2 or the HDD. FWIW the HDD is a Toshiba 1TB and the M.2 is a Adata 240 GB.

When I boot from the HDD, Windows sees the M.2 SSD. When I boot from the M.2 drive, Windows does not see the HDD either in Win Explorer or Disk Manager.
No amount of BIOS boot swapping has helped.

Is their a solution?
 

ArisVer

Golden Member
Mar 6, 2011
1,317
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Disk Manager, do you mean Disk Management? Post a screenshot of Disk Management if you can, that's strange.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
What specific model of ADATA m.2 do you have? Are both drives detected and displayed in the boot order settings in the BIOS?

I presume that your boot mode is set to UEFI and not legacy? Was the original hard drive partitioned as MBR or GPT?
 
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21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
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Thanks for the reply.

What specific model of ADATA m.2 do you have?
On the box it says:
Ultimate SU650, M.2 2280 SATA 6Gb/s SSD
Here's a link: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TYGQJ45/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Are both drives detected and displayed in the boot order settings in the BIOS?
Yes, both appear in the BIOS boot stack. But, IIRC, I had to play some games by removing one or the other, then booting, then reinstalling and rebooting. Why, not a clue. Spent hours trying combinations.

I presume that your boot mode is set to UEFI and not legacy? Was the original hard drive partitioned as MBR or GPT?
This question is a bit over my head. I will need to check. I remember seeing UEFI and legacy. The original drive came with the Acer laptop, don't know how it was formated.

I do appreciate the questions, wish I had exact answers. I'll do my best to come back tomorrow to answer the remaining.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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76
Disk Manager, do you mean Disk Management? Post a screenshot of Disk Management if you can, that's strange.
Yes, slip of the fried brain. I have the M.2 out to use the PC. Tomorrow I'll post Disk Management and the BIOS boot screens.

Thanks for the reply.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
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This question is a bit over my head. I will need to check. I remember seeing UEFI and legacy. The original drive came with the Acer laptop, don't know how it was formated.

I do appreciate the questions, wish I had exact answers. I'll do my best to come back tomorrow to answer the remaining.
You can tell whether the laptop is booting in UEFI mode or Legacy mode by going into the laptop BIOS. In the BIOS, on the BOOT tab, the boot mode is shown here (highlighted in white):

1595648061255.png

In the case shown above, the laptop is booting in UEFI mode. If it were in Legacy boot mode, it would show "Legacy" there instead of UEFI.

To determine if the drives are partitioned as MBR or GPT, I'd install both drives, then boot into Windows from the hard drive (since you can see both drives that way). Follow the instructions here in Disk Management for both the hard drive and the SSD to determine how each drive is partitioned.
 
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21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
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So I installed the M.2, set it as #1 in the boot stack, see pic, and it booted from the HDD, not the Adata M.2. To "solve" this I've removed the HDD, booted from the M.2, reinstall the HDD and reboot. Then the PC will boot from the M.2 but the HDD will be gone.

Boot.JPGDisk Mgmt.jpg
Boot.JPG

Disk Mgmt.jpg
 

heymrdj

Diamond Member
May 28, 2007
3,931
45
91
Acer is pretty non-existent for service manuals. I did see one other person with an E15 say they couldn’t see both drives at the same time. I wonder if Acer has implemented a shared SATA port, it’s not too uncommon on the desktop boards for a SATA port to be disabled by the use of a m.2 SATA drive. I can find 0 service manual data for it though, and Acer doesn’t seem to address any questions on it.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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76
This YouTube video published be Acer Support was my guide for the M.2 install.

According to the video having a HDD with the M.2 is an either or. Retain the HDD as is or Format to a bare HDD.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
If both drives are visible and accessible when the system is booted from the hard drive, it shouldn't be a shared SATA port issue.

Did you ever determine what boot mode the laptop was set to using in the BIOS and also whether each drive is partitioned as MBR or GPT?

1595808229873.png

To determine the partition types on each drive, on the above screen simply right-click where it shows Disk 0 in the lower part of the screen, hit Properties, then click on the Volumes tab. Rinse and repeat for Disk 1.
 
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Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
Yes, it does. Both are partitioned as GPT, so it isn't a partition issue.

Is the machine flashed to the most recent BIOS?

The only other thing I can think of that maybe you need to turn off the Secure Boot option in the BIOS while you make the hardware changes, then reactivate it once you are done. If you decide to try to do this, be aware that Acer requires you to set a supervisor password in the BIOS (probably under the Security menu) before you can disable Secure Boot.
 
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21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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Is the machine flashed to the most recent BIOS?
You keep coming up with questions that are over my head. :)

Never flashed a BIOS that I recall. What's involved?

That Acer How-to video never mentioned flashing a BIOS.

Is it possible that my M.2 is defective? Or unlikely since it will boot Windows w/o the HDD? Seems the boot stack is not working which would imply BIOS?

Thanks
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
0
76
The only other thing I can think of that maybe you need to turn off the Secure Boot option in the BIOS while you make the hardware changes, then reactivate it once you are done. If you decide to try to do this, be aware that Acer requires you to set a supervisor password in the BIOS (probably under the Security menu) before you can disable Secure Boot.
Could you be more specific as to the "hardware changes". Perhaps a step sequence.

Thanks
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
It is in theory possible the ADATA drive is defective, but I don't think so because if it was defective it shouldn't work at all. It could also just be a glitch associated with that particular drive in your laptop.

When you install the ADATA drive into your laptop, you are literally making a change in the hardware that makes up your system. Hence, my reference to "hardware change".

If there is a BIOS update for your computer, it will be available on the ACER support website for your specific machine (it'll be in the Drivers and Manuals section - search using the serial number or complete model number of your laptop).

To know if there is an updated BIOS, you'd first need to boot into the BIOS and check to see what BIOS version number is currently installed in your machine. Then, check the BIOS section of the Drivers and Manuals section of the support website to see if a higher numbered version of BIOS is available. The website will have instructions on what to do to install a BIOS update.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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76
You might find this interesting. I'm on the Acer forum and got a suggestion to go to msconfig > boot tab. Here's the screenshot:
msconfig.JPG
According to msconfig, the M.2 is NOT a boot drive.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
0
76
It is in theory possible the ADATA drive is defective, but I don't think so because if it was defective it shouldn't work at all. It could also just be a glitch associated with that particular drive in your laptop.

When you install the ADATA drive into your laptop, you are literally making a change in the hardware that makes up your system. Hence, my reference to "hardware change".

If there is a BIOS update for your computer, it will be available on the ACER support website for your specific machine (it'll be in the Drivers and Manuals section - search using the serial number or complete model number of your laptop).

To know if there is an updated BIOS, you'd first need to boot into the BIOS and check to see what BIOS version number is currently installed in your machine. Then, check the BIOS section of the Drivers and Manuals section of the support website to see if a higher numbered version of BIOS is available. The website will have instructions on what to do to install a BIOS update.
Appreciate that detailed reply, makes sense. Clear you're still firing on all 8, I'm not. So in the morning I'll follow your road map and check the BIOS.

Thanks
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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76
Upgraded the BIOS from 1.25 to 1.47, the latest available. Now boots from the m.2 and doesn't see the HDD. This is regardless of the boot order. To boot from the HDD I had to remove the m.2.

Disk Management did not show the HDD when booted from the m.2.
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
Well, I'm kind of at a loss at this point.

Before going any further, it might be worth sending an email to Acer support to ask about this issue. Include a link to the support video you found indicating that it should work in the email, and ask them why it is not. Make sure to include the complete model number of your laptop as well as there are MANY different configurations of the E15. @heymrdj could be entirely correct in his post above and there could be a technical limitation specific only to your model of E15 laptop that is preventing this from working (i.e. either due to cheapness on Acer's part, or with direct intent of not letting it work on a cheaper model to prevent competition with a more expensive one).

If they indicate it won't work or they don't have a solution, there is one other thing you can do to try to work around it. It isn't guaranteed to work, but it is cheap to try (usually $10 or less). You can purchase a hard drive caddy on eBay for your specific model of the Aspire E15 that will allow you to replace the DVD drive with a hard drive. The following video shows the physical process of doing it with an SSD (it works exactly the same to replace it with a hard drive):

Acer E15 drive caddy installation

The only slightly tricky part (not shown on the above video) is removing the bezel from the optical drive to add it to the drive caddy (for appearance sake only). It is not hard to do, but the tabs that hold it on are easy to break so you just have to be careful. If you try the caddy route, just don't remove the bezel from the optical drive until you know for sure everything is working properly (both drives visible) with the hard drive in the caddy while booting from the m.2.

It is also possible that this won't work either because Acer has set up an either/or system whereby you can use a hard drive OR a m.2 drive, but not both. I once worked on a cheap Lenovo laptop for someone that did this, and for those machines there is no possible workaround.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
0
76
Well, I'm kind of at a loss at this point.
You and me both!

Another data point:

Using the MAIN tab of the BIOS screen, there is an F12 option. It allows selecting the boot drive during POST.

Enabled F12, works . . . kinda.
I can boot from either drive, but . . . If I boot from the HDD, I can see either drive, tried to copy a folder from the HDD to the M.2. Seemed to work until I tried to find the folder.
If I boot from the M.2, the HDD disappears in Disk Management.

More and more I'm convinced that the M.2 is defective in some subtle way.

Thanks for all your help.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
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76
The latest from the Acer Forum is that my problem is that I have two copies of Windows. One on each drive. Hence I need to format the HDD, then the M.2 will play nice and recognize the HDD.

Your take?
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
My response would be to ask whoever told you that the following: If I can't detect the HDD in Windows Disk Management after booting from the m.2 drive, how do you expect me to format it?

I guess you could use a SATA to USB adaper, if you have one, to connect the drive and wipe it. If you decide to do this, make sure to back up your hard drive if you have anything you want to save on it. However, this wasn't indicated as being required in the support video you found which purports to be for your laptop. Since your case deviates from that video so much, it indicates to me that there has to be something else going on.

Just my take.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
0
76
As a test, I took a SATA HDD from a 10-YO Dell and installed it in the Acer with the M.2. The M.2 had no problem booting and the 80GB HDD was there in Disk Management. While it had Windows on it it was probably XP, don't remember. So tends to support the claim that its two identical Windows boot disc is the issue.

If only I could remove Windows and leave my data.
 

21stHermit

Senior member
Dec 16, 2003
911
0
76
Just my take.
You're not going to believe this: I started having issues with Windows booted from the M.2 drive. Couldn't open settings or RC Properties on desktop icons. Doing a Google search I found a checklist of ~10 items to check. The last of which was to reinstall Windows. So I removed the HDD, inserted my flash Recovery USB and reinstalled Windows on the M.2 drive, took over 2-hours.

Upon completion, not only did the Windows problems disappear, but low and behold the 1 TB HDD appeared in Disk Management when booted from the M.2. After Windows spent an hour+ indexing the HDD, I've been able to locate all my files. Color me relived.



I can't explain why, can you?

Your over the top technical writing skills made your post so easy to follow. Thank you for all your help, very much appreciated. :)
 

Steltek

Platinum Member
Mar 29, 2001
2,247
217
106
Anytime - I'm glad that it worked out for you. It sounds more and more like you might have been a victim of Win10 ver 2004 - as far as Windows feature releases have gone, 2004 has thus far proven to be a steaming pile of horse crap of an OS as far as installation is concerned.

Because of the problems you had getting this to work, I'd encourage you to create a backup image of your system ASAP so that you don't have to go through this again in the future.
 

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