Added M.2 SSD to a new laptop, Windows still finds the old OS.

skylerWithAnE

Estimable
Mar 11, 2015
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4,510
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So I recently purchased a new laptop. Shortly after receiving it I added an M.2 SSD into an open port on the computer. When I booted up it complained that it couldn't find a bootable drive. I rebooted, hit F12 at post, and I was able to load the current Windows install on the mechanical drive. After verifying that the SSD (and everything else) was working, I rebooted to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 on the SSD.

The Windows installation went fine, nothing to note. After it was done, I formatted the mechanical drive on the laptop and went back to installing programs on the SSD. Now whenever I boot my machine, I'm sent to a Windows boot loader that asks me to choose between Win 10 on volume 2, and Win 10 on volume 5. Volume 2 is my SSD and it loads up with no problem. Volume 5 will fail because, well, it isn't there.

I've rebooted using the flash drive and attempted to do a start up repair, but, it failed, and did not provide any information about why it failed. I'm not really sure what else to try next. Fortunately, the problem doesn't really cost me much time, 5 seconds or however long it takes me to click which OS to boot, but, I'd like to resolve it, if possible.

edit: just read this thread. When I check diskmgmt.msc, I see a 100mb EFI partition on the mechanical drive, and no EFI partition on the SSD. Could that be part of the problem?

TL;DR: Laptop was sold without M.2 SATA drive. I added one, installed OS, wiped the old drive, but the system still thinks that there's an OS installed there so it hassles me about it during startup.
 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
127
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4,715
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Yes - the EFI side of things could well be a problem.

By the sound of it you are trying to mix EFI /UEFI with MBR (Legacy BIOS option).

Go into your BIOS and check whether you are using EFI/UEFI or Legacy.

If the mechanical drive has EFI and that is the drive you imaged and then placed that image on the SSD without having created an EFI partition when formatting/installing that image then that is your problem right there - they won't play ball together.

The short answer - make sure both drives have an EFI prior to installing OR use MBR on both drives.

Note: The use of MBR would require you to switch to Legacy boot option and turn OFF Secure Boot if it is there. Better to go EFI if that is what the OS originally came on and the added benefit is that with EFI you can create 128 partitions on the disk unlike 4 partitions as is the maximum with an MBR formatted disk.

 

skylerWithAnE

Estimable
Mar 11, 2015
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4,510
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The boot setting is UEFI.

I didn't clone the drive and image it, I just did a clean install of Windows 10. But, it detected the EFI partition on the mechanical drive and just used that instead of creating its own. Can I fix that without deleting that partition and reinstalling Windows?
 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
127
3
4,715
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As per the thread link you posted, the easiest way if you haven't gone too far after installing would be to remove the mechanical drive when installing Win 10 clean on the SSD and simply let the Win 10 installation do its thing....so long as you stick with the UEFI and NOT Legacy option in your UEFI "BIOS" (I have quoted "BIOS" there because UEFI and BIOS are NOT the same thing) then you should be cool.

If you are willing to get adventurous then the link provided at that very same thread outlines the procedure of creating the necessities on the disk, in your case the SSD on which you want the Win 10 installation on - the problem you have is that it is obviously using the EFI partition of the old install on the mechanical drive. The worst that can happen there if you try and fail, and provided that you have adequate installation media, is that you ruin it and as mentioned start from scratch (I.e. remove mechanical drive and fresh install Win 10 on the SSD then replace mech drive when done).

As I think you are aware - the Microsoft artical here outlines the procedure in detail: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/hh825686

I am assuming that you do NOT in fact want Win 10 on BOTH disks and simply want to have Win 10 on the SSD and use the mechanical drive as a DATA drive for storage... for example for pics, videos, the location of your steamapps folder etc.

If my last assumption there is correct, and considering that there is already an EFI partition on the mechanical drive, if you installed Win 10 on the SSD with the mechanical drive removed then when you boot the OS from the SSD (which Win 10 install should have created an EFI partition for on install because it couldn't find one on any other drive.because you removed the other drive when installing), then when you shut down and re-install the mechanical drive the SSD should see the mech drive as they now BOTH have EFI.....you should then simply be able to reformat the mechanical drive to NTFS file system to be on the safe side and you should be good.

That's my understanding of it anyways.

At the moment, it sounds like your BIOS is seeing things in a kind of dual boot sense - for example if you were to install Linux Mint or Ubuntu on the mechanical drive, the Linux flavor would need to be a UEFI compatible version and then GRUB 2 boot menu would take over from the Windows boot loader but the /boot partition of Linux MUST be installed to the EFI partition of the SSD which holds the primary OS - in your case Windows 10.

I hope I haven't confused the hell out of you here but there's no doubt it's more complicated than the old MBR.

You don't need to take everything I've said here as gospel either as I may well be incorrect on some points - in fact I would advise you to seek another opinion which might be as simple as hanging round here for a bit.

In the meantime, don't panic as you have a usable OS and someone can help you get this fixed how you want - take your time and if you don't get the answer that makes you feel comfortable here then re-post at some other good hardware forums.

Good luck :)
 

skylerWithAnE

Estimable
Mar 11, 2015
4
0
4,510
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Hmm. I guess I'll just deal with the OS select because the mechanical drive on this laptop is damn near impossible to access. The M.2 was able to be popped in after opening the case. The mechanical, however, requires me to entirely remove the motherboard and flip it over to gain access to the 2.5 inch slot. Yes, that is how it is designed, there is not a service bay. It's a bit frustrating that Microsoft couldn't throw me a bone and allow me to specify where I'd like things placed in the Windows 10 install. I've also noticed now that whenever I put the laptop to sleep I'm greeted by a "no bootable device" message whenever I wake it back up.
 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
127
3
4,715
44
Don't worry mate - a lot of people make the mistake with this new EFI business.

Basically, and to try to keep it a lot shorter this time, I think you know what happened and that is that windows already saw an EFI partition on what was set as the first disk and just went ahead and installed the rest where you told it to - it's a pain in the butt for sure but you won't be the last person that does it - lesson learned.

The size of the EFI partition is small and for the trouble of getting it fixed it may not really be worth it for the sake of a non-irritating boot menu but I think it slightly reduces SSD performance with that set up as well which I personally wouldn't cop.

I was kinda hoping someone else might have come along and told me I am wrong and that there is an easy fix and for your sake I still hope they do - then I'll eat my humble pie and say I was sorely mistaken.

My suggestion would be to keep checking in here and give the thread a bump every now and then.

On the other hand if it was me I would be ripping it open and getting things in order.

Don't be scared of pulling the thing apart if you haven't done one before and here's a few pointers if you'd like to give it a go:

*Hunt around for a currently existing strip down and put back together guide for your model and have it on hand

* Get a cheap small screwdriver set (or something like this if you wanna splurge):
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Belkin-Professional-Computer-Service-Tool-Kit-Huge-Saving-/181946308300?hash=item2a5cd856cc

* Make sure you touch metal to ground yourself before playing inside the machine (or if you do purchase something like above - know how to properly use the anti static band in the kit)

* Make sure that you place every part you remove on a numbered piece of paper and when completely disassembled just put back together in reverse

* BE GENTLE - don't force anything to much (I tried for 15 minutes to remove a lappy keyboard before finally realizing I hadn't removed a screw in the previous step of the manual I was reading from).

That's about it - take it easy my friend and thanks for posting back with some feedback.


 

skylerWithAnE

Estimable
Mar 11, 2015
4
0
4,510
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I'm not really worried about opening it up. I had to do that to get to the M.2 slot. But a complete disassembly on a 4 day old laptop doesn't sound fun. I think I might use a Linux live boot disc and reformat the drive into something weird that Windows won't touch, like ext4 or btrfs. Perhaps that would force windows to ignore the drive, and then after it's done I could properly format.
 

Cloudy1

Estimable
Jan 21, 2016
127
3
4,715
44


That sounds like an excellent idea and I wish I had have thought of it.

Just remembering though that the current installation of Windows is relying on that EFI partition on the mechanical drive so it comes down to the fresh install again on the SSD.

 
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