[SOLVED] Help requested: Gigabyte Z690 AERO / Windows issues recognizing and booting M2 NVME drives

Dec 27, 2021
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Build details:
CPU: Intel Core i7-12700K - Core i7 12th Gen Alder Lake 12-Core (8P+4E) 3.6 GHz LGA 1700 125W Intel UHD Graphics 770 Desktop Processor - BX8071512700K
MOBO: GIGABYTE Z690 AERO G DDR4 LGA 1700 Intel Z690 ATX Motherboard with DDR4, Quad M.2, PCIe 5.0, USB 3.2 Gen2X2 Type-C, WiFi 6, Intel 2.5 GbE LAN
Storage #1: SAMSUNG 980 PRO M.2 2280 1TB PCI-Express Gen 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.3c Samsung V-NAND 3-bit MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V8P1T0B/AM
Storage #2: SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2 2280 2TB PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 V-NAND 3-bit MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V7S2T0B/AM
Storage #3: SAMSUNG 850 EVO 2.5" SATA III 500GB (recycled from old build)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro SL 32GB (2x16GB) DDR4 3600 (PC4-28800) C18 1.35V Desktop Memory - White (CMH32GX4M2D3600C18W)
Graphics: Old EVGA 1660 TI I recycled until prices get more reasonable or a new gen comes out
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G6 220-G6-0850-X1 850 W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
CPU Cooler: Corsair iCUE H100i Elite Capellix Liquid CPU Cooler – White
Case: Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact White ATX Flexible High-Airflow Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case, FD-C-MES2C-05
Fans: Corsair LL Series, LL120 RGB, 120mm RGB LED Fan, Single Pack- White

Process steps:
I installed everything per the motherboard manual.
980 Pro is in the M2A_CPU slot.
970 Evo Plus is in the M2P_SB slot.
850 Evo is installed into SATA slot 3.
Graphics card is in the PCIEX16 slot.
RAM is in slots A2/B2.

Help needed:
Everything seems to be working properly with the exception of the M2 drives. When I first put the computer together, I tried to boot from a flash drive copy of Windows onto the M2 drive, but it didn’t work so I ultimately let it boot from the existing copy of Windows I had on the SATA drives.
Since then, I’ve updated / flashed my BIOS to F4, played with BIOS settings from all the help forums on CSM/SATA controllers/Boot keys/etc. M2 drives seem to be recognized by the motherboard since they show up in the BIOS M2 configuration. M2 drives also appear in Windows under ‘storage spaces’ and show up in device manager appropriately. However, the M2 drives do not show up in disk management and I have no option to boot them or format them. They also don’t show up as a drive in the system navigator (e.g., Windows//D). SSD drives also don’t show up in Samsung Magician tool.
I’ve also tried physically unplugging the SATA drive and using a flash drive copy of Windows on the M2 drives, but that doesn’t work either. They do not show as bootable drives in the BIOS options.
What am I doing wrong? Anyone know a fix for this that hasn’t been discussed above?
 

dwd999

Honorable
Well, for starters, the windows installer is really fussy about having more than one drive connected at installation time, especially if that drive has another operating system on it. You can have more than one drive if the drives are totally blank partition free unallocated space. The only thing a drive should have is the initialized GPT identifier. I also recommend thinking outside the windows box. I boot from a usb with a linux distro and use the gparted app to check drives, make sure they are identified as GPT and that all partitions are deleted and the drive is totally unallocated. This works really well to prepare for installing windows.
 
Reactions: patj06061990

dwd999

Honorable
Well, for starters, the windows installer is really fussy about having more than one drive connected at installation time, especially if that drive has another operating system on it. You can have more than one drive if the drives are totally blank partition free unallocated space. The only thing a drive should have is the initialized GPT identifier. I also recommend thinking outside the windows box. I boot from a usb with a linux distro and use the gparted app to check drives, make sure they are identified as GPT and that all partitions are deleted and the drive is totally unallocated. This works really well to prepare for installing windows.
 
Reactions: patj06061990
Dec 27, 2021
3
1
15
0
Well, for starters, the windows installer is really fussy about having more than one drive connected at installation time, especially if that drive has another operating system on it. You can have more than one drive if the drives are totally blank partition free unallocated space. The only thing a drive should have is the initialized GPT identifier. I also recommend thinking outside the windows box. I boot from a usb with a linux distro and use the gparted app to check drives, make sure they are identified as GPT and that all partitions are deleted and the drive is totally unallocated. This works really well to prepare for installing windows.
Ok I'll try that this evening and report back.
 
Dec 27, 2021
3
1
15
0
Well, for starters, the windows installer is really fussy about having more than one drive connected at installation time, especially if that drive has another operating system on it. You can have more than one drive if the drives are totally blank partition free unallocated space. The only thing a drive should have is the initialized GPT identifier. I also recommend thinking outside the windows box. I boot from a usb with a linux distro and use the gparted app to check drives, make sure they are identified as GPT and that all partitions are deleted and the drive is totally unallocated. This works really well to prepare for installing windows.
Solved! Thank you so much!

I ended up booting Ubuntu from a flash drive, then just using the integrated disk tool to wipe the partitions. Windows had put on some weird storage spaces partitions taking up the entire drive. After that, both drives showed up in the boot settings and I was able to install Windows from a flash drive installation media.
 
Reactions: dwd999

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