Question Sata ssd won't boot with m.2 removed

Sep 16, 2019
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I have a week old laptop and decided to upgrade my storage space. Currently this laptop came with a 512gb m.2 nvme ssd. I have an empty slot for sata ssd so I bought a 2tb crucial sata ssd.
Here's where it gets odd.
I don't have the sata cord that was supplied with the laptop atm, so I decided to use a USB enclosed box with the crucial sata ssd in it, connected via USB 3.0.
I use partition wizard free version to clone the m.2 to the crucial ssd. After successfully cloning the m.2 I take out the m.2 and proceed to boot via USB the crucial.
Everything in the bios is set correctly to boot from the USB, but it gets a recovery screen when I try and boot with only the usb.
If I insert the m.2 ssd it will then boot fine from the USB.

In short, without the m.2 inserted, the USB SSD will not boot at all.

So what gives? What am I missing??

1: is it possible that because it's not connected to the main board it's not letting it but right?
2: why would removing the m.2 drive affect the booting of the USB?
3: is it possible there is some sort of restriction that the laptop company has set where it absolutely will not boot the sata ssd without the m.2 ssd? I've never heard of such a thing, but I'm my years of IT I am always learning new and crazy things.

If anyone knows I'd be grateful for solutions.
 

USAFRet

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Interesting, I wasn't aware of that.
So I'm curious though, how do I see people booting windows on a USB flash drive.... Is that a modified version of some sort?

I guess in my case I'll have to wait until tomorrow where I can use the sata adapter to the main board to see if it boots.
To install via USB, that is typical.

To run an installed Windows from USB, that's different.
Windows To Go:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/planning/windows-to-go-overview
A mostly Enterprise feature, slow, and is apparently going away.
 
Reactions: Phillip Corcoran
Sep 16, 2019
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To install via USB, that is typical.

To run an installed Windows from USB, that's different.
Windows To Go:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deployment/planning/windows-to-go-overview
A mostly Enterprise feature, slow, and is apparently going away.
Very nice. Greatly appreciate the fast reply and info.
I suspitioned the USB being the culprit but wasn't 100% sure so I came here.

I am a huge gamer as well as IT person, but mostly a gamer.
I personally think even 2tb is small in today's gaming world, so I may even upgrade my m.2 nvme ssd to 2tb as well.
I think 4tb should hold me for some time 😋😉.

Again thanks for the info, I'm a bit less stressed out now lol.
 
Sep 16, 2019
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Generally speaking, a full Windows install will NOT boot through the USB.
To install, sure.
To run from, no.
Interesting, I wasn't aware of that.
So I'm curious though, how do I see people booting windows on a USB flash drive.... Is that a modified version of some sort?

I guess in my case I'll have to wait until tomorrow where I can use the sata adapter to the main board to see if it boots.
 
Sep 16, 2019
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See my parts list below. 4.5TB, all SSD
Connected to a 50TB NAS...;)
OMG, I have ssd envy now LOL!!!!!! Very nice

I just thought of another question tof an issue I had never run into.

When I booted off the usb ssd earlier, I had tried to assign c: as like f: or some other letter, so as I could assign the usb ssd as c:
Before when I had a dual drive setup I would just set the bios to boot the new hd and re-assign the old hd as like drive z: or any other letter other than c, then assign the new drive c and reboot and it worked fine.

Well this time I tried to assign the drive letters and windows disk manager would not let me assign, saying some programs relied on drive letters to work correctly. In partition wizard free I tried to assign the same way but the only thing I could change the drive letter on was the usb drive.

If I say have the same issue where the m.2 wants to take over the sata ssd, is there a way to force change the drive letter via partition wizard or some program that you are aware of?

I hope that all made sense, it's been an extremely long day and I'm starting to feel it, so I may be a bit sleepy lol.
 
Sep 16, 2019
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You can't switch C drive letters like that.
Whatever drive or partition it boots from will see itself as the C. All other storage things will be other drive letters, assigned automatically.
Hrmm could have sworn I changed it like that, but then again it's been years ago and.... I've slept since then.

So my dilemma is then, if I want to have the sata ssd as the main c: and still use the m.2 as storage how would I go about doing that without having a m.2 external box?

Once I get the sata installed in the laptop, can I change the boot order in the bios and have it boot the sata first, and it will make that the main drive and I can then format the m.2?

It's been way way to Long since I've even had to do this, so I'm kinda out of the loop a bit.
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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Hrmm could have sworn I changed it like that, but then again it's been years ago and.... I've slept since then.

So my dilemma is then, if I want to have the sata ssd as the main c: and still use the m.2 as storage how would I go about doing that without having a m.2 external box?
I think m.2 takes precedence over sata if I'm not mistaken, so as long as windows is on the m.2 it will over ride the sata as bring the main drive, I think anyways, at least until I can get it formatted.
What the system boots from depends on what is in the BIOS boot order.
A SATA drive can be above the NVMe, and thus be the default boot drive.

However...2 or more identical Windows OS's in the same system can bring all sorts of other problems. Generally not advisable.


You can easily have an NVMe drive as a secondary drive, by simply not having an OS on it.
You do not need nor want an operating system on each drive.
 
Sep 16, 2019
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What the system boots from depends on what is in the BIOS boot order.
A SATA drive can be above the NVMe, and thus be the default boot drive.

However...2 or more identical Windows OS's in the same system can bring all sorts of other problems. Generally not advisable.


You can easily have an NVMe drive as a secondary drive, by simply not having an OS on it.
You do not need nor want an operating system on each drive.
Yeah that's what I'm after is to format the m.2 instead of leaving windows on it.
Once booted to the sata won't the m.2 just show as data and I can format it?
 
Sep 16, 2019
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What laptop do you have that requires cables to attach an 2.5" ssd?

Thought there would be a slot like in this video
From 3:30
Yeah, that connector she is using is pretty much how my external USB box works, only difference is mine slides into a metal/aluminum box instead of being open, but I can also use it without the box... Basically the exact same thing.
The cord I have in the box is a sata connector on one side, then the flat cord that connects to the main board via a flip connector thing that you slide the strip under the connector then press it down and it clamps the connector down to the main board. Typical connector on laptop normally aside from the other type that you slide into a slot. A lot of the laptop kboards use the same press down connectors as well.

The connector she is sliding the drive into is normally what I've seen and had in my laptop, but this laptop doesn't have that side in connector type, it's a connector that is in a bag, and you just attach the ribbon to the main board. A bit different but still works. It's also the first laptop I've seen to have a single Nvidia card as apposed to the Nvidia + intel setup. I like the single Nvidia way better, its more like a desktop setup. Never did like the whole Nvidia with intel setup.
 
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Sep 16, 2019
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Oh ok, i thought when you said empty slot for an ssd i assumed youd just plug the ssd there (no cables) like in the video and be done.

What laptop do you have?
Oh no, I meant an empty hole or place you can install a sata SSD. The laptop came with a 512gb m.2 ssd but they also made it so you can have a sata SSD as well as the m.2.

The laptop is a Lenovo Legion y540 17". Intel 9540 (I think it is s lol), rtx 2060 6gb, 16gb ddr4 ram dual channel, 512gb m.2, 144mhz refresh rate.
Pretty nice low end of the upper tier laptops. I'm just upgrading the storage because games today just chew up storage fast! I found my 1tb I used to have filled up quite fast, of course I am a gamer at heart so I will need space lol.
I got a free copy of cod:mw as well which runs $60 itself, but the game install is like 20gb big or around that by itself.
It's not uncommon to have a game teach 50+ gigs today with all the massive patches and such.
I play lotro (Lord of the rings online) and my entire folder for that game is like I think close to 30gb and that's an older game too.
 

boju

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Ambassador
I see.

Finally found a video of it (Think it's of your laptop, there's so many models), i see the ribbon cable now. Well that should have been included i would have imagined. Need the ribbon cable to boot the ssd. Usb cable the lady spoke of isn't what you need.

 
Sep 16, 2019
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I see.

Finally found a video of it (Think it's of your laptop, there's so many models), i see the ribbon cable now. Well that should have been included i would have imagined. Need the ribbon cable to boot the ssd. Usb cable the lady spoke of isn't what you need.

Yeah, the USB is a way to get the os cloned, then you can remove the old drive and out the new one in.
They did provide a sata ribbon cable in the box, but I'm currently on the road so I don't have it so I was trying to be ahead of things so all I have to do is put the drive in, and boot.
I was just testing the drive to see if the clone actually booted. I'll be home today so I can put the ribbon cable on and boot up.

That is the laptop though, and yes your right they have so many variants it's nuts.
They have a 15" y540 with the same specs. Makes it hard to narrow things down to your specific laptop when they have multiple versions.

What's weird is in see videos on them taking the entire back off. In my case all I need to do is pull 2 screws from the front, slide the front half plastic forward and pull it off, the vented half doesn't need to be pulled. I can access everything to upgrade.
Pulling the battey however is a bit more tricky, as they have another plastic cover you have to pull to get to the battery.
From what I saw it looks almost as if the battery is L shaped. Looks very odd.


Update:
For whatever reason, which the only thing I can think of is lenovo some how has tied the rescue partitions (drv partitions) to the bios some how.
When I delete the partitions, then check in the bios, the boot order then does not show the new ssd in the boot order.
If I copy the partition exactly as is, all ssd drive then show under the boot order.

I decided to give cloneing the drive 1 more shot and worry about it later after I got things up and running, so I decided to clone it exactly as is, and reboot to the new ssd, but sadly it blu screens on me.

I finally just created a usb flash drive install with the MS creation tool, and start all over again which worked like a dream, I just wanted to avoid all the updates and installing software again.

Everything is now up and running and both drives see in the boot order and have the new ssd as my main and formatted the m.2 and is now as storage,

Thanks again for the help and answers I greatly appreciate it.
 
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