Question Slow Death of Windows, followed by failure to boot after re-installing Windows onto NVMe m.2 drive

Sep 4, 2020
I'm experiencing a new issue with my PC after the latest installation of an NVMe m.2 drive and re-installation of Windows. The symptoms are a slow locking up of my PC (but normal stats - memory, CPU, and Storage usage remain under 50% utilization) followed by the inability to boot to my OS drive.

Previously, I had four SATA hard drives/SSDs connected to my PC. - one of which contained my Windows operating system.

After some issues with my computer (and having been 5 years since installing my OS) I decided to purchase a new m.2 drive and install Windows to it. The drive is the Crucial P1 NVMe m.2 1TB drive. I didn't realize at the time that I'd purchased an NVMe drive, and I'm not so sure I understand how it differs from a SATA m.2.

I followed the normal steps for installing Windows to a new drive - unplugged all of the SATA drives from the computer, installed the NVMe m.2 drive to my m.2_1 slot of my motherboard, installed Windows x64 to the drive, then reconnected all of my SATA drives and booted the PC. This worked perfectly. The computer booted, I assigned the drives (including the old Windows OS drive) to their drive letters, and began installing applications.

On day three or four after installation I noticed my PC slowing down massively in one session. I couldn't open Task Manager, I couldn't change tabs, Windows Explorer locked up. The PC locked up completely, so I hard-shut down. When trying to boot the PC back up again, I see the BIOS prompt to enter BIOS settings like normal, and then the Windows spinning loading icon that spins infinitely.

I hard-shut down again and powered the system on, same response.

After some searching, I decided to remove the four SATA drives and boot the PC - the PC boots to Windows normally.

If I power down the PC and re-connect the SATA drives, the PC boots completely normally! UNTIL the same thing happens eventually, usually 1-2 days later - Windows slows down, applications fail to load, the PC locks up, and on re-boot the PC fails to boot into Windows until I disconnect all of the SATA drives and try again.

I'm almost certain this has to do with my BIOS configuration and the new NVMe m.2 drive, or perhaps with a failing SATA drive. But I can't find any information about solving an issue like this. My motherboard documentation doesn't claim that the m.2_1 slot disables or interferes with any SATA ports., but my SATA drives are connected to ports 3, 4, 5, and 6. Ports 1 and 2 are empty. Any guidance or suggestions here would be helpful. Thanks!

PC Specs:
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
Crucial P1 1TB NVMe m.2 SSD (OS)
Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR4-3200
WD Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5" 7200RPM
Crucial MX300 525 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (Old OS)
Crucial MX300 525 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
Crucial MX300 525 GB 2.5" Solid State Drive
MSI GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB Video Card
SeaSonic X Series 850 W 80+