Installing an M.2 SSD

M. 2 SSD installation guide

Updated: November 15, 2022
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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Find the M. 2 pin on the motherboard
  3. Choose the correct type of the M. 2 SSD
  4. How to install M. 2 SSD: step-by-step instruction
    1. Prepare the workspace
    2. Install the SSD
    3. Format the drive
  5. Final thoughts

Installing the SSD drive increases the PC storage. You can create a custom 2TB or 4TB laptop, while most manufacturers could provide a 1TB storage maximum. Stick to the instructions on how to install an M. 2 SSD – and you will expand the memory of the device without outside help.

Find the M. 2 pin on the motherboard

M. 2 slot

The first thing you need to do is ensure that your computer supports this type of storage. Old devices (made before 2015) don’t support the M. 2. Also, you won’t find M. 2 support in ultra-budget devices. They use cheap and often old motherboards that connect only to the HDD. 

Moreover, every manufacturer places the M. 2 connection in different areas. So take a closer look at the middle and lower sections of the motherboard.

Choose the correct type of the M. 2 SSD

PCIe and SATA M. 2 solid drives

Britney Spears once said, “There are only two types…” And maybe she told us about the types of M. 2 SSD connections. 🙂

Because there are just two types of connection:

  • PCIe — with a single notch.
  • SATA — with two notches.

The first one is slightly faster than the second option. Most laptops support both versions, but some of them work with one of them. So it would be better to have an extra check rather than buy a multiple SSD.

How to install M. 2 SSD: step-by-step instruction

Once you find a suitable SSD, you can install it on the motherboard. Here is your short but practical guide.

1. Prepare the workspace

Gather all supplies in one place: computer, new solid drive, screwdrivers, and manual. Back up the essential files from the PC. Every new device’s connection is a mini-lottery, which sometimes can go wrong. So it would be better to save the most valuable data elsewhere.

Clean up the desk. Do it with wet wipes to avoid dust that can damage tiny details.

2. Install the SSD

Installment the M. 2 SSD to the laptop

And here is the most critical and complex task. The installment process requires extreme attention and repair skills. So do it on your own only if you are confident you have the required skills.

 Stick to this guide on how to install M. 2 SSD thoroughly:

  1. Shut down the PC.
  2. Remove the power cable to prevent short circuits.
  3. Open the case. This process varies in different devices, so check its manual.
  4. Ground yourself. Touch any unpainted metal surface to remove static electricity from your body.
  5. Find the slot and install the M. 2 SSD there. Don’t touch gold connector pins while aligning the notches. Enter the solid drive at the 25-30-degree angle. Don’t force the connection, do it smoothly and slowly.
  6. Secure the drive. In most cases, you will need to screw the new internal drive. Do not overtight it, but don’t make a loose connection. Find a happy medium when it’s properly fixed.
  7. Reassemble the system and turn on the computer.

If you stick to the instructions on how to install M. 2 SSD, everything should work as intended. Give your computer extra 1-2 minutes to find the drive. But if it doesn’t find the drive even after 10-15 minutes, you’ll have to repeat all these steps and reconnect the SSD.

3. Format the drive

When the most challenging part of the work is over, it’s time to set up the disc. Here is how you can do it on Windows:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon.
  2. Select Disc Management. Click on it and wait for 5-10 seconds until it loads information about drives.
  3. Select the disc that you want to format. Usually, the new M. 2 SSD is the last one on the list.
  4. Click Format. It will start the formatting process.
  5. Choose the type of File System. It’s preferable to select NTFS, so you can store big files (more than 4 Gb) on the device.
  6. Then select Perform a quick format.

How to format the SSD on Windows

If you want to know how to install the M. 2 SSD on macOS devices, stick to the following guide:

  1. Select the Finder icon.
  2. Choose the Applications category.
  3. Select Utilities Disc Utility.
  4. Find the freshly installed drive. It will be the SSD unit with the question mark.
  5. Go to the Erase tab and click Volume Format.
  6. Create the name of the disc and click on the Erase.

How to format the drive on the macOS

This action will format the SSD, deleting all information from it. But at the same time, it will end the installment process, so the drive becomes a part of the system.

Final thoughts

The PC building process is a complicated task. But if you are using guides on how to install M. 2 SSD or other crucial parts, you will be able to do this, even if you are a novice. There are a lot of available drives on the market, so you can easily find the most suitable version for you. 

Still got questions on how to install M. 2 SSD? Ask Howly experts, and we will send a detailed unique step-by-step guide for your situation.

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