A relatively new form of problem which has been introduced by the wider adoption of solid-state drives (and other drives with more particular power requirements than standard mechanical hard drives) is that of drive detection and compatibility. This applies most notably to sleep/resume and cold boot detection of these devices, which sometimes are not detected at all on specific systems. Occasionally a BIOS update on the computer or a firmware update to the drive can resolve the issue, but other times, the drive may simply be incompatible.
I have seen this most recently with Crucial brand SSDs, which by and large have proven to be a good value — when they work. Reliability hasn’t been a concern with regard to the drives I’ve purchased for my clients, but on occasion, drive detection is a problem. Specifically, some of the newer Dell Latitude laptops (of which I purchase and service quite a large number) seem to struggle with Crucial SSDs.
The message you will see on a Dell Latitude if this happens to you is:
No bootable devices found.
Press F1 key to retry boot.
Press F2 key for setup utility.
Press F5 key to run onboard diagnostics.
Interestingly, if the user presses F1 to retry, the machine then boots normally. This indicates that the problem has to do with the machine not detecting the drive quickly enough during POST to continue with the boot process.
With other machines, the problem can be resolved by switching ON “Hot plug support” (or similar) in the BIOS Setup. However, this option does not exist within Dell’s BIOS Setup.
So, then, what’s the solution? Actually, it’s precisely the same thing I posted in my previous update as a response to a completely different problem: bypass the RAID controller and use AHCI interface instead. The problem apparently seems to be related, at least in part, to how the system processes the communication between the drive and the chipset via the Intel RAID controller. Disabling RAID does require jumping through a couple of hoops, but it’s relatively quick and easy. See my post here for full instructions!
Once this is complete, the machine boots normally each and every time!