[SOLVED] How can I get my Samsung SSD 980 NVMe M.2 to show on my PC with Asus Z97-A motherboard?

Apr 11, 2021
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Hi all. Sorry for the wall of text in advance.

I'm having trouble with my computer not recognising my new Samsung SSD 980 NVMe M.2 drive. I've read several forum threads that have helped me get through some of my issue, but none were quite identical to my issue and I haven't been able to completely resolve it. Hopefully someone can help.

Here's the parts involved:
  • New drive: Samsung SSD 980 NVMe 1TB
  • Motherboard: Asus Z97-A
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-4790
  • Current Boot Drive: Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250G
  • Extra Storage Drive: Seagate ST1000DM003 1TB
I currently boot from the Samsung 850 EVO and use the Seagate as extra storage. After 9 years or so of use, I decided to get a new drive for storage, but after learning about NVMe drives and noticing an empty M.2 slot on my motherboard, I decided to shop around and eventually settled on getting a Samsung SSD 980, with the intention of cloning my original boot drive to it and using it as my new boot drive (and probably using the old SSD as storage).

I thought I'd done enough due diligence to figure out if it would be a reasonably easy process, but apparently not. On top of everything else, it sounds like my motherboard's specs mean that I wouldn't be getting the full performance out of the drive anyway, but that doesn't bother me too much (unless it's going to perform worse than my current SSD!).

After installing the new SSD drive in the only M.2 port on my motherboard, I booted up my PC and noticed that it wasn't recognising the new drive. I went to Google for answers and that lead me to these forums.

The posts and advice I've found so far have been pretty informative, but there always seems to be a crucial step missing. I consider myself reasonably computer literate, but I only have limited experience tinkering with the BIOS, Windows installation, bootable USB drives, and disk partitioning, so some of these parts go a bit over my head when there aren't clear steps to go through.

I found two posts on this forum that were somewhat similar to mine (same motherboard, similar NVMe drives), but as is always the way, the scenarios weren't exactly the same as mine.

I started with this post and followed the advice of the solution given there. This solution involved creating a Win10 bootable UEFI USB drive, but as I'm coming from Win7 I tried this:
  1. Downloaded a Windows 7 64-bit installation ISO from Microsoft
  2. Downloaded and used the Rufus utility to create a bootable UEFI USB drive with Windows 7
  3. Turned off the PC. Unplugged my SATA drives so only the NVMe was plugged in
  4. Started up the PC. In the BIOS menu I turned off the Compatibility Support Module (CSM)
  5. I changed Onboard Devices Configuration > PCI Express from Auto Mode to M.2 Mode (as I read that the PCIEX1_1 slot shares bandwidth with the M.2 port)
  6. I changed USB from Partial to Full Initialisation (I assumed this would be necessary)
  7. Inserted bootable USB drive, saved BIOS changes and restarted
I got stuck at this point, as a big red error message informed me that my boot drive was "unauthorised" and would only lead me back to the BIOS screen. I was thoroughly confused. My Windows 7 installation ISO is completely legit (I created the ISO via Microsoft with my product key). Having close to zero experience trying to boot Windows installation from a USB drive, I had no idea how to progress from here, so I reverted all my BIOS changes and plugged my SATA drives back in so I could go back to Google. I left the M.2 Mode config change turned on.

Once I booted back into my usual drive, I found that I now had an unknown "PCI Device" in Device Manager's "Other devices" section. I assume this was due to me turning on M.2 Mode.

I opened up Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management to see if the NVMe was showing up there (perhaps as an unallocated disk), which of course it wasn't.

I found another post here that sounded even closer to my scenario, though this poster was trying to install a Samsung 980 PRO (rather than a straight 980) and had a few other slight differences. I looked at the solution on this post and it sounded similar to the previous one. Again, it referred to using a Windows 10 bootable drive, so I decided to actually try Win10 instead. I tried this:
  1. Used Windows Media Creation Tool to download Windows 10 installation files (I chose "Create installation for another PC") and put them on a fresh USB drive
  2. Turned off the PC. Unplugged my SATA drives again
  3. Turned on the PC, disabled the CSM and turned on USB Full Initialisation again
  4. Inserted the bootable Win10 USB drive, saved and restarted
  5. The Windows 10 installer came up and asked whether I wanted to do an Upgrade or Custom. It wouldn't let me do an Upgrade using my Win7 product key, so I tried Custom
  6. The installer asked me to choose a drive, and actualy listed my NVMe SSD (!!!). I chose it and the installer went to work
  7. After installation, the computer restarted... and returned to the installer screen
  8. I turned off the computer and removed the USB drive, then turned it back on
  9. An error was displayed saying that I was using the incorrect boot method, so I opened the BIOS screen and re-enabled the CSM (the NVMe doesn't appear on the BIOS screen anywhere, fwiw), then saved and restarted
At this point, all that I could do was arrive at a black screen with a single flashing DOS text cursor. I have no idea what to do at this point, but I feel like I'm 9/10ths of the way through this problem, with my lack of experience with Win installation blocking me here at the end. I've since plugged my SATA drives back in and booted back to Win7 the normal way.

What am I doing wrong? Is it something to do with the CSM settings? Am I trying to install Windows 10 the wrong way? I would love to finally figure this silly mess out.
 
1. Update BIOS to latest version (non BETA) first. This may fix nvme boot issues.

2. Windows 7 doesn't support nvme natively. Specific hotfixes and nvme drivers have to be installed to add nvme support. Get hotfixes from microsoft support site.
KB2990941
KB3087873
You can get nvme drivers from samsung support site or intel support site.

3. When installing windows 10 in UEFI mode, turn off secure boot.
Or install in legacy mode - this means enabling CSM.
 
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USAFRet

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A 980, on a Z97 motherboard?
With Win 7?
In the name of FSM...WHY???

  1. With Z97 era boards. NVMe support was very spotty. If it will work AT ALL as the boot drive, you need to be on the most recent BIOS.
  2. It may well perform slower than a SATA III SSD. Or at least, no better.
  3. It may only be useful as a secondary drive, not the OS drive.
  4. With Win 7, you'd need to slipstream the NVMe drivers into that install.

From here:

None of the BIOS upgrades speak to booting from that M.2 port.
Only "Support NVMe". Which is NOT the same thing as being able to boot from it.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
win 7 doesn't have nvme drivers, that is likely why it stopped\

Win 10 never finished
After installation, the computer restarted... and returned to the installer screen
did you set up user accounts? if you didn't and it restarted and went back to start of install, its not finished.
Sometimes removing USB before the restart can let it continue the install process

Its only going to run at half speed, putting a 980 in that seems overkill.
 
1. Update BIOS to latest version (non BETA) first. This may fix nvme boot issues.

2. Windows 7 doesn't support nvme natively. Specific hotfixes and nvme drivers have to be installed to add nvme support. Get hotfixes from microsoft support site.
KB2990941
KB3087873
You can get nvme drivers from samsung support site or intel support site.

3. When installing windows 10 in UEFI mode, turn off secure boot.
Or install in legacy mode - this means enabling CSM.
 
Reactions: Mister Octopus

Mr.Spock

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Dec 8, 2019
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Samsung has its own NVMe driver and it works well on Z97 boards. bear in mind the PCI-E is only x2 so PCI-e speeds still max out ~1100MB/s so the 980 would be limited. After it detects the 980 then you can image the exist boot drive to the NVMe and it may work as a boot.

https://s3.ap-northeast-2.amazonaws.com/global.semi.static/SamsungNVMExpressDriver3.3/7322A6707A720E1A71EF11A3BE1EED819E011D317626415F0281A78151C/Samsung_NVM_Express_Driver_3.3.exe

interestingly the 980 is not listed, but should work
 
Last edited:
Apr 11, 2021
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Thanks to everyone for the help and the quick responses. I'm happy to say that I think this is finally solved.
1. Update BIOS to latest version (non BETA) first. This may fix nvme boot issues.
I updated the BIOS as suggested, though this didn't appear to have any immediate effect (the NVMe still just showed as an "Other device" in Device Manager). It may have contributed to the next part though...
2. Windows 7 doesn't support nvme natively. Specific hotfixes and nvme drivers have to be installed to add nvme support. Get hotfixes from microsoft support site.
KB2990941
KB3087873
Thank you! These hotfixes appeared to be the key.
I had previously looked up KB2990941 at the suggestion of one of the other posts I found, but the related Microsoft Support page didn't provide any way to obtain the hotfix and suggested contacting them directly. I tried this, and they told me that the hotfixes were no longer available (despite what the support page said). I Googled around and found sources for both hotfixes. I had to get KB2990941 through a Wayback Machine link here and KB3087873 through-- of all places-- a Goldeneye: Source forum post here. After applying both hotfixes and rebooting, my NVMe drive appears in Windows Explorer without any further requirements (no jumping into Disk Management or back to the BIOS or anything). Success!
You can get nvme drivers from samsung support site or intel support site.
A note for any future person looking here for answers: I previously tried the Samsung NVM Express Driver 3.3 utility (even though it only listed compatibility up to SSD 970) but it wouldn't run properly for me, as it insisted there was no Express device present. The Intel Support site appears to just link back to the unhelpful Microsoft Support page, but I may not be looking hard enough.
A 980, on a Z97 motherboard?
With Win 7?
In the name of FSM...WHY???
I appreciate the invoking of our Lord and Savior (he boiled for our sins)... but yeah, I didn't have a clear understanding of old mobo + new ssd drive = overkill. This might seem blindingly obvious to you, but to my mind I just wanted more storage = new drive and then wait... new drive also faster? = PC go brr. Understanding has to come from somewhere, and I am now somewhat more versed than before.
It may well perform slower than a SATA III SSD.
Or at least, no better. It may only be useful as a secondary drive, not the OS drive.
This is good to know, thanks. I'm happy enough if it just becomes storage-- this was my initial intent anyway and the added speed was just gravy. Certainly it seems that I could have avoided a bunch of frustration and expense and just gone with a new SATA III SSD, but it's too late for that now.
None of the BIOS upgrades speak to booting from that M.2 port.
Only "Support NVMe". Which is NOT the same thing as being able to boot from it.
I would have had no idea that "Support NVMe" and "Support Booting from NVMe" would be separate items, but now I know, thanks.
With Win 7, you'd need to slipstream the NVMe drivers into that install.
To be honest I had to Google this sentence to understand it, as on first reading it sounded like leftover Swordfish dialogue:LOL:. But thanks, I wouldn't have known this either.
Win 10 never finished

did you set up user accounts? if you didn't and it restarted and went back to start of install, its not finished.
Sometimes removing USB before the restart can let it continue the install process
I didn't get to the user account set-up part. When I say it returned to the installation screen, I mean it was literally asking me to choose my input and time-date formats again, which felt like it was truly starting over. I might have to dive deeper into the exact steps to installing Win10 via USB so that I'm not messing it up. This admittedly must sound like novice stuff here.
bear in mind the PCI-E is only x2 so PCI-e speeds still max out ~1100MB/s so the 980 would be limited. After it detects the 980 then you can image the exist boot drive to the NVMe and it may work as a boot.
Thanks for the speed numbers. Is this likely to be worse than the max speeds of my current Samsung 850 EVO SSD? Wondering if it's even worth trying to make the NVMe a boot (and that's if it's even possible.
 

USAFRet

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Thanks for the speed numbers. Is this likely to be worse than the max speeds of my current Samsung 850 EVO SSD? Wondering if it's even worth trying to make the NVMe a boot (and that's if it's even possible.
I would leave the OS on the current 850. Use this new drive as a secondary.
That is what I did with my Z97 and an Intel 660p. Kept the OS on the existing 850 EVO.
 
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Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
I didn't get to the user account set-up part. When I say it returned to the installation screen, I mean it was literally asking me to choose my input and time-date formats again, which felt like it was truly starting over. I might have to dive deeper into the exact steps to installing Win10 via USB so that I'm not messing it up. This admittedly must sound like novice stuff here.
its a problem you get if USB is 1st in boot order, windows 10 is meant to start from ssd after the restart but it often just restarts the install process. I don't have a good answer for it on Asus motherboards as many of them don't have Boot override or anyway to boot off USB once and then ignore it on next boot.

Using it as storage is better easier to do answer.
 

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