[SOLVED] How to install Windows 10 on a non bootable NVMe drive?

Nov 30, 2020
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Hello everyone,

It all starts with me trying to provide a small upgrade to my trusty computer (Asus A88XM-Plus, AMD A10, 256 + 128 Sata SSDs).
I needed more space so I added a Samsung NVMe drive on a PCIe adapter. My intention was to move the Windows 10 installation to the NVMe while keeping one SSD for boot and a Linux Mint system.

First, this did not go like I expected. I couldn't expand the Windows partitions because of the way Windows creates them. I couldn't boot the Windows as somehow boot infos disappeared (It did boot fine once though... once). I kept getting the 0x00..00e error. I couldn't use Windows repair tools as without a bootable Windows, I was unable to create a Windows USB key. I finally managed thanks to an old vm on my other Linux box but this didn't work either. Some tools ("bootrec /fixmbr") worked and some tools (bootrec /RebuildCDB) did not work because "requested system device" not found.
So after spending 3 full days trying to fix this, I gave up and came to accept the need to reinstall everything.

My LinuxMint being fresh and working, I focused on Windows. I used the Windows 10 USB key to install Windows with:
  • only the NVMe drive in the box.
  • CSM disabled.
  • Secure boot disabled.
Then
  • Deleted all partitions on the NVMe drive in the custom install menu of the installer.
  • Selected the blank space
  • launch the installation
At first reboot, I shutdown the computer to remove the USB stick and insert the SSD with the Linux so I have a bootable drive.
  • Start the Linux system
  • Update grub
  • Reboot
Now I have an entry in the Grub menu for the Windows system and I can start it... or so I thought.
Grub kept telling me that there was no such device. I checked the UUID of the drive, it was correct. By listing the partitions (ls) I realized that Grub doesn't seem to see/load the NVMe drive.

After reading some more, I find out that Windows can actually use an existing EFI partition if it finds it at install time. So I start again but this time, I leave the SSD with the Linux in place.
Same process about delete all partition in the NVMe and selecting the empty space for installation.
The computer reboots and in the BIOS, I can see one more UEFI entry named "Windows Boot Manager". Great, I select it to continue the installation... or so I thought.
Windows greets me with the exact same 0x00...00e error telling me that my system need repair.

This leads me to think that Windows as well does not load the NVMe at boot time and thus cannot find the actual system partition.

Is there any solution to this?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Not all motherboards of that era are capable of booting from an NVMe drive in a PCIe adapter.

Possibly update the BIOS to the latest.

But really...just leave the system as is, and use the NVMe for secondary storage.
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
161,130
13,303
176,090
24,450
Not all motherboards of that era are capable of booting from an NVMe drive in a PCIe adapter.

Possibly update the BIOS to the latest.

But really...just leave the system as is, and use the NVMe for secondary storage.
 

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