Install Windows 7 x64 on Samsung SM951 m.2 drive!

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Alexandros76

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I have the m/b ASUS X99-PRO/USB3.1 and the m.2 drive Samsung SM951 256GB NVMe.
I spent 3 days trying and trying, reading forums, many people seem to have problem with m.2 drives.
The m.2 drive does not appear in Windows 7 x64 installation. I do everything right as described in tutorials and forums.

I used rufus and created an uefi usb stick fat32, gpt, bootx64.efi, etc. Windows 7 installation starts but no drive appears. I have no other drives connected untill I install windows.

I tried the same with a windows 10 uefi boot and worked... no problems at all, I was able to see the drive and create the required partitions.
Windows 7 seem to need something extra to see the drive....
any help please?
 

The Original Ralph

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that bootx64.efi file should have been all you needed - did you do a disk clean on the M.2 before partitioning it GPT?

I've had to do clean installs of win 7 x64 on my xp941 (Z97 mobo) twice, and the 2nd time was not that much easier - there is an "iffy" factor but, as an after thought, after i crashed my xp941 the 2nd time, i tried a "fred Flintstone" approach. I had cloned my xp941 after full installation, cloned it to a sata SSD, so i tried cloning back to the xp941 - it cloned but initially would not boot, until i used the windows dvd to "repair the installation". Now that was using a PCI M.2 SSD that was already operating fine. If you have a clone, even from a sata OS drive, you might try it - ramcity had it listed in their installation guide, so you might check there for any tips re cloning from a sata SSD to a PCI M.2 SSD

and just for general info, my system crashed twice when i tried changing the volume sizes of the partitions using windows management and 2nd time EaseUS Partition Manager, so i gave up trying to change partition sizes.
 

Alexandros76

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Rufus clean and converts the drive everytime I think . But since I have no problem to boot in uefi with Windows 7 I don't think it's related with my problem since they boot but don't see the drive. I have started thinking about drive cloning too, but not sure how I'll do it since an uefi windows drive has 4 partitions.
 

The Original Ralph

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I used EaseUS ToDo backup, their free ware version (been using it since 2008) - when i clone, on the 2nd page where you select your target drive, at the bottom there's an option to do a "sector by sector" clone - it's a higher quality clone - but still leaves something out of the boot files (or possibly one of those partitions - i didn't think to check that) that as i stated, i needed to use the windows dvd to "repair" the installation so it would boot

as to Rufus - i wasn't totally convinced it converted win 7 dvd to an .iso file, so i downloaded ImgBurn to convert it to .iso and then let Rufus copy that. ImgBurn is also a free download

even though you think rufus cleans the disk, i would suggest using it thru the command prompt - check this link for one of the mods on the asus mobo support forum - see post 8 in the thread, with step by step instructions, including disk clean commands -
https://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=20150926085906881&board_id=1&model=Z97M-PLUS&page=1&SLanguage=en-us
 

Alexandros76

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I want to avoid this its a very long and difficult procedure... I did some test, using acronis created a winPE 5 bootable drive and I was able to see the m.2 drive older versions don't work because m.2 drives were not available then so there is no driver either in win7 or winpe 3 kit.
So I cannot understand how some people were able to load the m.2 drive. bootx64 loads windows installation in uefi mode but that's it does have any drivers only what windows have...
This is my understanding if someone has explanation why I cannot load my drive or a suggestion how to load it.
It's a PCI express drive not AHCI so this makes a difference.
 

The Original Ralph

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insert sound of me smacking self on back of my head - just noticed your descript said a NVMe SM951 - i hadn't noticed that NVMe or speed read past it

there's a "hotfix" from microsoft for win 7 driver

let me dig around and see if i can pull it up - somehone here on tom's just posted the link in the past week or so

found it - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2990941

and on the cloning - EaseUS is much easier to use and faster as well - doing a sector by sector clone of 178 GB OS drive thru a USB 3.0 connection 1.5 - 1.75 hours, going thru a sata port connection 28-35 minutes

and there may be some useful info in this samsung guide to installing a NVMe SSD
http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/global/file/insight/2015/08/NVMeSSD_User_Installation_Guide_whitepaper-0.pdf?CID=AFL-hq-mul-0813-11000170
 

Alexandros76

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I got the hotfix but how I put it into windows 7 installation? There is no .inf only an msu file that installs the update on Windows.
 

The Original Ralph

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i not sure - i haven't had to use it as my PCIe SSD is a first gen xp941 - i will be looking for the answer though, as i'm waiting for the new samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD coming out this month

i would have thought that it would install during the windows install where it asks for drivers to be uploaded - but if you can't there, then i'd go the clone route after installing to your normal OS drive

was there anything in that samsung guide re installing that drive - i remember some reference to a "SetupNVMe.exe" which should be the installer - but where to find it, i haven't a clue
 

Alexandros76

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in the link you gave me there is a guide to update a windows installation with this patch, it's a long and complicate procedure
It's good I have Windos ADK 8.1 already installed on my laptop and I have started working on it. On a Windows temporary installation on another drive the patch worked and I was able to see the NVMe drive within Windows 7 I tried to copy the nvme drivers and load them in windos installation but it didn't work.
So I will try to update the installation with the patch and see how it goes...
 

Alexandros76

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After a long week of desperation and anger I did the impossible..... Installed and booted Windows 7 x64 on Samsung SM951 NVMe !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was looking and looking all over the internet for others who might have found a solution but nothing, am I the first who did it?

Installing and booting Windows 7 on this drive simply is impossible there is no driver, no workaround in BIOS settings.
With windows 8.1 or 10 however it works but I hate them so... for everyone else out there who want to stick with Windows 7 there is a solution but it's not simple.

You have to integrate a Microsoft hotfix in installation so you can boot Windows.
Unfortunatelly you can't do the same with setup. Instead and simpler is to use Windows 10 setup installation which is updated and contains NVMe driver. It works perfectly.

Keep in mind the native driver is not the best but it works, the SM951 is ultra fast anyway, hopefully when 950 pro is out it's drive will be compatible and better for faster speeds.


What you need:

Windows 7 SP1 x64.iso

Windows 10.iso

Microsoft hotfix https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2990941

NTlite https://www.ntlite.com/download/



First request and download the hotfix, e-mail arrives instantly with a link.

1. Download and install NTlite (or other similar you prefer)

2. Extract the Windows 7.iso to a folder.

If you are installing in UEFI mode, check efi/boot there should be a bootx64.efi. If not grab it from a current installation of Windows 7 x64. C:\Windows\Boot\EFI\bootmgfw.efi copy/paste and rename it to bootx64.efi.

3. Using WinRAR or 7-zip extract the Microsoft hotfix.exe file.

4. Run NTlite and open the iso folder.
You will see 2 folders your current windows and 2nd the iso folder open and choose the version you want to install, home, ultimate etc. and press load, or right click load. It takes sometime..

4.1 Go to updates and add package file. Add the extracted hotfix Windows6.1-KB2990941-v3-x64.msu
(for experienced users: you can add more updates if you want to avoid downloading the huge list of updates everytime you install windows 7 important to keep install.wim under 4GB due to UEFI/fat32 limitation)

[strike]Go to post-setup and add command
1st field type reg
2nd field : "HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main"
/v DisableFirstRunCustomize /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


(this step is required because sometimes customized installs of Windows cause the IE to show the welcome screen everytime you open it.)[/strike]
(the above not required after all, it affects the installation only if you add an updated version of IE)


4.2 Go to Apply press Start and wait to finnish.
When it's done close NTlite and go to iso folder and open sources folder.
Delete boot.wim and setup.exe

5. Open Windows 10.iso with winrar and extract the boot.wim to your sources folder of Windows 7.

6. Copy all contents of iso folder of Windows 7 on a usb drive.

Plug, boot and install Windows 7 !!!

:)

 

mylastknight

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Alexandros76,

I wanted to thank you for all this information. I was banging my head around too then came across yet another article to try thinking... great I hope this works. My company's VPN does not allow Windows 10 and who knows how long that will be right?

To add my notes to this article... I have an ASUS Z170-Deluxe MB with the SM951. I had to first, download the latest BIOS 1106 onto a USB drive and install through the BIOS updater. Worked just fine. I could see the M2 connected to the motherboard in the BIOS only, however, when trying to install the OS the drive from Windows 7 USB boot up from rufus I could not see the drive available to install onto. Then I found your article.

Disconnect ALL other SATA devices!

1. Download and install NTlite (or other similar you prefer)

2. Extract the Windows 7.iso to a folder.

If you are installing in UEFI mode, check efi/boot there should be a bootx64.efi. If not grab from a current installation of Windows 7 x64 the bootmgfw.efi from C:\Windows\Boot\EFI copy/paste and rename it to bootx64.efi.

3. Using WinRAR or 7-zip extract the Microsoft hotfix.exe file.

4. Run NTlite and load iso folder.
Select the folder you extracted Windows 7. Then select the OS you are importing

4.1 Go to updates and add package file. Add the extracted hotfix Windows6.1-KB2990941-v3-x64.msu

(for experienced users: you can add more updates if you want to avoid downloading the huge list of updates everytime you install windows 7 important to keep install.wim under 4GB due to UEFI/fat32 limitation)

4.2 Go to post-setup and add command
1st field type reg
2nd field : "HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main"
/v DisableFirstRunCustomize /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


(this step is required because sometimes customized installs of Windows cause the IE to show the welcome screen everytime you open it.)

4.3 Go to Apply choose unload.wim Start and wait to finish. -- NEW VERSION of NTLite auto unloads for you.
When it's done close NTlite and go to iso folder and open sources folder.
Delete boot.wim and setup.exe

5. Extract from Windows 10.iso the same files from sources folder, boot.wim and setup.exe to your sources folder of Windows 7.

6. Copy all contents of iso folder of Windows 7 on a usb stick(UEFI formatted if needed) Example: xcopy.exe c:\win7\* e:\* /s /e

7. Insert USB drive and boot to USB. The installer will now appear to look like Windows10 but it will install Windows 7.

8. Connect your SATA devices (CDROM) or other hard drives. - You will probably need to burn the latest drivers from your Motherboard to CD on another computer so when your finished you can install the ethernet and usb drivers. I suppose you could slipstream those as well.
 

Alexandros76

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No matter what type of installation you do, Windows 7, 8, 10, uefi or mbr all other drives should be disconnected that's true I agree 100%.
Simply because installations might use the other drives for system partitions and in future if you replace a drive windows will not boot because they will miss their system partition!
I just didn't put that info because I was writting only about NVMe fix.

And my suggestion now after bitter experience if you can install in legacy mode/mbr do it uefi causes compatibility problems and it's a lot more complicate.
Also best to have your hard drive ready formatted using DISKPART and copy all the installation files there going from USB didn't work for me Windows were refusing to install from USB drive.
Plus installing directly from your drive to drive it's a LOT faster.

And a note about installers. When you start a windows installation you start a virtual OS a small version of windows. Windows 7 are using an installer based on Vista and Windows 10 installer based on 10... so boot.wim is the installer which handles the install.wim the Windows.
The most recent installer the better, so Windows 10 installer has NVMe drivers while the old Vista doesn't and it will never work no matter how you configure your BIOS.
 

john_2006

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I can't thank you enough for your solution. I've banged my head agaainst the wall for a looooong time. God bless you sooooooooooooooooo much.



 

JR_4

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So close, and yet so far! I followed the instructions. When my computer boots to the UEFI USB 2.0 I get the Windows 10 version of the setup screen, but when I click "install now" I get the following:



Any ideas?
 

JR_4

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Okay, I figured it out. When you revised your guide (by crossing out the stuff about IE) you also left out to replace both boot.wim and setup.exe from the windows 10 ISO.
 

gijosh28

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You're a badass right now. Can I buy you a beer? I've been beating my head against the wall between this and talking to ASUS "tech" support for the last couple of days. I've been reading here for years, but never made an account. I made on just to thank you. I can't imagine how other people aren't having this problem.
 

Alexandros76

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Apparently setup.exe is not needed, at least not with my iso. Only boot.wim and install.wim as I say in guide.

I'm happy using my NVMe drive for several weeks now and recently installed the HP NVMe drivers which are better and it's even faster now. Native windows drivers I know that they were really bad and were not using all NVMe capabilities.

HP drivers can be installed just clicking the exe file but I extracted them and selected the NVMe controller from device manager and updated the drivers then it worked.
Probably they can be used on a Windows 7 setup but I haven't tested them.
 

Doctor Bob_55

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Spot on, Alexandros76!

I too was looking around the net for a solution to the Windows 7 NVMe issue.
You certainly are not the only person out there that is up against this problem.

Your solution works well. I now have Windows 7 Pro x64 running on a Samsung SM951 M.2 drive installed in a MSI X99A Gaming 7 board.

Note: your final instruction to remove files boot.win and setup.exe from the iso folder and replace them with the win10 versions was not quite complete.
5. Open Windows 10.iso with winrar and extract the boot.wim to your sources folder of Windows 7.
We also need to include the setup.exe file as follows:
5. Open Windows 10.iso with winrar and extract the boot.wim and setup.exe to your sources folder of Windows 7.

At the end of this process, I copied the content of the iso folder back into a copy of the original iso file and then ran Rufus-2.5 to create a bootable usb stick.

Thank you for sharing this info and your effort to provide such a good solution, Alexandros76.


Cheers,

Robert
 

Golden_Orb

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Alexandros76

Thank you for the hard work which you have obviously put into this topic. I, too, had come up against a brick wall in trying to load Windows 7 onto my Samsung SM951 M.2 drive.

I have a Gigabyte GA_Z170X-UD3 MB with the SM951 and the latest BIOS, F4. I intend moving to Windows10 but because I have an application which will not run under Windows 10 I decided on setting up a dual boot system. I had no problems in installing Windows 10 Pro 64-bit in UEFI mode on the SM951 and, during the process, left unallocated space on the SM951 for the loading of Windows 7 Pro x-64. That was when the world of SM951 came tumbling down. No matter what i did, I could not get the install of Windows 7 to recognize the SM951. As far as Windows 7 install was concerned the SM951 did not exist. I searched and searched the internet to no avail. That was until I came across your article.

I'm about to start heading down your recommended path but before I do, I have a couple of points that I would like to clarify.

1. The note against Step 2. says that if you are installing in UEFI, and I am, you should check efi/boot for the file bootx64.efi. When I look at the extraction of Windows 7.iso I don't have efi/boot but do have efi/microsoft/boot. This folder does not contain bootx64.efi. Is efi/microsoft/boot the folder to paste the bootmgfw.efi to before renaming it to bootx64.efi?

2. Step 4.2 says to delete boot.wim and setup.exe from the sources folder of the updated Windows 7.iso folder and Step 5. says to extract the boot.wim from the Windows 10.iso and copy to the sources folder of the updated Windows 7.iso folder.

In your response to JR_4 on 27Oct15 where JR_4 had mentioned that you had left out replacing setup.exe from the Windows 10.iso, you said that setup.exe was not needed, at least not with your iso, only boot.wim and install.wim as mentioned in the guide.

While there are references to install.wim in your guide they mainly relate to the size of install.wim being less than 4GB. There is one reference you made on 10Oct15 about using the most recent installer is better but no mention of install.wim in the guide other than the 4GB size limit.

What should I do with install.wim in the sources folder of the updated Windows 7.iso and is setup.exe really required???

I apologize for seeking all this clarification but I am at my wits end in trying to get Windows 7 installed on the SM951 and your guide is my only lifeline. I don't want to stuff things up!!!!

Update:

I thought I had managed to create a successful bootable UEFI USB for Windows 7 only to get into the install phase and have the following error come up:

"Windows cannot find the Microsoft Software License Terms. Make sure the installation sources are valid and restart the installation."

What have I missed out on / done incorrectly in creating my bootable Windows 7 USB?

Any ideas?
 

Tymant

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A BIG THANK YOU TO Alexandros76!

Works with my Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 and a ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming K4/D3 (yes, a ddr3 Board).

I had to copy both, boot.wim and setup.exe just like JR_4.

Additionally the installer had a problem with creating a partition. After I unplugged the USB stick from its USB2 port (during the installation) I inserted it in a USB3 Port hit refresh - and everything worked just fine.

@Golden_Orb

1. Had the same prob like you - I did it in efi\microsoft\boot and it worked.

2. Like I said, I had to copy both, boot.wim and setup.exe. You can try it without the setup.exe and if this wont work try it with it.

To your "update" - sorry but I cant help you with that :(

Again, Alexandro76 - YOU ARE MY HERO
 

Golden_Orb

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Windows 7 Pro x64 and Windows 10 Pro x64 now dual booting on Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 and Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD3. This is how I finally achieved it after literally hours of trying various combinations.

1. Used Rufus to create a Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1 bootable USB (GPT/FAT32/Default cluster size).

2. Copy/paste bootmgfw.efi (from C:\Windows\Boot\EFI) to G:\efi\microsoft\boot and rename to bootx64.efi.

3. Copy/paste G:\efi\microsoft\boot to G:\efi.

4. Using NTlite add package KB2990941-v3-x64.msu to install.wim of Windows 7 Professional x64 on the USB .

5. Using NTlite add Samsung NVMe driver (downloaded from HP Support Centre) to install.wim of Windows 7 Professional x 64 on the USB and to boot.wim by selecting Microsoft Windows Setup (X64).

6. Using NTlite add Gigabyte USB 3.0 driver (downloaded from Gigabyte.com) to install.wim of Windows 7 Professional x 64 on the USB and to boot.wim by selecting Microsoft Windows Setup (X64). This step is necessary for booting from USB on Gigabyte's 100 series boards.

7. Boot from the UEFI USB in system containing the Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 with all SATA drives disconnected and you should see the NVMe drive.

8. Set up a partition for Windows 7 Pro allowing sufficient space for Windows 10 and install.

9. Boot Windows 10 Pro from a bootable USB and install on remaining unallocated space on the NVMe drive.

10. You should now have a dual booting Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 system.

 

Provinz

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Hello,
the last weeks I'm feeling terrible. I bought a ASUS H170M-PLUS and a Samsung SM951 NVMe. I want a Windows 7 64bit System.
I'm a German user and I found nothing about this Problem in my language. Apologize my bad English, please.
Alexandros76 seemed to by my hero, but something went wrong.
I prepared a USB-Stick after Alexandros description. A changed install.wim vom Windows 7 and the boot.wim from Windows 10.
I see the SM951 in my Boot menu, the Installation want to start and then black Screen:
File: \Windows\System32\boot\winload.efi
Status 0xc0000428
Info: Windows cannot verify the digital signature for this file

What can I do?
thank you for help
 

c0ck4m0u53

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Nov 15, 2015
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@Alexandros76

Registered just to say thank you for all the informations you have provided. Before I have stumbeled onto your solution I have spent 2 days trying to install Windows 7 onto Samsung SM951 m.2 drive without any luck.

In case you own a paypal account let me know and I will donate you some beer money.

On a related note did anyone try to install Windows 7 x64 onto the new Samsung 950 Pro m.2 drive?
 

rapidshare3

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Hy to all from italy!
GA-Z170N-WIFI.
When installation start, it freeze to:
windows failed to start. a recent hardware or software change might be te cause etc etc etc.
this apparse with windows 10 setup.exe and boot.win. With original windows 7 file, no problem, but the drive is not bootable.
I spend 3 day :°°°
 
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