09-30-2018 01:23 PM
I wish to install a fresh copy of Windows 7 onto a Lenovo P50 which is equipped with a single new (uninitialized) 500GB Samsung 970 PRO NVME device.
My work on this so far is based on a very similar thread from last year (but following that thread did not produce a solution.)
I used the Gigabyte utility mentioned in the posting in this thread at 02-07-2017 11:43 AM. The result was a USB 3.0 bootable device intended to enable installation of Windows 7 64-bit with inclusion of USB 3.0 and NVME driver. That utility completed without error.
Problem: The installer once running does not see presence of the Samsung 970 Pro NVME device as an option onto which Windows 7 could be installed.
I was able to verify that the Samsung 970 Pro NVME device is visible to the P50's BIOS as a boot device (obviously it is not yet bootable, but it is offered as a device when F12 is pressed at startup).
When I temporarily re-installed the existing Windows 7 OS device alongside the Samsung device and started Windows 7 (the device does run but is not available for ongoing use, and is a M.2 form-factor SATA device, not NVME), the Samsung 970 Pro NVME device was discovered as new hardware and visible as well in the control panel computer administration function (I did not proceed to initialize the device for MBR or GPT.)
I am going down this route because the Windows 7 recovery media I generated originally (on the same machine) fails to boot ("Recovery Failed" once the boot DVD is launched; none of the 3 subsequent recovery discs were requested, so I cannot determine if the recovery media lacks NVME driver - it may indeed lack USB 3.0 driver as well; the recovery media was generated on the same machine but from a SATA (not NVME) device on which the OS was factory installed.
I am not able to continue using the Windows 7 device I used for testing; I need to restart with a fresh install, either by working recovery media for P50 Windows 7, or by fresh install of OS onto which I'll add the required device drivers once running.
I am experienced with Windows installations and general computer management/maintenance, however, this is my first experience with NVME devices, and I understand there are numerous compromises around use of Windows 7 on the P50 Skylake processor, but that is the goal I have.
Thank you for any advice!
09-30-2018 11:22 PM
I don't know why the Samsung 970 Pro NVMe drive wouldn't be supported by the Samsung NVMe drivers added to your new USB bootable Win7 install media created by the Gigabyte utility, except perhaps that the utility is now many years old and perhaps the old Samsung NVMe drivers implicit in the utility simply won't support the 970 Pro which is pretty much "brand new".
Here's what I'd do. Pursue things using a very reasonable workaround of using that new USB bootable installer media (which DOES contain the required USB 3.0 driver necessary to install to ANY device on a Skylake machine) to install to your original factory Win7 OS device. You haven't mentioned if that's a HDD spinner or some other SSD, but if you can install Win7 to that device DO IT. Leave your 970 Pro installed, just don't try to install to it.
Then after you get the basic barebones Win7 installed to that original device, you should then install the latest version 3.0 of the Samsung NVMe Express Driver from the Samsung download site into your just installed barebones Win7. This will add support for the 970 Pro to your just installed barebones Win7.
Then install Macrium Reflect Free into your barebones Win7. You can now use its "clone" function, to clone all partitions on the original device over to the brand new empty uninitialized 970 Pro NVMe drive (which is supported in Win7 because you've installed version 3.0 of the Samsung driver into that Win7).
Once the cloning is finished, reboot the machine, get into the BIOS and over to the Startup tab, and change the boot sequence to specify the NVMe 970 Pro as the first (and only) drive in the list, following USB FDD and USB HDD, ending up with just these three devices in the boot list (assuming you don't need "wake on LAN", etc.). Exclude all other items that you find in the list which you don't really need. F10 to save and exit.
When you come back up, you should be booting from the cloned Win7 copy living on the 970 Pro. Eventually you can delete all partitions on the original Win7 device and re-purpose the drive for one or more "data" partitions, but for now just verify that your C-partition is actually on the 970 Pro. You can then proceed to finish up and flesh out your "production" Win7, operating now and forever from the 970 Pro. You should be able to download/install Samsung Magician, enable "over-provisioning", etc.
In my opinion the only thing you then need to do is to disable the normally scheduled weekly defrag service from running on the partition(s) of the NVMe SSD, assuming it was created as active from your "temporary" barebones Win7 install to the original device (HDD spinner). Defrag isn't something that is needed or necessary on an SSD.
Otherwise, the starting barebones Win7 installed to the original device and then cloned to the NVMe drive (after installing the 3.0 NVMe Samsung NVMe driver into the barebones Win7) should get you staged to the NVMe drive, from which you can then finish everything else as if you'd installed to the NVMe drive in the first place.