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Dutchman08
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Message 1 of 12

Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

Hello all,

 

I have a Thinkpad P50 from which I took the HDD out and inserted a newly acquired M2 SSD (a Plextor M8Pe NVMe).
I've inserted the SSD into one of the two PCI Express slots before taking out the SSD and I've managed to see the SSD detected when checking in Computer Management. After taking out the HDD I proceeded to install Windows 10 onto the SSD from a bootable USB stick with Win 10 OEM on it.

 

When it came to go with the custom Windows installation and choosing the drive to install the Windows on, I got nothing to choose from as the SSD is not seen / recognized as a drive and I only have the option to load drivers from the USB stick. I've tried with downloading Intel Rapid Storage Technology and save the files to the USB stick and even with specific drivers for the SSD from the Plextor website (although they should be required only for Win 7, which doesn't recognize the NVMe interface by default).

 

I've changed the boot options in BIOS from UEFI to Legacy only, turned the Secure Boot on and also tried to put the SSD into the second PCI slot but still of no avail.

 

Cany anybody please tell me if I missed something, there's some other configurations required for the SSD to be detected or the problem could lie elsewhere?

 

Any suggestion is appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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Message 2 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

You want BIOS to be set to UEFI, or BOTH, for Win10... not "legacy only".

 

Did you get the correct M.2 SSD tray part (with its thermal pad) to be used for installing the M.2 NVMe drive?  Or did you simply plug the NVMe card into the socket at the end of the M.2 bay (so that it is "free floating")?

 

To install an M.2 SATA drive, use: P/N 4XB0L78233 - ThinkPad P50 M.2 SATA SSD Tray

To install an M.2 NVMe drive, use: P/N 4XB0K59917 - ThinkPad P50 M.2 NVMe SSD Tray

 

I believe Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver is for RAID.  Using the NVMe drive as simply a new internal SSD that you want to boot from instead of the original 2.5" HDD spinner, built-in driver support for NVMe should be present in Win10 (including in the Win10 installer).  Honestly, I'm surprised you're having any problem at all, even with a Plextor M.2 NVMe drive.

 

If Plextor has its own proprietary NVMe driver that isn't in the Win10 installer, why don't you contact Plextor to find out how to add their NVMe device driver to the Win10 installer, so that the Plextor drive can be seen at Win10 install time.  But again, any problem with Win10 installer out-of-the-box at all really surprises me.

Dutchman08
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Message 3 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

I've set it to UEFI boot and tried BOTH as well.

 

Before pulling out the HDD I didn't receive the SSD tray yet and I'd just inserted it into the M.2 slot (free floating) and it did come up in Windows 10 in cmptmgmt as a valid new drive.  

 

After a couple of days I've received the SSD tray and then I pulled out the HDD and added the SSD into the tray and tried to install Win 10 on it.

 

I've contacted the Plextor support and they suggested me to run a BIOS update.

 

I'm not sure this is gonna have any effect as both the NVMe slots (0 and 1) are detected in BIOS when I'm checking the Boot device priority list.

 

Should I go on with an update of the BIOS?

 

They also recommended to "go back to the original setup hdd as boot, and the nvme as secondary drive, go to disk management and initialize the drive after that you will be able to assign a partition table, as the drive may not have been  initalized".

 

Again, I don't think this would be of any help, as the SSD was initialized and recognized at first, when I had the HDD still running.

 

 Thanks for your reply.

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Message 4 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

Well, I don't think a BIOS update is going to change much here.  Sure, I would ordinarily want to keep current with the latest BIOS released by Lenovo, but in this case I don't know that it will mean much.

 

If you say that the Plextor NVMe M.2 drive is visible to Win10 when you still have the 2.5" HDD spinner installed and are running Win10 from it, and your only problem is that you can't specify the M.2 drive as a target for a from-scratch Win10 install, why don't you try something else at least for now.

 

If the Plextor drive IS visible to Win10 as running from HDD spinner, but it has never been formatted and partitioned, I would use Macrium Reflect Free (or non-free, if you want to support this wonderful product at its modest price for very useful additional non-free features) to "clone" your existing HDD spinner partitions (no doubt formatted with GPT) onto the new NVMe drive.  You can "shrink" the target partitions during this process, if your NVMe drive is smaller than your HDD spinner.

 

This will duplicate your existing Win10 setup onto the NVMe target, which avoids your having to reinstall Win10 from scratch.  You can then re-boot, get into BIOS and change the boot sequence to be the NVMe0 drive (which you say is visible from BIOS), and then SAVE/EXIT.  You will now be booting from Plextor NVMe0.

 

You can then re-purpose your HDD spinner as a second "data" drive, deleting all existing partitions and recreating new ones with sizes of your desire.  I recommend using Partition Wizard Free (or again non-free, if you want to support this product) but you can do it with DISKMGMT.

 

If this experiment works, you know all is well with your hardware.  There must be some other explanation for why the MS Win10 installer can't see the Plextor drive as a valid target, but again you'd think it would have something to do with a missing Plextor INF driver in the Win10 installer media.  I confess I've never worked with anything but Samsung SSD drives, so I can't really comment from firsthand experience.

 

If you have an external USB 3.0 drive for backups, you can precede all of this with a complete all-partition "system image backup" of your HDD spinner using Macrium Reflect Free.  You should do this anyway, no matter whether running from HDD spinner or NVMe.  Having "system image backup" capability from an external backup drive using Macrium Reflect is invaluable.

Dutchman08
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Message 5 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

Thanks for the advice! I'll try that and I'll let you know in a week or so.
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Message 6 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

I always suggest that people take all other drives out before installing onto an M.2 drive,  That eliminates any chance of getting the boot loader on the wrong drive.


Rich


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.
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Message 7 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation


@richk wrote:

I always suggest that people take all other drives out before installing onto an M.2 drive,  That eliminates any chance of getting the boot loader on the wrong drive.


True enough.  OP said he did just that for his initial attempt at installing Win10 from scratch to his Plextor M.2 drive.  There was no HDD spinner present, and getting into the BIOS it DID see the Plextor drive on NVMe0.  So all looked well for a from-scratch Win10 install, since Win10 contains built-in NVMe support with its MS NVMe Express driver. 

 

But for some reason, the Win10 installer was unable to see the Plextor M.2 NVMe drive as an available target!  Inexplicable, but it's what he said.  So he couldn't install Win10 from scratch to the Plextor.  This suggests that somehow the Plextor drive was not somehow recognized by the built-in MS NVMe Express driver present in the installer. Seems impossible, but perhaps there's something propietary about the Plextor device that truly needs a Plextor-provided driver... even with Win10.  I know, hard to believe.

 

And yet, he COULD see the Plextor M.2 drive when running the original Lenovo-provided Win10 preinstalled onto the HDD spinner that arrived with the new P50.  This seems strange, as it could only be possible if the generic Win10 built-in MS NVMe driver actually DOES support the Plextor drive, or else somehow a needed propietary driver from Plextor had automatically gotten installed into the delivered Win10 when the machine was first booted after installing the M.2 drive... say from "new hardware detected".

 

Seems strange, but what other explanation do we have for this mystery of the Plextor drives (a) being invisible to the Win10 from-scratch installer as a target, and (b) being visible to the operational Lenovo-installed Win10 when running from the HDD spinner.  There has to be a missing driver for (a), which is present for (b)... strange as it seems.

 

Anyway, until the mystery can really be explained (perhaps through additional experimentation) my workaround proposal is simply not to try a from-scratch Win10 install to the Plextor which has already been tried and failed.  Instead, use the fact that the Plextor drive IS visible and available for use as "data" when running from the operational Win10, and simply use Macrium Reflect while running from Win10 of the HDD spinner, to "clone" the operational Win10 (and all other partitions) from HDD spinner onto the visible Plextor M.2 NVMe drive.  If there's a drive size issue (with the Plextor drive being smaller than the HDD spinner), the target Win10 partition can simply be shrunk on-the-fly by Macrium Reflect so that all the partitions from the HDD spinner can be copied over to the Plextor M.2 drive.  Clearly both drives must be present in order to do a "clone".

 

And once the clone process is complete, now re-boot (leaving the HDD spinner still physically installed as we want to re-purpose it for "data"), get into the BIOS to change the boot sequence to specify the Plextor M.2 drive (which again IS also visible to the BIOS), and continue the boot process to Win10 now booted from the "cloned Win10" on the Plextor drive.  Then proceed to easily confirm that Win10-C is on the Plextor drive, and the re-purpose the HDD spinner for ordinary "data" partitions.

 

So I was describing a "clone" surgery which needs both drives present, not a from-scratch Win10 install which certainly could avoid any possible problems by only having the one-and-only target drive present and removing all others.

Dutchman08
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Message 8 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

Hello,

 

Sorry for the belated reply. I'm back now after taking a pretty long hiatus due to some moving.

 

I've managed to clone the Windows 10 installation from my HDD to the Plextor SSD with the Macrium Reflect application (which is great, by the way) as you advised and it all worked and ended smoothly.

 

After the cloning has finished I've changed the boot sequence in BIOS from HDD to NVMe0 for the first boot device , which is showing in BIOS as NVMe0 (null string), saved the changes and exited.

 

After that it shows me the Plextor boot screen logo, like it did from the first time I inserted the SSD into the PCIe port, (exactly like this- without the 'Initializing AHCI controller' line) and after that it's going to a black screen that flickers once, like it does when the Windows loading process is starting and after that it stops there. 

 

After rebooting using ctrl+alt+del I tried to put the USB bootable stick and try to see how it's showing now upon selecting the target for Windows 10 installation.

 

The SSD drive is now detected but if I select it for an eventual installation target drive, it's showing the warning that says 'Windows cannot be installed to this disk. This computer's hardware may not support booting to this disk. Ensure the disk's controller is enabled in the computer's BIOS menu.'

 

I think that there may be a compatibility issue for this SSD, or else I don't know where the problem could possibly lie.

 

I will also try to take the HDD out and leave only the SSD inside, but I doubt will make any difference.

 

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Message 9 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

The fact that for some surprising reason you couldn't install Win10 directly from scratch to your Plextor M8Pe NVMe M.2 SSD suggests very strongly a basic hardware incompatibility.  Surely you should contact Plextor, as we here on the Lenovo forum have probably reached the limit of how useful we can be with any further suggestions.  You'd expect the Win10 installer (and Win10 itself) to pretty much support ANY modern hardware, so it may be time for you to go with a Samsung M.2 device and return the Plextor device as unusable.

 

I just want to be sure that your "cloning" process did copy all of the important partitions from the HDD spinner.  This includes the "system_reserve", GPT placeholder, and Window C system, partitions.

 

It's really astonishing that if you could see the Plextor M.2 drive while running Win10 from the HDD spinner, so that you actually could then use Macrium Reflect to clone the partitions from HDD spinner to the Plextor M.2 drive, that implies Win10 itself can see the Plextor hardware.  So why the Win10 installer couldn't see it is inexplicable.

 

Also, when booting from NVMe0 (assuming you did copy all three partitions from HDD spinner in your "clone", so that you really did have "system_reserved" which is the Boot Manager partition and the GPT placeholder partition which is required to know where the Windows C partition is), in theory if you made it from Boot Manager to Windows C the Win10 which is now presumably active should still be able to see the Plextor hardware and proceed normally.

 

I'd really like to see what your now cloned Plextor M.2 drive actually looks like, even though it might be a small hassle.  If you reinstalled the HDD spinner, and went into the BIOS to specify HDD as the boot device, you should be able to revert things back to where you started... booting from Win10 on HDD spinner.  Your Plextor M.2 drive should be visible, and the three partitions you previously cloned from HDD spinner using Macrium Reflect should be there... although not being used actively at the moment.

 

If you install Partition Wizard Free in your original Win10 (from HDD spinner), in which you previously installed Macrium Reflect Free, it has a very nice presentation of partitions on all your drives (nicer and more informative than using DISKMGMT.MSC which also presents a picture of partitions).  I'd like to see that screenshot just to get some idea as to why the cloned partitions on this drive don't seem to be usable when you boot to NVMe0.

 

Again, I honestly don't have any answers.  But maybe you might consider returning the Plextor drive and going with a tried-and-true Samsung M.2 device which has been used successfully by so many users.

Dutchman08
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Message 10 of 12

Re: Thinkpad P50 M2 SSD not recognized upon Windows 10 installation

Thanks for all your advice, I will return the Plextor SSD and get a new one, as I intended for a couple of weeks now.

 

Here is the screenshot from Partition Wizard:

 

https://imgur.com/a/xso68

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