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Windows 7 Install Z97 to Samsung AHCI M2.0

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akajp4 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Jan 2016 at 7:23am
I've scoured the forums until I've almost gone blind and I can't find a clear answer to the problem of installing Windows 7 to a Samsung SM951 MZHPV128HDGM (AHCI) M2.0 drive on a Fatal1ty Z97 killer MOBO with P2.20 BIOS.

Would someone with far greater familiarity with this problem than I lend a hand? HELP!!!

Through what was eventually trial and error of trying different suggested methods I was able to begin the install to the SM951, but when Windows finishes the initial install and restarts the PC all I get is a blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner of my screen (for what feels like forever) and then MS totally unhelpful suggestion to repair the install.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2016 at 1:49pm
The AHCI SM951 is the easiest of the PCIe SSDs to use as an OS drive. But Windows 7 is the most difficult of all the compatible MSoft OS versions to use with a PCIe SSD.

If you have a 32bit version of Windows 7, that won't work, period, end of story, sorry to say. Any 32bit version of Windows will not work with PCIe SSDs as the OS drive.

The 64bit version of the Windows 7 installation program has bug in the layout of its files that causes an essential file for use with PCIe SSDs, or any installation that wants to use the EFI boot loader, to not be found. That can be fixed manually but takes some effort and care. I've had both success and failures performing the fix, so you must really be careful.

This is the guide I used to create my first UEFI booting USB flash drive Windows installation medias. It also contains the fix required for Windows 7, which must be done when using Win 7.

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/15458-uefi-bootable-usb-flash-drive-create-windows.html

While the guide for creating the USB flash drive for the Win 7 installation is perfect, I don't agree with their suggested method for enabling UEFI booting. Their method is biased towards laptops and all in one PCs. Plus the methods for enabling UEFI booting are different depending upon the board you are using, so I can't really blame them.

What you need to do is this. When you are getting ready to use the USB flash drive installer you created with the guide, go into your board's UEFI/BIOS and find the CSM option. It's probably at the bottom of the Boot screen. Click on CSM to see its options.

You'll find CSM is set to Enabled, leave it that way. Find the Launch Storage OpROM Policy option, and set it to UEFI Only. If you are ready to start the Win 7 installation, put the USB Flash drive in a USB port on the board's IO panel, and click Save and Exit the UEFI/BIOS. Go right back into the UEFI again.

Go to the Boot screen and look for an entry for the USB flash drive that looks like this: UEFI: <flash drive name>, whatever the flash drive appears as in the UEFI. You MUST select the entry that starts with "UEFI"! If you select one that is "AHCI", etc, that is the wrong entry.

Click on Save and Exit, and the Win 7 installation should begin.

You should also take a look at my guide on installing Windows on PCIe SSDs that can be found here: http://forum.asrock.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1236&title=how-to-install-windows-on-a-pcie-ssd

Good luck to you, and as I said be careful performing the one small but essential fix to the Win 7 installation files. Is there another way to do this? Yes, use Windows 8.1 or 10, which does not require the fix to the installation files. All the other UEFI option settings and Boot entry selection is still required.

FYI, your Fatal1ty Z97 Killer's M.2 port is not an Ultra M.2 type port, which is needed to match the SM951's PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. A SM951 will work in your boards PCIe 2.0 x2 M.2 port, but at reduced performance.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote akajp4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2016 at 12:32pm
Clap Thank you very much! That was the trick. The piece of the puzzle that I was missing was formatting the USB drive to GPT. After that the installation was cake.
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