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How To [Win-RAID] Adding NVMe Support to Older Systems - BIOS Soft Mod

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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This may have been covered elsewhere, however I recently tested it myself to great success with a Gigabyte F2A88XN-WIFI; wanted to share.

Basically, in setting up a mini ITX media server I ran out of SATA 6G ports and needed another way to get a booting drive online. I wanted to use an NVMe drive and PCIe adapter but the board's BIOS doesn't support booting from it--so normally I'd can the whole idea but was feeling nerdy.

I came across this great guide on Win-RAID about how to add NVMe to existing BIOS, and have the OS boot from it.

These are the only requirements:
These are the best pre-conditions for a successful implementation and configuration of an NVMe SSD as bootable system drive:
  1. The desired OS should be Win10 (due to its native NVMe support).
  2. The mainboard BIOS should offer the required UEFI boot settings.
  3. It should be possible to get a modded BIOS successfully flashed into the system's BIOS chip.
  4. The on-board Intel SATA Controller should not been set to "RAID" mode within the BIOS.
So in summary, you need a board with UEFI support but most boards from ~2010+ should have support, but don't quote me on that (and feel free to correct it). Put simply, you take a BIOS file, open it with an editor, insert a pre-compiled NVMe module, and then save it as a custom BIOS (not overwriting the original, of course). I didn't really expect it to be that easy but it actually worked great. In my case, the board sees the NVMe drive as "PATA SS" and I could only install Windows in GPT mode, but it works fine and did not have any detrimental effect on any other board subsystems.

If anyone is interested in this lighter modding, I think it's worth a shot if you want to use an M.2 drive as a booting volume on an older board.

Cheers!
 
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EXCellR8

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I should probably add that if you aren't totally confident in trying to inject the NVMe module into your BIOS, I would happily assist. While the actual process is pretty simple it could, realistically speaking, cause issues flashing or POST-ing if you aren't careful. It would be of additional benefit if your board has a backup BIOS in addition to the master or main BIOS--but like anything else there is risk.

I've successfully applied this soft-mod to 2 other BIOS files though; they were similar to the aforementioned Gigabyte board.
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
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Any luck/experience doing this with say, an X58 board? Obviously no UEFI present.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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I don't believe it will work but I haven't tried it on anything quite that old, at least not yet...

However, I did come across this blog page awhile back, that involves a custom bootloader that will allow Windows to boot off of NVMe drives with old hardware:

It involves a program/bootloader called Tianocore, which has mostly been used for as part of "Clover" to boot Hackintoshes in EFI mode. But it will serve us so we can boot Windows in EFI mode, so the NVME drive is able to be detected at the boot stage, prior to Windows loading.
I may give that a shot at some point to and append my findings, however I would be comfortable in stating that UEFI is required for the soft mod.
 

audiolover

Junior Member
May 6, 2020
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I should probably add that if you aren't totally confident in trying to inject the NVMe module into your BIOS, I would happily assist. While the actual process is pretty simple it could, realistically speaking, cause issues flashing or POST-ing if you aren't careful. It would be of additional benefit if your board has a backup BIOS in addition to the master or main BIOS--but like anything else there is risk.

I've successfully applied this soft-mod to 2 other BIOS files though; they were similar to the aforementioned Gigabyte board.
Hello, I have an Intel DQ77MK board with uefi bios. I have a copy of the last available bios ( from a company called Viglen who had this board for sale). I want to add an PCIe X4 add-on board with an M2 NVME bootdisk so need to modify. I am reluctant to do this as I read many horror stories how things can go wrong.

I allready opened another topic for this but finally foud an option to respond in this topic to you.

Can you help me?
 

EXCellR8

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Sep 1, 2010
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I've a similar board that I can test it on, a Intel DQ77KB that is not in use, if you want me to report how it goes. I've been meaning to test more boards and chipsets so that board might be a good test.

The guide I linked to isn't hard to follow though, so I'm inclined to think that it'll be fine if you follow carefully. I should have documented exactly what I did on the AMD board but I (got lazy) will say that this board is still in use and still booting off a NVMe all these months later. It's actually in a home server and is responsible for my web connectivity, so if there were a problem I would have had to address it ASAP.
 

audiolover

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May 6, 2020
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my problem starts with my bios file being in .bio format so the Ami-tool cannot open it. This tool is looking for .rom files?
 

audiolover

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May 6, 2020
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trying to be clever I renamed the .bio file to .rom. I opened it with MM-tool and what I get is this:

bios.png

So, as you can see, in Filename there are no entries so no way to find the correct line I need to edit?
 

audiolover

Junior Member
May 6, 2020
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I've a similar board that I can test it on, a Intel DQ77KB that is not in use, if you want me to report how it goes. I've been meaning to test more boards and chipsets so that board might be a good test.

The guide I linked to isn't hard to follow though, so I'm inclined to think that it'll be fine if you follow carefully. I should have documented exactly what I did on the AMD board but I (got lazy) will say that this board is still in use and still booting off a NVMe all these months later. It's actually in a home server and is responsible for my web connectivity, so if there were a problem I would have had to address it ASAP.
That board is different so the bios file will be different too? I wonder if you get it working though! I cannot post my bios file here.
 

karakarga

Junior Member
Apr 20, 2019
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Any luck/experience doing this with say, an X58 board? Obviously no UEFI present.
@Shmee there is a strange mainboard at Aliexpress that one uses x79 chipset with 1356 socket. On that board there is an onboard M.2 NVME connector as well.


But, there is also: https://www.win-raid.com/t2375f50-Guide-NVMe-boot-without-modding-your-UEFI-BIOS-Clover-EFI-bootloader-method.html
and https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/install-windows-on-nvme-ssd-960-evo-without-clover-on-a-board-without-nvme-support.3021483/
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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i have heard of people bricking there 200 dollar supermicro X9DR3 / X9DRD by doing this. (lucky for them there is a bios restore)
Its possible and has been done, but i think the risks are too great for the reward, when most X9DR3's will probably run VM and you can just load the VM onto the nVME, while loading ESXi on a SSD, and basically achieve the same thing.
 

EXCellR8

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Sep 1, 2010
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Depends who you ask... some of us like the risk/challenge associated with a mod or tweak. Is it easier and safer to just buy compatible and fully supported hardware? Obviously, but where's the fun or sense of accomplishment in that?

I think it goes without saying that if you're risking the operation of really expensive gear, then I'd certainly do some due diligence and ask yourself if it's worth doing. Pretty common sense stuff.
 
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MOD-MAN

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Jun 30, 2020
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I've a similar board that I can test it on, a Intel DQ77KB that is not in use, if you want me to report how it goes. I've been meaning to test more boards and chipsets so that board might be a good test.

The guide I linked to isn't hard to follow though, so I'm inclined to think that it'll be fine if you follow carefully. I should have documented exactly what I did on the AMD board but I (got lazy) will say that this board is still in use and still booting off a NVMe all these months later. It's actually in a home server and is responsible for my web connectivity, so if there were a problem I would have had to address it ASAP.
EXCellR8,
Hello, I have the Intel board DQ77KB and I purchased a Samsung 970 evo plus 500gb SSD, using a pci to m.2 adapter I can get it to show up in windows 10, I was also able to install windows on it, but, I am unable to get it to boot using the bios, I tried modding the bios following the directions as best I could. I was wondering if you would be willing to attempt it for me. I have the last bios file available for the board. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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I can give it a shot if you want to point me to the BIOS file you're trying to use. I believe I have the latest for the board as well, however it might be best to try and reproduce what you've done yourself.
 

hazardousnose

Junior Member
Dec 22, 2020
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I should probably add that if you aren't totally confident in trying to inject the NVMe module into your BIOS, I would happily assist. While the actual process is pretty simple it could, realistically speaking, cause issues flashing or POST-ing if you aren't careful. It would be of additional benefit if your board has a backup BIOS in addition to the master or main BIOS--but like anything else there is risk.

I've successfully applied this soft-mod to 2 other BIOS files though; they were similar to the aforementioned Gigabyte board.
Wondering if you are still offering this. I have a X9DR3-LN4F+ supermicro board that I want to enable NVME booting. Hoping this is possible.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
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Flashing the X9DR3-LN4F using this method is not recommended but these boards do have a restore function if memory serves me. I don't mind looking into it but since I can't guarantee it'll work I'd offer another solution.

An alternative (no BIOS mod) would be to try the 'Clover EFI Bootloader' which should allow booting NVMe from any BIOS. I have not tried it, however...

 

hazardousnose

Junior Member
Dec 22, 2020
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Flashing the X9DR3-LN4F using this method is not recommended but these boards do have a restore function if memory serves me. I don't mind looking into it but since I can't guarantee it'll work I'd offer another solution.

An alternative (no BIOS mod) would be to try the 'Clover EFI Bootloader' which should allow booting NVMe from any BIOS. I have not tried it, however...

Will this make the drive show up in the ubuntu install or does it not showing up indicate something else is the matter?
 

hazardousnose

Junior Member
Dec 22, 2020
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Flashing the X9DR3-LN4F using this method is not recommended but these boards do have a restore function if memory serves me. I don't mind looking into it but since I can't guarantee it'll work I'd offer another solution.

An alternative (no BIOS mod) would be to try the 'Clover EFI Bootloader' which should allow booting NVMe from any BIOS. I have not tried it, however...

I tried with the directions on that forum and it ended up not working using the UEFI tool method. I was able to re-flash the BIOS through IPMI though and got it back to working. I tried with the MMTool method and I think it worked (can't remember now which one I flashed with last). I will repost if I get it working to install on the NVMe drive.

No matter what I tried I couldn't get the clover bootloader to actually use the config.plist that I edited to have an ubuntu install ISO added. I tried just the base clover ISO and couldn't get it to see the config file either. Always just came up as the default screen no matter what I tried
 

Fernando 1

Senior member
Jul 29, 2012
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@hazardousnose:
I tried with the MMTool method and I think it worked (can't remember now which one I flashed with last).
It is rather easy to verify the successful insertion of the natively missing NVMe BIOS module:
Enter the BIOS and open the "BOOT" section. If you can see a listed device named "PATA" or "PATA_SS", you can be sure, that you can boot off the NVMe SSD (after having done a clean Win10 install onto it according to my guide).
 

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