Install Windows on a M.2 SM951 with Asus Z170 Pro Gaming

I just finished building my new VR Development rig and after getting all the parts together the magic moment arrived. I hit the power button and entered into BIOS and to my dismay my new M.2 drive, the Samsung SM951 was not detected by the Asus Z170 Pro Gaming motherboard. After reading forum posts of people complaining about the same issue I didn’t find a solution that worked. Luckily I found one post that guided me in the right direction and after some more tweaking I found the right settings in BIOS to get my M.2 drive detected by Windows and proceed with the install on the fresh SSD.

How to install Windows on a SM951 & Asus Z170 Pro Gaming combo

Unplug all other drives except the M.2 drive. Create a Windows Install USB drive with UEFI mode. Plug the USB drive in and turn on the computer and follow these steps:

  • Press F2 to enter BIOS on bootup.
  • Press F5 to load optimized defaults
  • Press F7 to switch to Advanced mode:

Under the Advanced tab change:

PCH Storage Configuration
  • Hyper Kit Mode -> Disabled
  • Sata Controllers -> Enabled
  • Sata Mode Selection -> AHCI
  • Aggressive lPM -> Disabled
  • Smart Self Test -> On
USB Configuration
  • Legacy USB Support -> Enabled
  • XHCI Hand-Off -> Disabled
Onboard Devices Configuration
  • M.2/SATA Express Detect Mode -> Manual
  • SATA Mode Configuration -> SATA Express (NOT m.2, as I found out)

Under the Boot tab change:

CSM (Compatibility Support Module) Configuration
  • Launch CSM -> Enabled
  • Boot Device Control -> UEFI Only
  • Boot From Network Devices -> Ignore
  • Boot From Storage Devices -> Legacy Only
  • Boot From PCI-E/PCI Expansion Devices -> UEFI Driver First
Secure Boot
  • Secure Boot State -> Enabled
  • Platform Key PK State -> Loaded
  • OS Type -> Windows UEFI mode

After changing all these settings press F10 to save your changes and reboot. If you enter into the BIOS now you still won’t see the SM951 listed. But if you have your Windows Install USB drive connected you should see that now in the boot menu.

Reboot again this time don’t enter into BIOS and let Windows setup load. Click through until you get to the drive select screen and your M.2 SM951 should be listed. If not check your settings listed above and check the connection of the SM951 to the motherboard.

After successful install of Windows the SM951 shows up under Windows Boot Manager.

That was the settings that worked for me using the 1904 Bios version on the Asus Z170 motherboard with a SM951 M.2 drive. Hopefully it helped you out and you were able to install Windows on your new SM951 M.2 drive and Z170 motherboard. If it was useful please leave a comment below.

28 thoughts on “Install Windows on a M.2 SM951 with Asus Z170 Pro Gaming”

  1. Thank you so much for the info, i tried few method from other source and this workaround actually worked.

    You rock bro!!

  2. Great thanks I have a 960 EVO 1TB coming next Tuesday and plan to do a clean install of Win 10 64-bit as well but one thing do I still need to change all the settings because I read that the latest version of Win 10 has native drivers now and should read the drive ok.

  3. Aaarrrgghh!!!! I followed sooooo many video on youtube, tried everythiiiiiiing. And now this and it always does the same thing, as I reboot to hopefully boot from the stick with windows on it, it just loops back in the bios auto. Im going nuts

  4. My system and ssds seem to be working spot on. Thanks for taking the time to help. By the way if you have an evo 850 too id be careful as to whether to install the magician software. Im pretty sure it caused my write iops to be hit performance wise. I wont be installing it. Do uou know if this fix is for the nvme version of the drive or the ahci. I have an n me and it seems to have worked bit perhaps M.2 mode would make it faster?

  5. Horor! Horor! Horor! Horor! Horor!
    It is already 2017 ans you may think that installing Windows on a M.2 Drive will be easy. But not! Asus don’t give a f…!

  6. Hi there, i know that this is a 2016 thread, but i would like to say thank you, Justin for the comprehensive guide in installing m.2 drive onto Z170 pro gaming mobo.

    But just wondering when you mentioned about:

    `SATA Mode Configuration -> SATA Express (NOT m.2, as I found out)’,

    I have to run at `SATA Express’ settings as well in order for the mobo to detect the m.2 nvme card as boot drive, but i was wondering at what speed does my m.2 nvme card is running, either at SATA speed or PCIE speed?


  7. I have Asus Z170 Gaming pro with EVO 970. I followed your steps, files are installed, but system is not able to boot after restart. I’m still having BSODs. EVO970 is the only drive, and it looks that the mobo is not able to run with that drive as a boot. Do you have any ideas how to make it working?

  8. Grazie per il tuo lavoro, l’unico, che dopo tanto girovagare in rete mi ha permesso di installare Windows10 pro su m2 Samsung 970Evo su Asus z170 pro gaming da USB bios 3805, pen 8 Gb preparata con Windows media tool, unica differenza incontrata è:
    Secure Boot

    Secure Boot State -> Enabled
    Platform Key PK State -> Loaded…….=unloaded
    OS Type -> Windows UEFI mode
    ma l’installazione parte ugualmente

  9. Thinking of getting a samsung 970 evo for my rig as a gaming drive. Do you have to go through this process if not using it for boot drive?

  10. It’s 2019!!! AND THIS IS the only method that actually works after trying for weeks! I use an ASUS B450 AMD chipset and after trying to copy all the steps as closely as I could, my mobo finally detects my crucial P1 nvme m.2. THANKS SO MUCH!

  11. Thank you for this.
    I’m looking to use my M.2. as boot drive in Asus z170-A. In the BIOS, I’m not sure which settings to use – Manual is confusing/conflicting about M.2.

    “SATA Mode Configuration -> SATA Express (NOT m.2, as I found out)”

    SATA Express would use SATA speed wouldn’t it? and M.2 would utilise PCIE speeds (better?)? You said not M.2 as you found out? What do you mean? I contacted Asus and they said M.2 would be best


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