Deploying Windows 7 to new NVMe drives
- NVMe drives only work when the computer is configured for UEFI boot
- Based on #1, NVMe drives need to be formatted GPT instead of MBR
- The original Windows 7 SP1 install source files do not include support for NVMe drives
Additionally, instead of deploying Windows 7 SP1 original bits, you have to deploy a captured WIM of Windows 7 SP1 which has been updated to include the Microsoft supplied NVMe drivers (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2990941). If you are using PXE boot to initiate your deployment it is recommended you use WinPE 5 or 10 as these have built-in support for NVMe drives.
So these challenges are not insurmountable; however, some folks may not want to make the change to UEFI boot for their Windows 7 deployments and don't want to switch to GPT partitions on their drives. To address this, Lenovo has published BIOS updates for most of the commercial-class ThinkPads to add support for Legacy boot of NVMe drives. NOTE: This now means a fully patched Windows 7 32-bit image can be deployed to NVMe drives.
The following lists the versions in which this update was added for the various models:
- ThinkPad T460s version 1.11 or newer
- ThinkPad Yoga 260 version 1.41 or newer
- ThinkPad X1 Carbon(4th), X1 Yoga version 1.14 or newer
- ThinkPad P70 version 2.03 or newer
- ThinkPad P50 version 1.24 or newer
- ThinkPad T560 and P50s version 1.06 or newer
- ThinkPad T460p version 2.04 or newer
- ThinkPad T460 version 1.10 or newer
- ThinkPad X260 version 1.19 or newer