Guide: Clean Install Windows 10, After M.2 NVMe SSD Upgrade

Discussion in 'Dell XPS and Studio XPS' started by kent1146, Jan 27, 2016.

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  1. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    Re-Installing Windows 10, after an M.2 SSD Upgrade

    This guide was written to help a forum member do a clean install of Windows 10, after upgrading to an M.2 NVMe SSD. That particular laptop was a Dell XPS 15 9550 (late-2015 model). However, this guide should also apply to other Dell XPS 13 / 15 models, released after the late-2015 Intel Skylake CPU refreshes. The only thing that might change is Step 2, where the exact classification / list of drivers may be different.



    You'll need at least one 16GB (or larger) USB Flash Drive. USB 3.0 drives make this process a lot faster. Here's a list of steps below:

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    Preparing for the Re-Install
    1. Go on Microsoft's site to download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This will automatically download Windows 10 64-bit for you, and create a bootable USB flash drive (link)


    2. Go to http://support.dell.com to download the drivers for your system.


    For a Dell XPS 15 9550, you'll want:
    • Audio: Everything
    • Chipset: Everything
    • Modem / Communications: Driver for your card. You probably have a Dell Wireless 1830. Get both WiFi and Bluetooth drivers. They may be in separate files.
    • Network: Everything
    • SATA: Intel Rapid Storage Technology (save this for later)
    • System Utilities: Intel HID
    • ST Microelectronics: Everything
    • Video: Intel HD Drivers
    • Video: Get nVidia 960M drivers directly from nVidia, through the GeForce Experience (link)
    Save these to a USB Flash Drive (it can be your Windows 10 Setup USB Flash Drive, in a sub-directory).

    Note: Other laptop models may have different driver names, classification categories, etc. In general, you WANT to download drivers for audio, Intel chipset, Intel storage, WiFi card, Bluetooth card, ethernet adapter, SD Card reader, and video drivers. You can safely ignore anything with the word "Dell" in it, except for WiFi and/or Bluetooth drivers.

    3. Download any internet-based applications you want (e.g. Google Chrome, Avast Antivirus, Steam, League of Legends client, WinRAR or 7zip, etc). If you have a lot, you may need a larger (or separate) USB Flash Drive.

    4. Take the Intel Rapid Storage Technology file. Extract it, and save those extracted files on a USB Flash Drive. It can be either on the root directory, or in a sub-folder. You'll need that for Windows 10 setup to recognize an M.2 NVMe SSD.

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    Re-Installing Windows 10

    5. Shut down your computer. Remove power cable.

    6. Open up the laptop chassis. Install / swap your new hardware upgrades into the laptop (M.2 SSD, RAM, etc). **BE SURE TO REMOVE YOUR MECHANICAL HDD FOR NOW*** Explanation below.

    7. Put bottom laptop panel on, secure only 1 or 2 screws (you'll need to come back later).

    8. Boot into BIOS (hit F2 during boot process, on Dell logo screen. If it gets to some kind of Windows boot screen, you missed the timing window).

    9. Configure:

    • System Configuration --> SATA Operation = AHCI
    • Secure Boot --> Secure Boot = Disabled.
    • Boot Sequence --> Boot List Option = Legacy

    10. Exit BIOS. Put Windows 10 USB Flash Drive in. Hit F12during startup (Dell logo) for One-Time Boot Menu. Boot off of the Windows 10 Setup USB Flash Drive.

    11. Choose to install Windows 10:

    • Product Key: Choose Skip (Windows 10 will eventually automatically read the product key stored in BIOS, or use your hardware fingerprint to validate your Windows 10 license).
    • Type of Installation: Custom (not Upgrade)
    • If your M.2 NVME drive isn't listed, choose Load Driver. Put in the USB Flash drive where you copied those extracted Intel Rapid Storage Technology files.
    • Your drive should be detected. If this isn't a new drive, Delete all partitions on there.
    • Install windows on the unpartitioned space.
    12. Windows 10 will install, and complete the setup process. Should take about 30-45 min.

    13. Power down the laptop. Unplug power. Open the bottom lid. Put your mechanical HDD back in. Close up the lid (fully; all screws) Plug power back in.

    The reason for doing this is that Windows will put the bootloader information on the "first" drive it sees in the system. And you don't have any control over what Windows Setup sees as the "first" drive. This may result in a situation where your bootloader is stored on a different drive than your core Windows OS files. This is undesirable.

    By having only one drive in the system during Windows Setup, you force everything (bootloader, OS files) to go on one drive.


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    13. Copy over all of the Dell Drivers you downloaded in Step 2. Install them. You can choose avoid rebooting until all drivers are installed, and then reboot at the end.

    14. Install all of the applications you downloaded in Step 3.

    15. Install / configure any other software, applications, games, etc you want. Put them on your SSD, for speed.
     
  2. Justin335

    Justin335 Newbie

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    This is awesome. Thanks!

    One question, does this tutorial also apply to non NVME M.2 SSD's?
     
  3. GoNz0

    GoNz0 Laptop Engineer & Online games hosting.

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    Legacy is the one path to follow but should you want secure boot the same way as it arrives from Dell then you need a custom ISO. Easy enough to pull off using nlite and the correct drivers, I created an ISO that will see an nvme drive, allow you to install without any extra work and install al but 3 drivers that get pulled from windows update once you reach desktop.

    I will be updating my ISO's in the next few days to hopefully a combined home/pro multi language once I get the time!

    My sig has the current ISO's created a couple of weeks ago,
     
    Woodking likes this.
  4. Fant

    Fant Notebook Evangelist

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    The Dell Command - Update download doesnt work to keep drivers up to date does it?
     
  5. tijo

    tijo Sacred Blame Super Moderator

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    One thing you should add to this is that if you are using your own ISO for Windows like I was, it is paramount that the USB drive installer be created using FAT32 and UEFI. Not all tools that can make a bootable flash drive from an iso can do this. The Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool cannot. Seems like the Windows 10 utility does it, but assuming that you want to install Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise or Education instead of Home, you'll need to make your own bootable drive using something like rufus.
     
  6. kent1146

    kent1146 Notebook Prophet

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    I'm not sure. But it's not worth it, for two reasons:

    1) You can always just go and manually download drivers yourself.
    2) Drivers don't change much, except for the nVidia GPU drivers. And those are updated (automatically) through GeForce Experience, which should be running anyway.

    A Dell driver update utility just eats up system resources, and is an annoyance.
     
  7. Ravynn

    Ravynn Notebook Enthusiast

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    Does changing it to AHCI cause any issues? What if you wanted it to stay as a cache ssd?
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
  8. GoNz0

    GoNz0 Laptop Engineer & Online games hosting.

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    It is not possible as caching with an SSD is a RAID only option.
     
  9. Ravynn

    Ravynn Notebook Enthusiast

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    Had to edit this. Different question:

    If you want the Windows Installation to be on the 32GB SSD, do you follow the same steps for the entire guide? Do you still have to change it to AHCI?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  10. GoNz0

    GoNz0 Laptop Engineer & Online games hosting.

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    Considering my 2 week old install has 47gb in the windows folder you may as well chalk that one up as a bad idea and move on!
     
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