In this post I will show you how you can modify the BIOS of your Dell OptiPlex 9020, 7020 or 3020 so that they can support an NVMe SSD drive as a boot device. These machines have a UEFI BIOS, but they do not contain an NVMe driver. By adding the driver into the BIOS you can boot from a PCIe NVMe SSD.
I managed to achieve these speeds:
The speed results above are from the same SSD. ( Samsung 970 EVOPlus )
It took me quite a bit of research to figure out how to do this modification. But it is actually very easy and provides an immense boost in speed. Here is the card and SSD installed and working in OptiPlex 7020.
This blog post contains instructions on how to modify your BIOS.
You could easily break your machine. Proceed at your own risk!
In order to carry out this upgrade, you will need a few things:
- An NVMe SSD. I used a 512Gb Samsung 970 EVOPlus
- An NVMe to PCIe Adapter, I used this one from Amazon.
- A Dell OptiPlex 9020, 7020 or 3020 to upgrade.
I have personally tried this procedure on the 3020 and 7020 Small Form Factor and a 9020 Minitower. It works for every variant of the machine. There are slight variations in the procedure for each machine.
This process involves five steps:
- Upgrade your current BIOS if required.
- Backup your current BIOS.
- Add NVMe driver support into the BIOS backup.
- Writing the modified BIOS back to the system.
- Install the PCIe NVMe SSD and Adapter.
- Optimise BIOS settings.
Before starting the the physical installation of the NVMe SSD you can do all of the required preparation while the machine is running on your existing drive.
Upgrade your BIOS
The first step, is to upgrade your current BIOS:
Just download the BIOS update from the Dell website and run the update. Before the update runs it will show your current version and the version that you will be updated to:
Install Intel Management Engine Components
Next install the Intel Management Engine Components from Dell. These management components will allow you to access the BIOS in order to back it up. Reboot once after installation of the management tools.
Download Intel Management Engine Tools
Now download Intel ME System Tools and extract the Zip file to your machine. For the purposes of this blog post I will assume that it has been extracted to: C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7.
The Intel ME System Tools will be used to backup the BIOS and write the modified image back to the machine.
Backup your current BIOS
Parts of the BIOS are protected and cannot be read to or written from. In order to get a complete backup the machine must be put into service mode.
- Switch the machine off completely.
- Disconnect it from the mains Power.
- Move the jumper from the two pin PSWD connector, to the two PIN SERVICE_MODE connector. It is located between the Power Supply and the PCI Slot closest to it:
Note: If you have a spare jumper you could leave the password jumper in place.
Once the machine is in service mode, turn it back on, you will receive some warning notifications:
First a warning informing you that the password has been disabled. Don’t worry about this as you will be putting the password jumper back where it should be soon. It will show this message:
Next, you will also receive a message notifying you that service mode is enabled:
When your machine is booted up again you can take a backup of your existing firmware. Open a command prompt as administrator:
Run the following commands:
cd "\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64" fptw64.exe -d backup.bin
The example above is from an OptiPlex 7020, the output from the 3020 will look slightly different as it only has a single flash device and will give output such as:
Platform: Intel(R) H81 Express Chipset Reading HSFSTS register... Flash Descriptor: Valid --- Flash Devices Found --- MX25L6405D ID:0xc22017 Size: 8192KB (65535Kb) - Reading Flash [0x800000] 8192KB of 8192KB - 100% complete. Writing flash contents to file "backup.bin"... Memory Dump Complete FPT Operation Passed
You will now have a file named backup.bin which contains a full backup of your BIOS. Leave the command prompt open as we are going to use it again to write the modified BIOS back.
Modify the BIOS Image
Download and open UEFITool 0.28.0 to modify your BIOS (Direct link to version I used).
Open the backup.bin from the previous step in UEFI Tool and expand it like so:
Scroll to the bottom of this section and you should see an area that looks like this:
Now, download this NVMe Express Driver and save it to your machine. Next, right click on the final DXE Driver before the Freeform entries. Specifically these is IDs:
- D95D6B4F-92FA-4E78-9C48-C68C0813688E for the OptiPlex 7020 or 9020
- 6C58FC74-64DA-4D83-8BCD-9FD574C97316 for the OptiPlex 3020
Right click the item and choose Insert After:
Choose the file NvmExpressDxe_Small.ffs that you just downloaded and you will see it appear right after the item that you selected:
Now go to File -> Save Image File and save the file as nvme.bin.
Write the new BIOS to the machine
You are now ready to write the new file back to the machine. Go back to the command prompt session. Type the following command:
fptw64.exe -bios -f nvme.bin
You should get output like this:
Shut down the machine and take the jumper off the service pins and move it back to the password reset pins if you took it from there.
Install the PCI NVMe SSD
If you have not yet installed your SSD into the machine, you can do it now. For the 7020 use the blue PCI slot, it is approximately twice as fast as the smaller black one.
For the 3020 you need to install it into the PCI Slot closest to the Power Supply.
Optimise BIOS Settings
Now that you have written the new BIOS, restart the machine.
You should be able to see the adapter in the BIOS:
If you are not going to have any SATA drives connected you need to disable them in the BIOS, here you can see I have disabled all of the ports that do not have a drive connected:
Finally, if you want the maximum possible speed from your new drive, consider disabling C-States in the BIOS. This makes it marginally faster, but I doubt you would notice much difference:
Upgrading a Dell Optiplex 9020, 7020 or 3020 with PCI NVMe Solid State drive is a brilliant upgrade, and completely transforms the machine. Especially if you are upgrading from a hard drive.
Again, here is the PCI adapter that I used:
- 512Gb Samsung 970 EVOPlus
- NVMe to PCI Adapter (The adapter comes with a heatsink also)
If you try it, I would love to know how you got on and what your results were.
Will this work on my Dell Optiplex 7010?
I haven’t tried it on a 7010 yet. But I do have one I can try it on. Will try it out and report back.
I cannot backup the BIOS in my Dell7010, it keep saying error, cannot work in this FPT platform….. but I can backup my Dell 3020 .
Reading Flash [0x8000000] 8192KB of 8192KB – 100% complete. Writing flash contents to file “backup.bin”… Memory Dump complete FPT Operation Passed , I wonder whether should I proceed to Write the new BIOS to the machine ? Please advise!
That tool will not be able to backup a 7010 – it will need a different version of fpt.
Hi Paulie, I know very little about BIOS. I never deal with BIOS before. I have no idea of what I need to do with what you advised about different version of fpt. Could you make another detail post just like this Dell 7020 step by step that is for Dell 7010 PLEASE? You are my hero. Happy Christmas to you!
Yes – I will try. I have a 7010 so just need to try it out. Will report back soon! I am somewhat confident it will work.
I’ve now done it on 7010 also. Will write it up later today.
Great! I am waiting anxiously for your new post for Dell 7010. Could you also post how to do the Dell 3020? I follow the procedure that you posted for Dell 7020 here. Now I can backup my Dell 3020 successfully.
Reading Flash [0x8000000] 8192KB of 8192KB – 100% complete. Writing flash contents to file “backup.bin”… Memory Dump complete FPT Operation Passed , I wonder whether should I proceed to Write the new BIOS to the machine ? Please advise!
The post is live now:
How to modify the BIOS on a Dell Optiplex 7010 to enable NVMe SSDs
Be interested to hear how you get on. I cannot comment on the 3020. I do not have one to try it out with, but I might consider buying one if these two blog posts prove to be popular.
I have now tried out this procedure on a Dell OptiPlex 3020 and it works perfectly well! I will be updating the post to include some images of the 3020.
Great! Looking forward to see your new post for Dell 3020. Thanks!
I have just updated this post with the information for the OptiPlex 3020. Please let me know if you were successful in any of your upgrades!
This is great guide. I followed it step-by-step and was able to get NVMe boot working on my 7020 SFF. Thank you. This was exactly what I needed. Thank you. You made my day!
Brilliant news, getting lots of reports that this is working really well for people! It’s like a new machine after.
This is very great article. I followed and was able to get NVMe boot working on my 7020. I spent only an hour to get everything sort out on new NVMe SSD.
Thank you very much!!! You are the man.
One little thing I would like to share in case it is related. After getting NVMe boot working, the hibernate and shutdown on my PC was not working properly anymore. The PC just restart immediately after shutdown and go to login screen after hibernate. I spent few days trying to figure out until discover that it was because TPM in BIOS was inactivated after the BIOS was modified. Once I reactivated TPM, the hibernate and shutdown started working again.
Really glad you found it useful! Thanks for the tip regarding hibernation. I’ve got a 9020 on the way to test it with, which I am going to build a Hackintosh with.
oPTIPLEX 9020 bin looks different but nvme boot works just fine following the instructions (using UFITool 0.28.0. The latest UEFITool insert doesn’t work). Thanks !!!
Thanks for letting everyone know Patrick – very useful.
Tried this on my 3020 SFF and now Windows 10 boot times are close to 6 seconds. Big improvement over a mechanical platter drive. There is one small typo in the guide. The first cd command is missing a backslash before Intel. Spotted it easily after it didn’t work the first try.
cd “Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7Flash Programming ToolWIN64”
should be: cd “\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7Flash Programming ToolWIN64”
Great guide Paul !
Thanks for letting me know, will update shorty. So cool to hear the results people are getting – it’s an incredible improvement.
Yes it works ! ! on Dell OptiPlex mt 7020 thank you ! (i have to keep one disk ssd or hdd installed)
And please what about on the Dell Optiplex mt 9020 ?
Thanks for this art work perfect ! 😀
I was trying to put a NVMe drive in an Optiplex 3020 thinking (naively) it will be okay to boot on (spoiler it’s not).
Your great tutorial worked just perfectly for me, and I owe you a great thanks.
I have now Ubuntu Server running from the NVMe storage alongside a RAID 1 of two 1To HDDs, that’s super cool !
Jan Skowron says
I have a great ask: could the author of the article post a BIOS to 7020 to be downloadable? I do not have Windows on my Dell, only linux, so unfortunately I cannot perform the described procedure. Thanks
Jan – you must get the BIOS from your machine (you can do it using Freedos and the same tools that are in this blog post). If I posted a BIOS image it would contain the unique information from the machine that I pulled it from. So it is important for you to get a backup of your own BIOS. All you need is a USB stick with Freedos.
First of all, thanks to you for your hard work on this project, your way is much better than booting with a hackintosh bootloader on a USB stick. I used your method successfully on a Optiplex 9020 SFF, a Optiplex XE2 SFF, and a Precision T1700 SFF. For a while I had trouble with the 9020 and XE2 with “hard drive not found” errors, but was able to clear them up by removing and then re-installing the CMOS battery, and then resetting the bios. Now all three work great!
how to modify the bios on dell optiplex 790/990 please help
Thanks for your detail instruction. BIOS update successfully.
Sharing a failure experience.
My 7020MT couldn’t boot from NVME nor install windows to this SSD.
it can be read/write as a data disk.
BIOS(A18) can detect this “mass storage” (PATA SS) on slot 4 (x4) or slot 1 (x16).
Windows installation also found this drive but unable to instal due to it detect this drive not support booting to this disk.
I also read back bios, ensure the NvmExpressDxe_Small modification.
My SSD is Intel 660P,
Very appreciate if you or anyone can solve this problem.
Hi Alvin – If you have followed the guide correctly it should work. Do you have the boot mode set to UEFI? That is the only thing I can think of which would stop you booting from the drive if you have made the modification correctly. I have a 7020 MT in my office and have done the same modification.
I successfully upgraded the Dell 3020 with WD Black SN750 NVME SSD by following your instructions in the post. Now I can boot my Dell 3020 directly from my WD Black SN750 NVME SSD with amazing speed. Thanks again for your wonderful invention. My next project is to upgrade my Dell 3010, Dell 9010, Dell Power Edge T30. I hope you can help me.
My 7020MT was unable to boot from NVME or install Windows on this SSD.
BIOS (A18) can detect this “mass storage” (PATA SS) but
Windows Setup also found this drive but was unable to install it because it detected that this drive does not support booting to this disk.
My SSD is a Samsung 970 evo plus 1TB.
boot security off
Is it possible to send you a backup of my bios (backup.bin) or if you can share any other NvmExpressDxe_Small.ffs driver that allows compatibility with my PC?
Hi Michael – Windows only shows that message if you are using legacy boot – you must boot in UEFI mode. I strongly suspect you are booting in Legacy/BIOS mode.
Michael Gonzalez says
Paulie, Thank you very much, it worked perfectly on my optiplex 7020 MT, it is not necessary to keep any additional disk connected, it is only necessary to disable the sata ports.
Great news! Love hearing about all these people performing this upgrade. I did write up the part about disabling the SATA ports in the post, but no-one seems to see that part!
Finally, upgrade works.
At the beginning, I installed windows 10 21H2, I always got a not support booting warning after I deleted/created partition.
then, I tried 20H2 version, delete/create new partition. SURPRISE !! it works.
It might be the SSD was previous configure as MBR. After I could boot from SSD it became GPT.
Thank you very much. I’m so happy with the upgrade.
M.2 is a form factor, not an interface. It will work with an M.2 NVMe drive. An M.2 SATA drive will need to be connected to the SATA port on the motherboard.
Sayed Zuber says
You are a great man of the decade.My eagerness and search endes at your research.Thank You very much.
My 3020 Optiplex working like 2022 PC with this mod.
Thanks for the great web pages and videos on booting legacy computers with NVMe SSD’s. I don’t know if Amazon messed with the product at your link, but this Rivo PCI-E Riser looks closer to what you used.
I’m looking forward to trying out your recommendations on my Optiplex 9020!
you were right, i got a new nvme drive and it worked no issues at all.
Sayed Zuber says
Can you please guide for the same process on this topic for Dell Optiplex 3040 SFF.
Yes, it’s coming soon! Just finishing up writing the guide for the 790 which someone requested.
Oscar Sierra says
WoW , Thank you very much!
you are a hero! O9020 works perfect with my Samsung 970 Evo NVMe to PCI-E card.
Looking forward to get the guideline for 790/990 Optiplex.
Will only UEFI machines work with this BIOS mod? Im running a bunch of Dell Precision T3500 with XEON CPU and 32/48 GB RAM. BIOS is for MBR boot only, so will your patch wotk for those machines too?
Optiplex 9020 boot to Windows 11 pro from NVMe in less than 5 sec from Dell splash screen to desktop. Thats amazing for this old machine! thx again and best regards
Terence Arones says
Hi I’m new to computer stuff but do I have to have windows already as I just got a 7020 bare without any hdd and ram.
No, you can use Windows Live from a USB stick. But you’d need a working computer to build that.
I´m using Macrium Reflect free rel. 8.x to clone the existing WIndows installation to the NVMe.
Download free copy from here:
select “home use” and follow the install instructions.You dont need to register, just uncheck the box and finish the install wiz.
When NVMe is installed, start reflect and select “clone” to bring your existing windows with a single step to the NVMe.
Reboot the machine, enter BIOS mode hitting F2 at boot and uncheck all SATA drives. Save changes and reboot.
Have fun with NVMe speed!
Jan Skowron says
Paulie – thanks! FreeDOS worked! I did managed to boot the computer from the USB stick and run BIOS update O7020A18.exe. Also the backup of both flashes was possible using the \Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\DOS\fpt.ext (instead of fptw64.exe) under DOS. Then, I had to move to another machine, where I had access to Windows proper, to patch the “backup.bin” file with UEFITool. After this procedure, I could get back to my system and flash the new file using fpt.exe again under FreeDOS. Thank you very much for all help!
Bart Voskulen says
Thanks Paulie, looks really good, I’ll be doing my Optiplex 9020 in the near future. I’m currently using rEFInd off a USB to do this.
Can I suggest that you make a point of running the machine from a UPS while upgrading the BIOS. I imagine anything could happen if a power loss occurs during the FLASH writing.
Jay Simpson says
This is great! I have a Dell 9020 MT. I have successfully updated using these instructions. I am having an odd issue. On bootup, I am getting an error that the hard drive is not found, to press F1 to try again. When I do, it boots just fine. I have removed the cmos battery and reset all of the BIOS options, but it’s still giving me the error. Any ideas?
Quinn Wong says
Paulie, thank you very much for this awesome tutorial. I followed those steps on my Dell Precision T1700 MT (latest BIOS version A28) with a Seagate Barracuda 1TB NVMe SSD. It works like a charm! I suggest that Precision T1700 SFF/MT could be added to the compatibility list.
Lambertus Voskulen says
Hi Paulie, Thanks again for this excellent article.
I have now successfully updated my Optiplex 9020 MT, and it is booting a Linux installation from the NVMe drive with the BIOS in UEFI mode.
However, I have several other OSs still set up in Legacy mode on MBR disks using Grub2 (migrated from an older platform) and they boot ok with the BIOS in legacy mode, but there is quite a long delay between the Dell logo screen and the grub menu showing. Any suggestions?
Roy Burton says
Fun with a 9020
Well I did it, I was prepared to loose the machine, (i5-4590 3.3G 16GB) all went reasonable well!
I use a spare link to put into service mode.
I had some trouble running two commands as I was in Power-shell.
Run the following two commands:
cd “\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64”
fptw64.exe -d backup.bin
fptw64.exe -d backup.bin ‘this works on regular command prompt’
.\fptw64.exe -d backup.bin ‘this works on power-shell’
The file was created in following location
C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64\backup.bin
When it came to write the bios back with UEFi tool
fptw64.exe -bios -f nvme.bin ‘this works on regular command prompt
.\fptw64.exe -bios -f nvme.bin ‘this works on Power-shell’
The rest went OK
I needed to setup the bios to boot to the nvme drive. (note. all drives are GPT)
(Please note I have little experience with modern UEFI bioses)
I disabled all sata hard drives (not the dvd’s)
I then installed fresh windows 10 via DVD drive but on reboot kept seeing DOS lines press F1 etc
The way by bios was set up it wanted to see a sata hdd, for some reason, so I enable a non-bootable sata drive and left my original sata boot drive disabled.
Then added the nvme to the boot list, (which did not appear in the list to start with my take a couple of boots) and put it to the top of the list, and it worked!
I wiped my old boot drive and used it for extra storage
Thank you for an excellent article I am very pleased with the results.
Roy Burton says
My second successful bios mod this time to a OptiPlex 7020 SFF i7 4790 3.6Ghz 32GB RAM
NVME Crystal-Disk-Mark =(Q8T1)
Read 1977.91 MB/s
Write 1259.11 MB/s
Roy Burton says
My third and last Dell opiplex, 9020 mini tower’s successful bios mod i7 4790 3.6Ghz 32GB RAM
NVME Crystal-Disk-Mark =(Q8T1)
Read 1577.91 MB/s
Write 1439.11 MB/s
not the fastest but i am using a cheap (£29) nvme Crucial P2 250GB 3D NAND NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD – CT250P2SSD8 size 250 GB
and cheap pcie to nvme interface card (£6)
Multibao PCIe Pro M.2 NVMe SSD NGFF TO PCI-E 3.0 X16 X4 Adapter M Key Interface Card Full Speed
My three 4th generation machines now have a few years extended life thanks to this excellent article.
I have successfully updated my 2013 Optiplex 9020. With an 2.5 SSD, I get about 500MB/s and with a cheap Crucial P2 NMVe I can get 2400MB/s as advertised. Thank you very much, you’re amazing.
Blaise De Grille says
Owing to this post, I have successfully modified my 9020’s bios to handle boot from nvme ssd drive in a pcie adapter. First of all thank You very much, I just can’t write it down, how glad I am. Now I have a Latitude e7450 (i5-5300u), and i placed a toshiba nvme ssd to my wwan card slot, in hope of dual booting operation systems on my laptop. After the boot process the operating system (I tried with Win10 and Manjaro) detects the toshiba drive, can write it and read from too, but can’t boot from it. So my question is, that might Your bios mod could be work on my latitude?
Gratefully hanks, Balázs
Any update on a guide for the 3040? I just picked up a couple and found that the version that was sold to me did not have the nvme slot soldered on the board.
I don’t have a 3040 but I will see if I can get hold of one. But another knowledgeable guy on here said that NVMe support was built in – have you tried it?
> “the version that was sold to me did not have the nvme slot soldered on the board.”
Travis, by looking at the motherboard diagrams, the Optiplex 3040 have only PCIe x 1 slots (short) and one PCIe x 16 slot, (long) and never had NVMe slots on the board.
You just need to buy an adaptor, like it is said in the blog post above: “NVMe to PCIe Adapter: https://amzn.to/32ho7og“. Unfortunately all PCIe-NVMe adaptors I have seen are PCIe x 4, so you will need to use up the sole long PCIe port for the SSD.
BTW. I have just done some benchmarks on my Optiplex 7020 MT and indeed the blue PCIe slot is much faster.
I got 790 MB/s read from the blue PCIe x 16 slot (closer to the CPU), and I got 405 MB/s from the black PCIe x 16 slot – so indeed twice the performence differece. (When using the Intel SSD Pro disk and an aliexpress pcie x 4 adapter). The 800 MB/s read speed, instead of 150 MB/s for a SATA drive is quite something – while the access time is 0.02 miliseconds for NVMe SSD vs 19 miliseconds for SATA Seagate HDD. Wow.
Great tutorial and very easy to follow!. Unfortunately I seem to have run into a problem. I have updated the BIOS to include the driver, but unfortunately when viewing boot devices the PCI slot shows “empty”. I have tried both slots on 9020. Tried 2 different adapters, but the same ssd. Might it be a new ssd would work? Or if someone could check if BIOS shows empty with adapter but no SSD with the same result, that would narrow my search a lot and would be greatly appreciated!
If you are not going to have any SATA drives connected you need to disable them in the BIOS.
Disabling the un-used ports prevents an error on startup.
Bob Young says
When I downloaded the Intel Management Engine, I got a file called “Chipset_Driver_4J8MX_WN32_18.104.22.1685_A00_07.EXE” which is a zipped file containing 2017 files. Is this still the correct reference in your article? If yes then great and just confirm. If not, can you point me to the correct file(s)? Thanks
Hi Bob – Choose the install option, not extract.
Bob Young says
Thanks for such a quick reply! But I was confused by your answer until I realized that you thought I meant two thousand seventeen files instead of files from the year 2017. There are only 3 files in the archive. All that I was trying to verify is if the reference in the article was pointing correctly to chipset drivers that are from the year 2017. Forgive me for leading you astray but please verify that I should be installing these chipset drivers.
Thank you very much again
Hi, I can’t get past the first cp commands. It says file not found. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, I’ve extracted to C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7.
Dell optiplex 7020. Thanks for the terrific write up.
Question. I am using a pretty nice graphics card and boot from a 2.5 ssd which is decent. When my adapter finally gets here should I move my graphics card out of the blue slot for the nvme ssd or better to leave graphics card in blue slot and use nvme as data only ssd in another pci e slot? Thanks again
Both configurations will work. You’ll get less speed from either device when not in the blue slot – but they will both work in either slot. You will still get great performance from the SSD without it being in the blue slot.
Harold B Underwood says
Everything shows up in the BIOS, but still won’t boot from the NVMe. In fact, Mini-tools PM did NOT erase the contents of the C: drive once the OS/Files were cloned to the NVMe. Had to create a Boot record for the NVMe for it to even show up in the sequence list. Not really sure what is going on:(. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. BTW using UEFI.
And what happens if you run the windows 10 installer from USB? Will it boot a freshly installed Windows 10 from the nvme?
Dell “Optiplex XE2” = 9020 SFF updated with the guide above and boots fine again on sata ssd + UEFI…
Now we only need the UNLOCK for Intel PPT / Intel Platform Trust Technology Menue unlock for this stupid DELL A25 Bios.. The 9020 still has TPM 1.2 Module and won’t support Windows 11 fully…
Maybe the Bios hides the box for intel build in CPU TPM Software as the Module itself is soldered to the board??
John Wester says
The there a for/ or may work for the OptiPlex 980?
@johnwester The Optiplex 980 has legacy BIOS only. There is no option to choose UEFI vs legacy in boot mode, therefore it is legacy only. If you can upgrade the board to a newer 790 and follow that guide it will work.
Timothy Hudgins says
Drive Speed result for OptiPlex 7020 seems to best, any one do a drive speed on the 9020?
I did one when I tested on 9020. There is no discernible difference between 7020 and 9020. They are basically the same machine.
In my 3020sff I currently have a GPU in the PCI x16 slot, will this work in the PCI x1 slot as well before I take the plunge in buying one?
It will work fine, but it will be limited to around 1500mb/sec.
What are the speeds of the non-blue port? the x4
Around 1500-1600 mb/sec
If I use a graphics card on the blue I can get better performance that I can get with a sata
Only one more thing, you know any way to flash the bios if are corrupt?
Thank you for these posts, Paulie.
I just followed your guide with a 7020 sff.
When I power up boot up, I get “Alert! Hard Drive not found.” error
“To continue press F1 key
To change setup option press F2 key
To run onboard diagnostics press F5 key”
Pressing F1 continues the boot into Win10 (2004), and everything works fine.
Restart from OS works fine.
I’m guessing that I have something wrong in BIOS settings, but I can’t figure it out.
I’ve tried multiple variations, but the best that I could get is the above. I think that when I turn off “Enable Legacy Option ROMs” it hangs at the Dell logo, and I can’t even F2 to get into Setup. At that point, I have to remove the PCIe NVMe adaptor card to F2 into Setup.
UEFI boot path Security = Never
I would appreciate any help, please.
Check the section of the post “Optimise BIOS settings”. Basically disable the SATA ports if you’re not using them anymore.
Yes, the only SATA port enabled is 1, corresponding to the optical drive.
With further fiddling, I was able to simplify a little more, but still the same problem at the start of every power-up: “Alert! Hard Drive Not Found.”
I checked off Legacy boot support, resulting in boot hanging at Dell logo. Removed PCIe/NVMe card. Boot again. Installed back PCIe/NVMe card. Boot again.
I also tried toggling USB drive boot option. Problem persists either way.
It just occurred to me: could it be that during the BIOS backup – modification – rewrite process, SATA port 0 was enabled (corresponding to the SATA HD at that time), and this was written to the protected section which is independent of the subsequently F2 modifiable BIOS setting?
I would appreciate your further comments, please.
Nope, there will be no protected BIOS section. Quite a few people in the comments have had this issue. Did you make sure your bios was at the latest level before upgrading?
Yes. BIOS to A18 before upgrading.
It looks like the problem is the optical drive. I’ve moved it from SATA1 to SATA0 and SATA2, with no change in problem. When I uncheck all SATA drives, the boot problem goes away, but Windows does not see the optical drive (of course).
From the Boot Sequence, only UEFI: Hard Drive is shown. When I try to Add option, I’m not able to select the optical drive.
I think that the problem is this CD/DVD drive in the SFF not being recognizable to UEFI boot.
Thanks again to Paulie for the guide and all of the responses to your readers!
I have this updated information to share:
The SFF optical drive can be recognized in the UEFI Boot Sequence if Legacy boot is enabled in Advanced Boot Options.
However, even with UEFI Boot Sequence recognizing the optical drive, on power-up there is still the “Alert! Hard Drive Not Found” error. F1 will continue to boot to optical or hard drive in the correct order specified in Boot Sequence.
De-selecting all SATA drives from System Configuration => Drives resolves the problem. System boots quickly from power up to OS without interruption.
This is how I’m leaving my system; if I have occasion to boot from optical drive, I’ll need to first enable it from BIOS.
Nice one, how is your performance now you have finished the upgrade?
From power button to OS sign-in screen is under 10 seconds – probably closer to 5.
Thank you again Paulie!
Alex Du says
I’ve been waiting for this feature for years! Fantastic job, thank you!
Enjoy – let us know how you get on if you do the upgrade.
Hi Paulie, I finished the guide and got everything installed. I have a dell optiplex 9020 SFF but every time I boot it says “no bootable devices found”. I turned off all the sata ports and have it on UEFI is there a fix.
Also some things: I’m not trying to install windows I installed Openmediavault so that might have something to do with it and I also got a cheap ssd because I really just needed another drive. Thank you
With Dell Optiplex 7020mt do you know if i can i use two Samsung 970 EVOPlus ?
one for the operating system and one for storage
now for the operating system i use one Samsung 970 EVOPlus in the Blue slot PCIe 3.0 x16 with one adapter like your
and in the black slot PCIe 3.0 x16 i use one graphics card
I found to buy adapter to make from the M.B. the one PCIe 3.0 x 16 to two PCIe 3.0 x 4
Do you know if will work ?
so i can see 2 ssd or it neads any changes on bios and maybe is not posible in optiplex 7020mt
ok. all the best
Great blog, I finished the guide and got everything installed but when i want to load windows on the nvme ssd I get an error “This computer hardware may not support booting on this disk” i have a Dell OptiPlex 7020 MT
That is the message you receive when you boot the machine in BIOS mode. You MUST boot in UEFI mode as per the guide.
Alex S says
Hi Paul, thank you very much for the article.Would it be possible do you think, to use an adapter that has 2 or more NVMe slots? I see that the Glotrends device you chose has a 2 drive variant. Thoughts?
You can use one of those adapters, but only one of the slots is NVMe. The other slot is M.2 Form Factor but it is actually SATA. Is it like the adapter that I used on the bottom of this post:
Modify the BIOS of a Lenovo M92 to enable native NVMe support
Josh P says
I just completed the upgrade of the BIOS and ssd appears as mass storage in BIOS system information, however i’m still stuck in the part of booting from nvme, I have a Kingston nvme 1 tb, in the boot sequence does not appear anything on UEFI and when i try to add it appears as file not found, i’m wondering if can do the cloning of os and the boot from legacy as pata ss. I don’t know too much about BIOS, thanks in advance
Sonny Vasquez says
Thank you. This worked flawlessly on my 9020.
Alex IANCU says
thank you for this truly unique article.
I’d like to share my experience upgrading an Optiplex 7020. I refrained from upgrading my BIOS for a long time as I didn’t have any UPS at the location. Recently I bought an Eaton 3S550 with USB connectivity. I started upgrading my BIOS from the A02, factory version. I started with A03 and continued to apply each upgrade. After rebooting A09, the computer freezes on the Dell logo. At first, I thought I had bricked it but I decided to try removing all peripherals, including GPU. It worked, so I continued, finishing the procedure you described here. Before declaring the upgrade finished, I put the UPS USB back in and rebooted. It is freezing just as it did after the A09 upgrade. When I pull it out, will boot fine and after OS takes over(either Linux or Windows), I can put it back in, and works fine.
I’ll have to decide whether to live with this or downgrade from A18 to A08, then upgrade back and redo the BIOS editing. I fear the second path is dangerous. Not sure if newer BIOS upgrades rely on intermediary A09. Would you downgrade and skip a BIOS update?
Peter Muss says
Hello again from Germany!
I managed to update all my Precision T3610 with this tutorial.
Only one thing has to be changed: use this version ME System Tools v8 r3.zip instead of the tool from this tutorial:
here is the backup.bin from my T3610:
here is the nvme.bin containing the nvme driver:
perpaps you can copy this tutorial to a Precision T3610 tutorial and change only the link to the ME System Tool.
All other tools and files in this tutorial works like a charme for all my T3610.
Feel free to drop me a line if you need more info
Thanks for the article. I am writing this on the 9020 that boots to Wnidows 10 on my NVME drive at startup and I wanted to share some obstacles I overcame, along with one that i sort of went around.
First off, I used a legacy MBR SATA SDD to fire things up, followed the tutorial and got to where my NVME was recognized as mass storage as expected. Then I cloned the SATA drive to the NVME using MiniTool. Duh, it didn’t work. Convert from MBR to GPT. Didn’t work. Play with BIOS settings, including custom boot setups to see if any of the boot manger files work (I now have 2 file systems- FS0: and FS1: from the NVME and SATA, respectively). Didn’t work.
I didn’t want to start completely over, but I broke down and installed Windows 10 from Media Creation Tool on NVME. Seemed to work (YEAH!!!).
Once I removed the SATA drive, though, the BIOS is telling me “NO HARD DRIVE FOUND”. If I choose the continue option (F1), it boots to the NVME no problem. If I plug the SATA drive back in, it flies through BIOS with no warning and boots to the NVME no problem. I can repeat the BIOS “NO HARD DRIVE” warning by unplugging the SATA drive.
Does anyone know how to get off of this dependency? I am almost sure it is something I did or didn’t do, but I have been in and out and all over the BIOS setting and can’t figure it out. I am willing to try anything including reformatting the NVME again if necessary.
Did you disable the SATA ports as per the last part of the blog post?
Why would you need to use the blue (X16) slot for an x4 adapter?
Thank you for these instructions! I’ve been looking for years to migrate my HD to NVME since I read about the performance increase possible with these drives!
Sorry to bother you but I purchased exactly what you recommended and downloaded the update/software and versions you mentioned. Granted, I may have been under the influence of too much eggnog when I did this first but I circled back later and verified I had followed the instructions to a t (surprise, surprise!).
I used AOMEI to clone my boot disk.
My BIOS recognizes the Mass Storage in Slot 4 (does that mean I accomplished all the preceding steps correctly and the computer can (theoretically) boot from the NVME drive?) but I can’t get the computer to boot from the drive.
Reading over the comments for clues, I’ve tried the ones that I could but still no joy.
Let me see if I can sum it up succinctly: my boot drive was MBR so I made the NVME MBR; per your suggestion, I tried UEFI (I don’t get any boot order when I select that); I tried disabling ALL SATA devices; I tried repeatedly hitting F1 to try rebooting; I tried re-cloning the drive.
I’m a network engineer and used to having tools (captures, WireShark, etc) to see where the breakdown is happening on my network but am not aware of any such troubleshooting tools I can use to figure out where the breakdown is happening here. Got any ideas?
Thanks again and sorry I had to bother you.
Cancel the above – the one step I hadn’t tried, did it – I cloned from my MBR boot disk to GPT on the NVME, made the changes in my BIOS (it recognized a UEFI drive this time) and I am off to the races!
Have you been able to build a Hackintosh using the SSD for boot drive on a Optiplex 9020? I have two running Catalina but would like to upgrade to a SSD for speed… I am running Clover based Hacks… haven’t made the leap to Open Core.
Responding to the November 18 question…Uh, I followed the instructions to the letter, initially. I played with it so much afterwards that may have been the case that I enabled SATA drives and forgot to disable them. It is a non-issue for me anymore since I am keeping the SATA SSD as a secondary on this system.
I wanted to add that I think my biggest problem was drive prep. The move was necessary for me, but I was jumping into the technology without understanding all of the existing and coming aspects, primarily the configuration and function of different partitions when going from MBR to GPT, and from BIOS to EFI.
This is what DIDN’T work. I started with a spin-up SATA MBR drive including a “recovery” partition in addition to my main partition. Not wanting to compromise my original drive, I copied both partitions to a SATA SSD drive as MBR using MiniTool. The process increased the size of the recovery partition on the target SSD. Then I converted the SSD to GPT, which I was able to boot to using BIOS. I then used MiniTool to copy the SATA SSD to my NVME. I changed firmware over to UEFI from BIOS and SATA SSD would but but NVME would not.
This is what worked for me…I finally caved and did a wipe and clean install of Windows 10 on the NVME and now am flying.
Just not sure about partitions. On my SATA SSD 500G (465.76GB), I have a 659.12MB Recovery partition, a 464.92GB Data partition and a 200MB EFI System partition. On the NVME 1TB (931.51GB) I have a 100MB EFI System partition, a 16MB Reserved partition, a 930.88GB Data partition and a 530MB Recovery Partition. The EFI partitions on both drives are formatted FAT32 and the 16MB is formatted “Other”; all other partitions are formatted NTFS. What is the minimum number of partitions that these drives should have? Can the 659MB on the SSD be removed if this is no longer a boot drive? How about the 16MB and 530MB partitions on the NVME?
Thanks for any insight you can provide on the function of all of these partitions in different configurations, and what should be correct for using a NVME as a boot drive in the Optiplex 9020sff.
Tks form Vietnam, it’s working on Dell T1700 MT
Success upgrading to the new drive…. thanks for your hard work. Now to turn it into a Hackintosh… my current Sata SSD has my Catalina install but I think I am going to try a clean install using OC. now is the time. Let know if you have any tips.
Chris Cruz says
Success! Optiplex 3020 is now running NVME. Thank you so much for the tutorial and your research, you are the man!
Paul G. says
Thanks for this, I followed your instructions and am now writing this from my multi-boot W10/MXLinux/ISO boot etc….they all work!
My system is a Dell OptiPlex 9020 with a RIITOP M.2 NVMe SSD to PCI-e Adapter Card and Samsung 500 GB 970 EVO and I was able to convert my MBR SSD to GPT then I did a P2P of my SSD to the NVME SSD.
Took awhile as I tried to convert a VHDX to HDD (which worked before) on the NVME but that failed as I was trying to do it from a MBR USB Windows PE ISO but that started acting strangely after the UEFI upgrade to the BIOS and the programs gave errors. Also my W10 MBR USB start disk wouldn’t function even with the Legacy boot option enabled in the BIOS. Interestingly though the MBR USB had no problems with the Linux ISO’s…go figure, seems to affect only Windows systems…LOL
So now I can boot from MBR USB, GPT SATA SSD and GPT NVME. Just have to go into the BIOS and enable SATA or Legacy option and the boot order but they all work 🙂
I had bought the NVME a year ago for use as internal storage knowing that I couldn’t use it as a boot drive on this PC but ran across your link while doing a completely different search for something else and after reading it I decided to take the plunge, sure glad I did.
Thank you for doing the research and making this available.
I’m Having Dell Optiplix 3020 SFF, I tried above guide but I don’t find boot sequence after changing to UEFI and I’m unable to Add Boot Option under UEFI.
I have tried changing UEFI Secure Boot Off also. But no result.
I can find only PATA SS under Legacy.
Could anyone help me please.
Dennis R. says
Please Need Help!! Optiplex 7020 SFF
I followed all the steps and everything looks like everything went well. But when I go to the Bios and then go to Boot Sequence and select UEFI, I only see my USB drive listed. I don’t see my new SSD drive there. I know is there because in “System Information” under “General” I can see “Mass Storage” on SLOT2. Also when I boot my computer normally with the (HDD), I open File Explorer, and the SSD is listed there too.
So do I need to “Add Boot Option” when I select UEFI in Boot Sequence? If so, How do I do that?. When I click to Add Boot Option there are 3 entry boxes, Boot Option Name, File System List and File Name, don’t know what to do there.
I am trying to install Windows 10 2H22 and it tells me it can’t be installed because the drive may not be bootable.
I worked on computers before, installing software and some hardware. Not an expert, but this time I really don’t know what to do.
I will really appreciate any help, everyone.
The message from the Windows installer suggests you are booting in legacy/BIOS mode. You MUST boot to the windows installer from UEFI boot mode.
Then you should be good to go.
for UEFI boot Windows partition must be in UEFI mode:
YI TIANJUN says
Works like a charm. Thank you!
Paul good afternoon, please tell me, are you sure that the latest Bios version for dell 9020n is A25 ?I went to the official website and found the latest version of A19…Thanks for the reply.
Paul good afternoon, please tell me, are you sure that the latest Bios version for dell 9020m is A25 ?I went to the official website and found the latest version of A19…Thanks for the reply. Alex
I’ve just found your very promissing description about booting a 9020 from an NVMe SSD.
But I have a question, that starts even before:
I tried to get an NVMe running in my 9020 even without boot option and placed it in the black PCIe 4x slot, because the blue PCIe 16x slot is used for an dedicated GPU.
Up to now my system did not detect the SSD at all.
It might be, that I’ve a contact problem with the PCIe adapter card (the slot is very near to the edge of the housing and the big GPU makes it not easier to reach the slot).
So I’m interested whether I should see the SSD at all without changing the BIOS or which steps are needed in before (only to see and use the SSD as simple data storage).
Is it necessary to make some changes in BIOS for a co-existence of GPU (that might use in standard mode all 16 PCIe Lanes) and an additional SSD device?
I hope you might help me, because up to now I found no infomation about this.
dell optiplex 9020 M, please tell me how to switch to service mode? (What is the position of the jumper?)
Good day to all! Please tell Dell 9020M, who managed to connect nvme ssd? I did all the operations as in the instructions, Win 10 does not see the nvme ssd…bios A-19,NVME ssd is connected to the motherboard to the m2 port…Thank you in advance!
does your NVMe Express driver working with the Optiplex 9020 MidiTower-Bios ?
The driver is named xxxx_small (maybe especially for Small form factor) ?
Curious about this upgrade, but at east I know now why the 3020 BIOS detects the EVO SSD but can’t boot from it.
A friend of mine has a 3020 he may like to upgrade to use the EVO SSD. His system runs Linux, so some of the tools you reference in this guide won’t work and either install Windows (I wonder if Hirens or a Windows PE might be adequate – depends on those tools & what Widows versions they support) or find other tools to patch the BIOS.
The Intel tools to adding the NVMe driver to the BIOS image are the concern.
If I can find tools to read & write the BIOS flash memory I can copy the binary to a Windows box to do the modification.
There are dos based versions in the download zip that you can run from Freedos- they are exactly the same. So no problems there
Je l’ai essayé sur un Dell Precision T1700. Cela a parfaitement fonctionné sans appuyer sur aucun bouton lors du démarrage. Merci beaucoup
Wim van Schaijk says
I started the upgrade howerver now I’m stuck.
Upgraded BIOS, worked fine and restarted my PC (Optiplex 9020).
Installed the tool and downloaded the backup software.
Then I replaced the jumper from PW to Service Mode.
That’s where my problem started, the PC won’t start anymore even when returning te jumper to the PW pins. It beeps, the fan starts and stops and that’s it. Nothing more so basically my PC is useless at the moment. Any idea?
Wim van Schaijk says
Kept on going and used two pins, one for the PW option and one for the service.
I succeeded in rebooting, backing up/modyfying the BIOS.
I also suceeded in rebooting the PC again and working normally.\
Now waiting for a PCI card so I can place my NVMe on it and see if it works out.
sorry for claiming an error so fast.
Hello Polly! Have you nothing to say to my request? Or are you deliberately ignoring me?!
FYI – It worked on an Optiplex 3010.
Wim van Schaijk says
Seems I was happy to soon.
My PC is giving trouble with the modified PC, beeping – won’t start – giving me all kind of errors. This afternoon I returned to my original BIOS so I hope that’s the solution for my current problem.
Still wonder why I’ m having trouble with the modified BIOS?
Ryan Wan says
Hi Paulie, thank you for this wonderful post.
I have a 9020 Sata ssd Windows 10 installation with DVD drive currently and would like to do the mod to dual boot Linux from the nvme, is this possible?
Hi Paulie, I can’t get past the first cp commands. It says The system cannot find the path specified. I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, I’ve extracted to C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7. Thanks
Hi Paulie you can forget about the reply just before this!!! I got my system 9020 up and running SEQ read 3285MB/s and write 3047MB/s with a 970 evo plus I cant thank you enough!!!!!
Excellent write up.. I ran through the process and my USB boot and install worked but upon boot up it cannot find the drive. I must have messed something up. Will run through it again.
I’m trying to accomplish the same thing as this article described but without using any M$ Windows at all. Linux and Freedos are acceptable, and the UEFItools are available to provide the ability to insert SSD support into the BIOS.
One difficulty is the age of the Dell 3020, it is 2014 so does not (fully?) support the UEFI Capsule spec. The flashrom program produces errors, even with service mode jumper in place.
Reading the BIOS is the primary obstacle, assuming the edited BIOS image can be installed with the existing BIOS updater built into the A20 version.
Your tutorial excellent!
I’d like to upgrade an Optiplex 9020 MT with a WD SN770 2TB Nvme.
My knowledge about upgrades and computers is very basic. Could you kindly confirm if the 2TB Nvme will be recognized by the Optiplex 9020 motherboard?
Also, currently the 9020 has a 500GB SSD (2.5 INCH) where Windows 10 is installed, if the mainboard recognizes the 2TB Nvme will I be able to migrate the OS and the installed apps from the 2.5 inch SSD to the new 2TB Nvme? During migration does the OS along with all installed apps are copied or only the OS ? I may be asking dumb questions as I had never done migration. And last question to you, if migration is successful, and I change the boot up device from BIOS to load OS from Nvme drive, and once Windows loads will I be able to format the 2.5 inch SSD to use it as a back up for files?
Please give me your expert opinion on the above items. You’re our hero!
In my previous post, I forgot to mention that there is a low-profile GPU already installed in PCIe X16 slot (blue color) on my Optiplex 9020.
And now if I install the Nvme in the PCI Adapter and insert it to the existing PCI X16 slot (X4) (black color) in the motherboard, will it be usable or be recognized by the motherboard and BIOS? Please correct me if I’m wrong, with a little research I found that the black PCIe X16 slot (x4) is only wired to have 4 lanes and can take peripherals that go into the X4 slot. So, will it support input/outputs from an installed Nvme? If it does support I/O will it not bottle-neck the Nvme since it will only be using X4 lanes as opposed to X16 lanes. I cannot move the GPU from this X16 slot or can I? Will the GPU work in the PCIe X16 (x4) slot?
I’d be eagerly waiting to hear your expert opinion. Please reply at your convenience. You’re the man and the hero!
Alexander Amares says
Saludos, quiero comentarles, desde Venezuela que aplicando el procedimiento aquí indicado, pude utilizar un equipo Dell Optiplex 9020 para ser utilizado con Windows server 2019. (para tareas muy sencillas de poca demanda) y funciona perfectamente, gracias por esta publicación ..
Sherman McCoy says
I have a 9020 SFF with a i7-4790, 32 GB memory and a GT1030 video card. If the adapter card is compatible with Gen 4/2280, can a 1 TB or 2 TB Samsung 980 Pro or 990 Pro be used instead of a 970 EVO Plus?
You can use whatever nvme drive you like really.
Hi Paulie, I have dell 3020 and have fallowed everything and its success. But after cloning my drive and disabling sata it will not boot. I get blue screen. My old sata is GPT and bios is in UEFI. I have tried to do fresh install but windows does not see my nvme. If I boot to my old SSD its detected normally and can be accessed. Could it be adapter on NVME drive?
Sounds like the NVMe adapter possibly if the windows installer does not see the NVMe drive.
Michael West says
This is one of the better tutorial/write-ups out there. It was perfect. Thank you!
Dell Optiplex 7020. I installed Windows 10 onto the NVMe to confirm it could be booted from and it did.
I wanted to share my experience. I Imaged/Cloned my Windows Server 2019 Core from original SSD onto new NVMe setup. The cloning process worked, but I couldn’t boot Server Core from the NVMe. Modern BSOD. I started thinking Server 2019 couldn’t boot from NVMe like it can’t boot from SD card but that clearly was not the case.
I decided to load Core from scratch and Server Core did boot. I manually copied the .VHDX files over and re-created my VMs.
Hi, many thanks for great work, I modify 3pc 7010 but now after 2 month of normal work 1 of this pc can’t boot, they say “no boot disk”…. I try to put LEGACY mode and a normal SSD disk and it’s work. seems like can’t see UEFI disk…any Idea ?
thanks a lot
Zach da Beeguy says
Paulie, thanks for the wonderfully detailed instructions. It took me a while to find the right spot to insert the file (many layers of things to expand). But once that was done it was easier for the 2nd and 3rd one. I did 2 Dell 9020 and one Dell 7020. In all 3 I had to change SSD to ATA mode for the computer to see the sata drives, ahci did not show them. Also after bios change, I have to click the old booting drive (I installed to sata first to install the software and modify the bios, then installed the pci card and nvme drive) in UEFI, otherwise it wont boot either.
Many thanks again! Zach
Cary Abrell says
I came across this post back in late 2022 and it piqued my interest because our business still carries dozens of the Optiplex 3020 models and is hesitant to upgrade. We still may have to upgrade due to the Windows 11 requirement for TPM once W10 is EOL, but I have yet to conclude that definitively. However, there is a small issue here for which I would appreciate some advice if you happen to have any!
When I came back to this post earlier this week I saw that you added steps for 3020 which is swell! I went through the motions and voila, I can now boot from an NVMe drive I pulled from the 3080 to test.
However, the only strange thing is that whenever I boot, I first get a BIOS error that claims it cannot find a hard drive and I must press F1 to continue, F2 to change setup options etc. Yet if I do hit F1 it boots straight to W10. It’s faster than I’ve ever seen these machines in my life! I just wish I could skip this step, especially if an employee restarts their machine.
Thank you so much for providing these instructions, you might save us a lot of money in the near future! 🙂
You’d need to hit F2 during POST and get into the BIOS and disable/uncheck all the SATA drives not in use in the mainboard. Leave the DVD drive checked on and to be able to use it, select “Legacy Option for DVD-ROM Drive” in the BIOS. These are mentioned in detail in Paulie’s original blog-post. And I hope that will resolve the issue.
I had just upgraded an Optiplex 9020 MT in a similar way Paul had mentioned in his post and it worked like a charm without any issues.
Thanks to Mr. Paul Murana for his time, dedication, research and for his magnanimous nature for sharing all these info in his knowledgebase article above.
Thanks for making this. I’m running a dell 9020mt and have it in the 4th slot. I have made it to the set up in bios, it shows the mass storage. The problem I’m having is I can’t get it to boot for the new drive. I have turned off the other drive. Them I get the no hard drive detected.
If the BIOS shows the “mass storage” then you’ve successfully done the part of installing the Nvme which will be detected by Windows once booted up from the old drive. Use MS disk management to create a “New simple volume” to see the Nvme in Windows. Did you install or migrate or clone the OS into the new Nvme? It is simple to do with a lot of free utilities like free versions of Minitool Partition Wizard 10, Macrium Reflect Free or Acronis. Enable both the Nvme and the old drive (whether HDD or SSD) in BIOS. Ensure your old drive is converted to GPT to be compatible in UEFI and you can do this by using various tools including the built-in tool in Windows MBR2GPT.exe in command prompt with administrator privileges. Please look up Microsoft article to know how to use it though. And then you can successfully clone or migrate the OS or install Windows using a bootable USB drive. Once OS is installed into the new Nvme, go into the BIOS and select UEFI hard-drive as the first choice in BIOS to allow Windows to boot from the Nvme. When you boot into Windows from the Nvme use the Minitool or whichever utility you had used to clone earlier to “Delete all partitions” in the old SSD or HDD if you want to keep it in the Dell computer as a backup or if you do not need the data anymore in it, as it will delete everything from the old drive (if you had cloned it, you have everything in the new Nvme). Use microsoft disk managment to create a “New Simple Volume” on your old drive to be able to allocate the disk and use it as a backup.
Hope the above helps!
Thanks for the post and detailed instructions. I was able to successfully do this on a Dell Precision T5600 Tower Desktop. Only difference is I had to use Version8 of the Intel ME Tools, otherwise I would get an error “Error 201: [FPTw64.exe] cannot be run on the current platform.”.
Direct link to ME version I used.
I cloned it with Macrium from the SSD. Everything was already in GPT. For now I’m just going to run the NVME as d:drive and install games on that. Everything boots very fast with the SSD over the old HDD. This was my first build because my son wanted a “gaming computer” for fortnite. All in all it was fun for him and we are only into it for about $350. We found a dell 9020 with an i7 4790 and stuck a 1660 super in it. Compared to the laptop that would not run anything more than roblox, we are happy. Even tho I couldn’t get this to work as a boot drive. We don’t see any lagging so I’m not even sure if it would have made a difference.
Thanks again for reaching out.
Thank you very much for your free consultancy. I had successfully completed all the above steps and I can view the SSD from the bios in my PCIE slot. However how can I install the OS in a brand new nvme ssd. Currently my PC only got a Kingston 1 TD nvme empty SSD & a conventional data HD. Although I got a Windows 7 setup disk, I can only boot the system up by using legacy. when I trying to install the Windows 7 by using the CD, the installation program can only show the data HD instead of the NVME SSD. In this case, should I clone the OS from another workstation or there are some other ways to install the OS in a brandnew SSD. I did try to set the BIOS using UEFI to boot up, yet there is no priority to set the CDrom as booting device for installing a new OS. BTW, as I do not have a product key for Win 10, I need to install Win 7 first and then upgrade to Win 10 for actual usage. Thanks for your further advice.
Michael West says
I think by using LEGACY and CD-ROM, you’re working against yourself. You need to bring things up to this new ERA. Make a Windows 10 bootable USB with 22H2 ISO on it. Flip your BIOS to UEFI. Install onto the NVMe and use your current Windows 7 product key. I bet you it will work. If I’m wrong, you’ve only wasted 15 minutes.
Michael is right. Install windows 10, don’t bother with 7. Do it in UEFI mode and you should be all good.
Should I need to format the ssd to gpt format before installing the os.
Windows 10 setup will do that automatically for you during setup when you select the disk to install on to.
Big thanks to Paul & Michael, Eventually mission completed. I had successfully installed Win 10 in my Kingston SSD & my workstation can now boot up with UEFI mode. It is real fast. Previously I had tried several time to install Win 10 without success probably is due to my cloning of OS from my previous HD (of MBR format) to the new SSD. In case the installation media reject to write to the SSD. Thanks to all.
Wanted to add another success report. Followed this tutorial last night on an Optiplex 9020. Instructions were perfect, screen shots/pictures matched exactly what I ran into. And upon first boot following the BIOS update I was able to boot from a PCIe attached NVME card.
Thanks very much Paul, great job explaining the ‘hack’.
Love hearing that it’s worked for so many people! Be cool if you could leave the same comment on the YouTube video as I deleted my other channel and put it on my main one recently.
Thanks for sharing these tutorials – I used your HP Compaq guide which worked successfully on my 4300 SFF with an AHCI M.2 SSD and the SAMSUNG_M2_DXE driver, however following this guide I can’t get the same working on my Optiplex 3020. I see you’ve tested successfully with a 3020 (albeit with the NVMe driver) so wondered what I may be doing wrong? Strange it’s working for me on one system, but not the other.
Thank you very much Paul. Followed all the steps, all worked on my Optiplex 9020. My computer is now comically fast. Thanks a lot!
On my Optiplex 3020, I followed the steps with your youtube video,
i get this reply for the second cmd comand:
C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64>fptw64.exe -d backup.bin
This version of C:\Intel ME System Tools v9.1 r7\Flash Programming Tool\WIN64\fptw64.exe is not compatible with the version of Windows you’re running. Check your computer’s system information and then contact the software publisher.
Do you have a 32-Bit Windows installed? If so you will need to use the tools in the WIN32 folder
i fill dumb
indeed it was a 32 bit probably will upgrade to 64 and try again
i can’t seem to find a driver for the pci adapter
It doesn’t need a driver – just continue with the procedure. Then install windows 10 on the nvme.
Hi Mr. Paul,
The method is great and clear !!!!
Anyway i got a problem aout inserting the driver, surely because i don’t know very well haow to use the the UEFITOOLS, i can’t see the area to put the nmve driver ! when i extract the file bacup.bin, i saw the existance of the line, but can’t see it with the UEFItools. Is it possible to send you me bacup file and the nvme file so that you can compare and help me doing it please
It is not possible as each backup is unique to each machine. If the instructions do not match your system I would suggest that you do not proceed.
i want to use it as a storage disk
but my pc or bios doesn’t see the disk
To use NVMe as a storage device only you don’t need anything. Windows 10 upwards supports it natively.
the bios recognize my pci adapter but not the disks
Thanks so much for this guide! Just completed it on my Optiplex 7020 & it worked great! Now getting Crystal Disk Mark read/write speeds of 2900/3000MB/s out of a Crucial 1TB NVME drive located in my blue X16 PCIE slot. I used this adapter( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B087WRP6BQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1 )that I got for only $7. Before I was only getting 540MB/s from a regular SATA SSD of the same brand.
This was WELL worth the time to do. How did you figure all of this out?
Many thanks for this tutorial! Worked great for Dell 9020.
Great news – well done
Hello everybody, finally, i succed on booting from my samsung 970 evo plus and it’s Great !!
Here were my errors :
– i was using a nvme corsail and the driver is for samsung
– on my A20 bios, i have the 2 lines for the OptiPlex 3020
Nota Bene, if there is no normal hard drive on sata port, i have the message hard drive missing, click on F1 to continue, and it’s work !!! Many thanks
This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. Thanks so much! I have upgraded several Dell Optiplex computers using these instructions!
It is amazing what new life these computers have after doing this upgrade.
Dan Lewis says
This morning I successfully added the NVMe driver to the BIOS of a Dell Precision T3600. This afternoon I tried doing the same thing to a Dell Precision T3610. I was using the same hard drive that I had used for the T3600 and accidentally installed the nvme.bin file for the T3600 instead of the one I created for the T3610. Now my system won’t boot – doesn’t do anything – not even showing the Dell logo. Do you know if there’s anything I can do at this point, or is this motherboard now simplay a brick? 🙁
Thanks in advance!
If you took a backup of the bios you can use a CH341A programmer – see this post:
Dan Lewis says
I do have a backup, but the T3610 motherboard has two BIOS chips – one with 8 pins and another with 16. Do I need to flash both? How do I split my one backup file into two parts, one for each chip?
The 16-Pin ones are more awkward as you need another adapter.
I would think that probably the 8-pin one contains the entire bios – but I could be wrong. I’ve never seen a 16 pin one on a Dell desktop. Some of the PowerEdge servers have 16 pin.
Dan Lewis says
The backup file I saved with the Intel ME Tools is only 12 MB, but I’ve read that the BIOS on the T3610 consists of two parts – one of 12 MB and another of 4MB, each stored in a different chip. I would have thought that the larger one would have been in the 16 pin chip, while the smaller would be in the 8 pin chip, but maybe that’s not corrrect.
I saw in one of the videos you referenced that the BIOS file read by the CH341A was 16 MB. Does it make sense that the backup would only be 12 MB?
Dan Lewis says
‘Sorry – I was wrong: There are two BIOS chips, but they are 4MB and 8MB, not 4 and 12. Thus the 12MB backup file corresponds to the sum of the capacities of the two chips.
Dan Lewis says
‘Sorry – I was wrong: There are two BIOS chips, but they are 4MB and 8MB, not 4 and 12. Thus the 12MB backup file corresponds to the sum of the capacities of the two chips. So it seems I will need to split the 12MB backup into two parts and flash each chip seperately. ‘Not sure how to do that with the 16-pin BIOS #2 chip.
THANKS PAULIE! This is a greeting from Chinese netizens! I spent about $15 on the shopping site to buy a P-106-100 6G graphics card (mining Bitcoin special card, the performance is about 10% lower than the 1060 6G), for him I bought a set of Dell OptiPlex 7020 host (because this graphics card can support more than four generations of integrated graphics motherboards), in order to make this motherboard support NVME, I searched almost all BIOS websites in the country, none. Finally saw the light in your place! I followed the steps you wrote to successfully use NVME hard drive, thanks again!
Dan Lewis says
Hi Paul. ‘Sorry to bother you again, but does it matter which ID the NVMe driver is inserted after, as long as it’s followed by a Freeform entry? I ask because you listed the ID’s to use for two Dell Optiplex machines, but mine is a Precision T3610 so the IDs are different.
I think it would be fine. Other people in the comments have done it to a T3610. I would put after the final dxe driver
Peter Muss says
Dell Precision T3610 works brilliant, too!
I used the Intel ME System Tools v8 r3 release to read/write the BIOS.
All other steps are identically to OptiPlex 9020 machines!
If we make one BIOS for a 3020, can it be used on other Dell 3020 machines (not utilizing built in product keys, using KMS servers).
If you were careful about what regions you replaced then yes. But if not they would all end up with the same MAC Addresses and serial numbers.
i have opliplex xe2 can i use same method ?
i have updated dell bios to A26 still not able to boot from Nvme drive (installed via adapter). i can see drive as storage but not able to boot from this.
Also while doing installation, getting error ” computer’s hardware may not support booting to this disk”
please advice thank you in advance
I wanted to do the same thing for dell 3050
So I tried with a newer version of ME Tools but it gives me this error :
rror 318: The host CPU does not have read access to the target flash area. To enable read access for this operation you must modify the descriptor settings to give host access to this region.
FPT Operation Failed.
Nvme is not seen in Windows 10 Installer as a drive but when installed on an SSD I can see my NVme o nwindows.
Ay idea ? Please
I would have thought a 3050 with the latest BIOS would already have NVMe support. I can’t help as I don’t have one to try it out.
Paulie, big thanks for your detailed instruction! I’ve used the description as a reference for Dell XPS 8700 miditower (late 2015, Z97 chipset) – success! It boots from NVME!
The only small differences
a. “Intel Management Engine Components” are not needed
b. File GUID to insert NVME driver after: 0A602C5B-05A0-40C4-9181-EDCD891D0002
Jeff Schult says
Thanks so much for this. I have a Dell Optiplex 3020 now booting from an NVME.
I wasted the better part of a day trying to convert the old boot drive from MBR to GPT so I could UEFI boot and not have to reload everything. Once I gave up on that and installed the OS from scratch, everything was good. Great tutorial.