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HP Z820 with Windows booting from NVME

HP Recommended
HP Z820
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

I recently purchased a HP Z820 Workstation. Inside it already had a Samsung Evo 840 which Windows was booting from.


Other storage media:


  1. HGST Ultrastar 2TB - HUS724020AL
  2. WD Purple 2TB - WD20PURZ-85G
  3. 2x Seagate Cheetah 600GB 3.5" SAS, 3.5", 600 GB, 15000 RPM

CPU: 2x Intel XEON E5-2630 v2 


Videocard: Nvidia Quadro K4000


I wanted to install an NVME SSD and have Windows boot from it. However the HP Zx20 series does not have native NVME support nor a socket you can simply plug the NVME into. The BIOS also doesn’t see the NVME drive even though it’s sitting on a PCI-e adapter.


The NVME I purchased is a Samsung 970 Pro 512GB

The PCI-e adapter I purchased is a Delock PCI Express X4 card


PCIE with 970 Pro.jpg

 Here’s my Samsung 970 sitting on the DeLock adapter in the top most PCI-e slot.


So a workaround was needed. I searched the internet for a solution and did find one on the HP Forums however it didn’t work for me.


Thanks to HP forum member DGroves I managed to get my HP Z820 booting Windows 10 on the Samsung 970 Pro! All credits to you sir! Again, many many thanks for your perseverance and patience with me, I really appreciate it!


Here’s a How To with all the steps I took to make it work:


  1. Set BIOS to "factory" defaults
  2. In BIOS disable Intel "AMT"
  3. In BIOS disable boot from network 
  4. if not booting from the on-board LSI SAS/SATA controller, disable the LSI controller boot rom (do not disable the LSI controller unless you are using an add in Raid card)
  5. In BIOS disable the boot from network card option
  6. Check BIOS boot order section, and make the USB Hard Disk device the top most entry (you can leave the Legacy section as is). Also make sure the Select Boot device Option is enabled (F9 key).
  7. Reboot
  8. download DUET (UDK2019) with REFIND included, and unzip the files to a desired location


Directions For the z820



Booting the NVME drive from a older-UEFI capable board that lacks the NVME boot code (like the z820) using REFIND mass-storage without DUET




Refind USBSetup:

  1. Connect a USB stick (2gb or less) and go to the UDK2019 folder and start the "USBSetup" application
  2. Select your 2gb USB stick letter from the drop-down combo box. Warning: The following step will completely remove all information and partitions on the selected USB stick.
  3. Remove all information and partitions from the USB stick by clicking on: CLEAN
  4. Optional, format the selected USB stick by clicking on: FORMAT
  5. Copy the graphical boot manager REFIND onto the USB stick by clicking on: REFIND
  6. Once done remove the Refind USB stick.
  7. Create a GPT version of Windows 10 x64 installer using a USB stick by either downloading it from the MS website or use the program Rufus to create the USB stick from a Win 10 ISO Image (a 16GB or larger USB stick is required for this). I used this one
  8. Insert the Win 10 installer USB stick into the target system's USB 2.0 port and make sure the Boot from USB option in your system BIOS is configured as the first bootable UEFI device. For the Z820 this will be the top part of the UEFI bios settings. You want the USB Hard Drive Option to be the topmost entry. Do not change any settings in the lower "Legacy Bios" settings, leave as is.
  9. Reboot, the system should boot from the USB stick and begin the windows setup follow the prompts and if offered, select "Custom Installation" and remove/delete any existing partitions
  10. Choose your newly installed NVME SSD then click "NEXT"
  11. Let it continue, and when it reboots and comes back to the beginning Windows 10 install screen.
  13. Once the USB sticks are swapped, click on the red "X" of the Windows setup box and Windows will ask if you want to cancel the win 10 install (click YES) and the system should reboot.
  14. Windows will now load the REFIND nvme/boot manager from the USB stick and then continue the final part of the Windows setup.


When Windows setup finishes, you can optionally power off and move the REFIND USB stick inside the Z820 by using a 4 pin to USB adapter to connect the USB stick to the motherboards internal usb header. If you go this route, I strongly recommend you use a USB stick that has a plastic (not metal) shell to prevent possible motherboard shorts if the usb key comes loose or moves around.


internal USB.jpg

Here’s the REFUND USB stick connected to the internal USB header.


Last, you can hide the REFIND USB key from the windows OS by using "Disk Management" and remove the USB stick drive letter.


A side note, as ebay is currently flooded with the  enterprise SM953 SSD please note that this SSD is not compatible with the samsung retail 3.x driver. If installed on a pm953 the system will not boot. 
If you want to use a samsung driver for the pm953 you need the enterprise driver v1.4 this driver was part of the HP moonshot driver package just remember to not overwrite it with the retail 3.1 drivers and you will be fine. See for details.

Here are the results of a benchmark test:


Samsung 970 Benchmark.jpg

Samsung 970 Pro NVME Benchmark


Hopefully this HOW TO is helpful in order to get your HP Z820 booting from an NVME SSD.

Here is the same text at a different link.


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