Thanks M8 this works!!!!
Following steps worked for me to clean install Windows 10 on Samsung Pro 950 NVMe SSD on Alienware 17 R3.
Critical step was step 4 to ensure you have the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST) RAID Driver files handy or your nvme drive might not be recognized by windows installation.
1. Install latest BIOS from Dell/Alienware Support website
2. Install Samsung 950 PRO (NVMe) drive in the laptop in the Slot #1 labeled “NGFF SSD1”.
3. Create Windows Installation USB using Microsoft Media Creation tool. Find with google or use this Microsoft Canada link to download: https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software-download/windows10
4. To get Windows to recognize your Samsung 950 PRO SSD during installation you must have the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (Intel RST) RAID Driver files during installation. Here is the link to download the latest RST driver: https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25165/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-RAID-Driver
4a) Use above link to download f6flpy-x64.zip folder which contains 5-6 small files.
4b) Unzip the folder. Make sure one of the files in the folder is ‘iaStorAC.ing’. Save the unzipped folder on a separate USB (not the USB with Windows 10 OS). You’ll need it during installation.
5. Check BIOS Settings. Turn Laptop ON while pressing the F2 key repeatedly to get to BIOS Setup:
6. Now you’re almost ready to install windows on the 950 pro.
- Make sure you’ve backed up any personal files from the original drive before continuing. I recommend unplugging the original 1TB HDD before starting installaion.
7. Plug in the Windows OS USB created in Step 3, and Intel RST usb created in Step 4. Turn laptop ON while continuously pressing F12 key for Boot Options.
8. In Boot Options, under UEFI Options you should see both of your USBs listed (or atleast the USB with Windows OS). Select the USB with Windows OS and press Enter to start installation process
9. When the installation process asks you to select where to install Windows 10, Samsung 950 Pro SSD partitions will likely not be listed. If you disconnected original 1TB HDD then you won’t see any drives available to install windows. To make the Samsung 950 PRO show up, you’ll need to select the option to INSTALL DRIVER, and then Browse to the USB with Intel RST driver files (created in Step 4) and select the folder with the driver files.
10. Note: once I completed step 9, my windows installation went fine for a few minutes and then failed with some ‘unable to read drive’ warning. So I shut-down the laptop and repeated the process from Step 7. The second time everything worked and windows 10 installed on 950 Pro successively.
11. Following the installation, a couple of Windows Updates installed most of missing Drivers. You'd still need to re-install Dell/Alienware software and wipe out the original 1TB HDD to set it up as my storage drive.