This post is related to this long and hardware related blog post that I wrote on how to install a PCI2 M.2 SSD drive and a SATA SSD drive in a Surface Studio:
In that blog post I initially installed Windows 10 on the SATA SSD drive which is the one that by default Windows 10 has visibility about before installing Windows 10 with the RST_AHCI drivers for the PCIe M.2 SSD.
However, after chatting with Mike (The Office Maven), it is clear that it is much better to install Windows 10 on the PCIe H.2 NVMe SSD drive because it is much faster than the SATA 2.5 SSD drive.
That is possible while installing a plain Windows 10 (from a bootable Windows 10 USB flash drive) and right before selecting the disk/partition you want to install Windows into, you can load the specific drivers for the M.2 drive (Intel Chipset RAID Controller).
So, this is the procedure.
A. Download the Surface Studio drivers and locate the RST_AHCI drivers for the PCIe M.2 SSD
A.1. Download the drivers from here:
Notice that you’ll get a single .MSI setup file named SurfaceStudio_Win10_1701006_0.msi. But you need to have just the plain driver files for the M.2 SSD drive.
So, you need to extract those files from the .MSI file.
A.2. Extract the files from the SurfaceStudio_Win10_1701006_0.msi file
To extract the individual driver files from the MSI file, you can use the following msiexec command (where C:\SurfaceStudioDrivers is the destination folder for the extracted files):
msiexec /a SurfaceStudio_Win10_1701006_0.msi targetdir=C:\SurfaceStudioDrivers /qn
Note: When extracting driver files from the MSI, the destination folder (targetdir) must be different than the folder containing the MSI file.
Once the files have been successfully extracted, you can find driver and firmware files under the folder SurfacePlatformInstaller, found in the destination folder. For example, using this command, you would find the Surface Studio driver files in the following folder:
You can copy this whole folder to your USB Flash drive from where you will install Windows 10 (any regular bootable USB Flash drive created from a Windows 10 .ISO image).
However, the folder that you’ll need later on is the folder named RST_AHCI: which are the drivers of the “Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller”
A.3 About creating the “generic” Windows 10 x64 UEFI bootable USB drive, you can create it from a Windows .ISO image from your legal source, like MSDN Subscriptions or any other, and with tools like Rufus.
Now that you have the drivers copied into your “generic” bootable Windows 10 setup USB Flash drive, let’s move on to the next step.
B. Install Windows 10 from your USB bootable flash drive
B.1 Plug the UEFI bootable Windows 10 setup USB drive into any of the USB slots of your Surface Studio
B.2. Hold-down the volume-down key and while holding, press and release the power button of the Surface Studio. Doing that way, it should boot from the USB drive like in the the following screenshots.
B.3 Select the “Custom Installation”
B.5 IMPORTANT – Do not install on the presented drive, as that one is the SATA (2 TB SSD in my case)
C. Load the RST_AHCI “Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller” drivers while installing Windows 10
C.1 You want to load the RST_AHCI “Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controller” drivers, so press the link “Load Driver” and search for the RST_AHCI folder in your USB drive, like in the following screens:
C.2 Once you select the RST_AHCI folder and press the OK button, you’ll see the controllers description:
Select the Intel Chipset SATA RAID Controllers and press the NEXT button.
C.3 No you can select the PCIe M.2 MNVe SSD drive!! – In my case, the 1TB SAMSUNG 960 PRO:
C.4 Continue/finish the Windows 10 installation:
D. Install the Surface Studio drivers downloaded from Microsoft’s site
D.1. You finally want to install all the Surface Studio drivers as a plain Windows 10 installation might be missing some of the Surface Studio drivers.
You probably already downloaded from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=54311
But now, just execute the whole setup like here:
Finish the drivers installation and chech that everything is good to go, like below!
You also have the possibility of re-installing the Surface Studio with the Surface Studio Windows 10 image and recovery drive that I explained in my other blog post, because now the machine is aware of the M.2 drive. However, it is basically the same, a clean Windows 10 with the Surface Studio drivers, so that extra step is up to you.