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Samsung Consumer Drivers OEM Friendly

Last Friday, a couple of Lenovo loaner laptops showed up at my office. Both include 8th Generation (formerly, Coffee Lake) CPUs and Samsung OEM NVMe SSDs. As I was perusing the TenForums threads yesterday, I noticed a new version of the Samsung NVMe drivers. But my drive’s model number is MZVLB1T0HALR. It doesn’t appear in the list of supported drives on the Samsung site, either (see screencap below). That raised this very interesting question: are Samsung consumer drivers OEM friendly? I decided to find out.

Lots of familiar product names here, but they’re all consumer/retail products. Will they work for my OEM products, too?
[Click image for full-sized view; Source.]

The drives named on the preceding snip from the Samsung SSD downloads page are NVMe 970 Pro, 970 EVO, 970 EVO Plus, 960 Pro, 960 EVO and 950 Pro. My OEM NMVe SSDs are best described as “recent vintage, but none of the preceding.” This adds a certain air of mystery, or perhaps confusion, to finding out if they’ll work on those new Lenovo laptops I’ve recently been loaned.

Finding Out if Samsung Consumer Drivers OEM Friendly

Given that on both machines, I was monkeying with device drivers for their boot/system disks, I decided to take some precautions. Fortunately they turned out to be unnecessary. But here’s what I did to prepare for possible trouble, up to and including a non-bootable system:

1. I made an image backup on an external USB drive using Macrium Reflect (MR).
2. I used MR to create “Rescue Media” for each PC (a standalone bootable WinPE runtime that can read and restore MR backups).
3. I made sure I could boot to the Rescue Media on each machine, and was able to “see” the image backup device in its MR runtime.
3. I installed the new driver on my first loaner (X1 Carbon Extreme), crossed my fingers, and rebooted.

If the machine had failed to boot, I would have resorted to the Rescue Media and used it to put things back the way they were before I started messing with them. Fortunately for me (and for others who may have laptops with newish Samsung OEM drives) it worked like a champ. Here’s what I see in DevMgr on the X380 (the X1 Carbon has two NVMe drives, so it has two driver entries instead of just one as shown here):

I was mighty relieved when the X1 Carbon rebooted successfully.

Alas because there are so many (and poorly documented) Samsung NVMe SSDs out there, you can’t know if this driver will work for you unless you try. And if you do, you’d better take precautions beforehand, just like I did. That way, if you get bitten, you will still be able to restore your PC to working condition. Note also, the 950 Pro released in September 2015 (equivalent OEM model SM951). I wouldn’t try installing this driver on anything older than that, either, if I were you. ‘Nuff said!

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