So I managed to resolve the issue with the hints from nice people on this forum and elsewhere.
A bit more background on the question:
- I am running Windows 7 Pro edition
- The adaptor in question is: x4 PCI Express to M.2 PCIe SSD Adapter | HDD Adapters | StarTech.com Australia
- The SSD in question is: Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO | Samsung V-NAND SSD | Samsung Semiconductor Global Website
I managed to get Windows Disk Management to see the drive by doing the below steps. Some of them might be not required to achieve the result. This is simply what I did, and (maybe) not the ideal solution.
1. Install the latest BIOS upgrade from here: Downloads for Intel® Desktop Board DH67BL
2. Install Samsung NVMe driver from here: Samsung NVMe SSD 960 EVO | Samsung V-NAND SSD | Samsung Semiconductor Global Website (tbh, I don't know how much this one helped, I suggest you do your own research first)
3. Install a hotfix for Windows 7 to make it friendly towards NVMe: http://hotfixv4.microsoft.com/Windows%207/Windows%20Server2008%20R2%20SP1/sp2/Fix487764/7600/free/477475_intl_x64_zip.ex…
And voila! After the Disk Management recognised 'an unformatted drive', it was the matter of a few right clicks to format and start using it.
Special thanks go to Al_Hill from this forum and Stephen from the Startech live chat support for pointing me in the right direction. Also my parents and that girl from the donut shop for inspiring me to live and create..
NB: I have not tried to boot from this drive. I've read that it wasn't possible, but then, those things you read in the internets...
Booting from a NVMe drive requires special support in the BIOS. Unfortunately, because of their age and the route that they took to End-of-Life status, no Intel Desktop Boards have a BIOS that includes NVMe boot support.
Now, PCIe adapters can include a Boot ROM that adds support to the BIOS for booting from some unknown device type. Thus, in theory, it is possible that a PCIe-to-M.2 adapter could include a Boot ROM that adds support to the BIOS for booting from M.2 NVMe drives. I am unaware of any such adapter existing today - but there is always the chance that I just haven't come across them...
Hope this helps,