VMD, or Volume Management Device, is a server-ish bit of technology where your processor more or less “hijacks” the management of NVMe disk drives in your puter.
When VMD is enabled, you MUST use Intel’s RST drivers – even just to do a clean install of Windows 11.
Well, what happens if you got your puter and it’s using VMD, but you want to remove it?
If you’re like me…
I was an early adopter of Intel’s 12th-gen processors. I got my shiny new motherboard, fired everything up, and I enabled Intel VMD because… well, why not?
I couldn’t find much about it, and it looked harmless enough.
Then, a few months later while building some new PCs, I wrote this article:
Much to my dismay, I noted that on my own puter, VMD was enabled! EEK!
Wait, why do I care?!
Well, first of all, if you have a Samsung NVMe M.2 drive, sometimes you won’t be able to use Samsung Magician to update your drive’s firmware.
But more importantly, there is this idea floating around that using VMD makes your drive faster. That’s simply not true in my case.
In fact, with my Samsung 980 Pro, the drive is just as fast as before. What’s more, the time spent watching the “spinny loader” as Windows fires up went from 6 seconds with VMD to 3 seconds without VMD!
In other words, my Windows startup actually became 2X faster simply by disabling VMD!!!
How to turn off VMD
It’s pretty straightforward.
First, create a System Restore point just to be safe in case anything goes wrong. To do that:
- Click the Start button
- Type: system restore
- Click: Create a restore point
When that’s done, carry on.
Next you’re going to remove the Intel VMD devices listed in Device Manager. You are NOT going to delete the drivers! If something goes wrong, you’ll need to revert your BIOS/UEFI back to VMD, so you may need them.
So, first, click Start and type: Device Manager
Open Device Manager, and scroll down to find Storage controllers:
For each VMD entry, you must:
- Right-click it and choose Uninstall device
- In the popup window, make sure Attempt to remove drivers… is NOT checked!
- Click Uninstall button
It will tell you to reboot, but DO NOT REBOOT yet!
Now the fun part: Enable Safe Mode
- Click Start
- Type: startup options
- Click: Change advanced startup options
- Under Advanced Startup, click the Restart now button
Your puter will reboot.
At this point, you need to go into your BIOS/UEFI and disable VMD.
How exactly to get into the BIOS depends on your motherboard, but usually (before Windows boots) you tap either the Del or the F2 key.
Then, once in the UEFI config, you’ll need to find and turn off VMD. That also depends on the motherboard maker, but the following is how to find the setting on most Asus motherboards from the Advanced menu:
Once the puter boots, you’ll see the Choose an option screen:
Your computer will reboot AGAIN, and this time you’ll see this screen:
Windows will – finally – boot into Safe Mode!
Once you’ve safely booted up, just restart the puter again. Windows should boot normally.
If you look in Device Manager again, you should see:
So, yeah… Do yourself a favor and turn off VMD. And then the next time you upgrade your boot drive or move it to a new system, you won’t have any “drive not found” errors to deal with.
And if you need a fast NVMe drive, check out the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB on Amazon (affiliate links):