I bought an used Lenovo W510 laptop which had an Samsung MMCRE28G5MXP-0VBH1 SSD installed. After some time it got slower and slower when I created, copied or extracted files. After reading some forum entries I came to the conclusion that the missing TRIM feature was the problem - and that Lenovo doesn’t provide a firmware update even if the drive is able to TRIM. Luckily, some guys already found a way to update the drive with the original Samsung firmware.
WARNING: This procedure can brick your SSD - use it at your own risk! Don’t use it if you are not an expert or if you have any doubts about the process.
The first entry when googling for lenovo samsung ssd trim leads to the Lenovo forum. There you can find many successful update reports but all of the download links aren’t working anymore.
After some research I finally found the Mount Sutro Blog. David July had the same issue and also his download links didn’t work but in his comments he posted some links to self-hosted files that worked.
WARNING: The SSD will be blank afterwards so don’t forget to make a backup of all your data. Even the installed operating systems will be deleted!
So here are the preparation steps that worked for me:
- Download a FreeDOS USB image from chtaube.eu and put it on an USB stick.
- Disconnect and reconnect the USB stick to your PC so it will open a file manager where you can browse its filesystem.
- Extract the VBM19C1Q firmware files from Mount Sutro to the USB stick.
- Find a PC or notebook that has no problem when pulling and plugging an SSD at runtime - in my case, the Lenovo W510 had no problem with this but the tool didn’t detect the harddisk after reconnecting it. So I tried the Lenovo T400 which worked like a charm and was even easier, because the HDD/SSD slot was on the side so I didn’t have to turn the notebook each time the procedure required it.
- So now we have a USB stick with FreeDOS and a device which supports SSD hotplugging. To make the SSD get recognized by the maindiag.exe tool, the BIOS needs to show it in compatible mode instead of AHCI.
The following steps worked for me on the Lenovo T400:
- Remove all HDDs/SSDs from the notebook.
- Insert and boot from the USB stick.
- On the boot manager select to boot FreeDOS without any drivers.
- After FreeDOS is up start maindiag.
- Connect the SSD to the drive slot.
- Select the option “2. initial firmware” (or similar, but not main firmware) from the menu. The drive should now be recognized and flashed by the tool.
- In a perfect world you’ll now be able to flash the main firmware (should be 1. in menu) but this didn’t work for me. So I unplugged the SSD, waited some seconds (15) and replugged it. After this procedure I could successfully flash the main firmware.
- To check if the update was successful, shutdown the notebook and boot FreeDOS again without drivers. Start maindiag and check the SSD version number which should now be VBM19C1Q
- Shutdown the notebook, bring it back to it’s original state and set the SSD in BIOS back from compatible to AHCI.
Now you’ll have to reinstall everything that was on the SSD before the firmware update. To really start with a clean SSD Lenovo provides a BIOS update for the Lenovo W510 called BIOS Setup Menu Extension Utility. With this enabled you can choose to clean the SSD in the BIOS menu. After this reinstall all Operating Systems and tools like fstrim in Linux should work as expected.