By AOMEI / Last Updated July 16, 2019

“Need to move OS to M.2 SSD”

"I have been used my old hard drive as Windows drive for several years. Working well all the time. But now with more applications, and programs installed on the HDD, the computer’s running and responding speed are greatly decreased. Quite Annoying! So I am planning to buy a M.2 SSD, and migrate OS to the new M.2 SSD to improve the performance. Would it better to use a migration tool or clean install? Would I have to reinstall all the programs I installed on the system drive before, or is there any way to move them as well?"

Reasons for having an M.2 SSD as the OS drive

Previously, SSDs relied on the mSATA for the smallest form factor, but mSATA was unable to be scaled up to 1TB capacities at a reasonable cost. However, M.2 allows an SSD to connect directly to the PCI-E bus rather than going through an SATA controller. By bypassing the SATA controller, an M.2 SSD is only limited by the speed of the drive itself and the generation/number of PCI-E lanes it used. For example, by using four PCI-E 2.0 lanes, an M.2 drive can theoretically reach a maximum throughput as high as 2GB/s. To put this into perspective, that is over three times faster than the SATA III limitation of 600MB/s. Thereby, many Windows users would like to clone HDD to M.2 SSD for better performance.

Clone the entire hard drive is definitely a way to migrate OS to M.2 SSD. This works well when the M.2 SSD is larger than the source HDD. However, what if the M.2 SSD only has the space to contain operating system? Or, what would you do if you want to use SSD for OS and HDD for storage? Transferring only system drive will help you a lot.

How to transfer Windows partition to M.2 SSD?

Before OS migration, one more thing you should notice is that M.2 SSDs commonly used in PC are 22mm wide but with a variety of lengths. For example, 22mm wide x30mm long, 22mm x 42mm, 22mm x 60mm, 22mm x 80mm and 22mm x 110mm. The cards will be called after their dimensions above: The first 2 digits define Width (all 22mm) and the remaining digits define Length from 30mm up to 110mm long. So, the M.2 SSDs are specified as 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110. Besides, there are two types of sockets for M.2: one with a "B key" and one with an "M key". Therefore, you should make a careful selection when you decide to buy an M.2 SSD.

Then, we’d like to introduce a professional software to help you migrate OS to M.2 SSD - AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It can migrate Windows partition where you install OS and other customized programs. So you can move them all together instead of reinstallation. It supports all Windows Editions including Windows 7\8\8.1\10\XP\Vista of both 32it and 64bit.

Steps to migrate OS to your SSD

Step1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click “Migrate OS to SSD” on left navigation bar.

Migrate OS to SSD

Step2. In the pop-up window, click “Next” to continue.

Introduce Next

Step 3. Choose your M.2 SSD (here is disk2) as destination and then click "Next". If there is no unallocated space on the target disk, check "I want to delte all partitions on the disk 2 to migrate system to the disk" (all data on the target disk will be erased) and then clcik Next.

Select Space on SSD

Step 4. You can move the bar to resize the new OS partition on M.2 SSD and then click "Next". (The OS partition on M.2 SSD will be created as the same size as on old disk by default.)

Resize Partition

Step 5. Click “Finish”. And there are tips about how to boot OS from SSD.


Tips: You can migrate OS from GPT disk to SSD without reinstalling using AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional Edition. Or you can tick the option to keep the format of the destination disk consistent with the source disk (both GPT format).

Step 6. To make the operation take effect, please click “Apply”. The process of transferring Window to M.2 SSD will be completed in a short time. Just take your time.


After migrating OS to M.2 SSD as above, you can enjoy the very fast speed of booting up computer and loading applications. To replace M.2 SSD that already in use with a new one, you can refer to clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD for more information.

Further reading: about M.2 SSD

M.2 was developed by PCI-SIG and SATA-IO standards organizations and is defined in the PCI-SIG M.2 and the SATA Rav.3.2 specification. It was formerly known as the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF). M.2 SSDs are designed to enable high-performance storage in thin, power-constrained devices, such as ultrabook and tablet computers - all M.2 SSDs flush-mount into M.2 sockets on system boards and the M.2 form factor introduces a path to higher performance via a smaller footprint.