By Dylan / Last Updated July 18, 2019

Scenario

“I have a 1 TB HDD installed in my computer. It was working well for the first and second years. I installed lots of software, pics and movies on it. But after years of use, the computer booting and running speed had been heavily decreased. So I want to buy a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 SSD, and migrate everything on the HDD to M.2 SSD to make my computer running smoothly and stably. I’m wondering if there is any easy method to successfully clone HDD to M.2 SSD?”

What is M.2 SSD?

From the above user story, we can know one of the most important reasons for cloning HDD to M.2 NVMe is to boost the computer running performance. Actually, as a new form factor specification for Solid State Drive, it is faster smaller and take up less space than normal SSD and HDD in a PC case.

M.2 is the size of a chewing gum making it easy to be placed inside a PC case. M .2 SSD is plugged into motherboard. It uses a more direct pathway to CPU so an M.2 SSD is much faster than a normal SSD. An NVMe M.2 SSD read/write speed can reach to 3500MB/S, while other SSD delivers read/write speed of between 200 MB/s to 550 MB/s, and a HDD average read/write speed is just 80-160MB/S. So if you clone old system hard disk to M.2 NVMe SSD, the performance of your computer will be more stable and faster.

Choose a correct version of M.2 SSD

Before rushing to buy a M.2 SSD, you need to know what M.2 SSD interface your computer supports. Look for a slot about one inch on your motherboard. Usually, it is labeled with SATA or PCIe or SATA/PCIe. Pay attention to the label, because you need to buy a matching M.2 SSD. If you don’t see the slot, you need to buy a corresponding adapter.

If you have already had an M.2 SSD but you don’t know which type you have. You can look at the notches on the connector. A PCIe M.2 SSD has only one notch while a SATA M.2 SSD has two notches on the connector.

And then, unscrew the M.2 slot and carefully insert your M.2 SSD into motherboard. In some situations, for instance, a computer is BIOS system, SSD won’t show up on computer, you need to fix it manually.

Choose a proper M.2 (NVMe) SSD cloner

If you just bought a new M.2 NVMe SSD drive, and was planning to clone the current slow system HDD to it, you might wonder how to clone/migrate HDD to M.2 SSD. In fact, you can employ a piece of M.2 SSD cloning software. But with various types of cloning software, each of them claiming to be able to clone the hard disk available on the market, how can you know which one can perform the cloning task successfully as advertised? If you feel puzzled, you can refer to the following standards to make a wise choice:

  • Compatibility: A great M.2 SSD cloner should be compatible with most popular operating systems on the market, so it can satisfy most users’ demands.

  • Operability: An easy-to-use disk cloning tool with intuitive interface is more welcomed since either computer rookies or experts can easily understand how to perform cloning tasks.

  • Bootable Clone: The powerful software shall be able to copy both data and system disk to another disk and keep the cloned data valid as well.

Based on the listed standards, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a great choice. Apart from meeting all the basic standards mentioned above, it also provides many other amazing features to make cloning HDD or SSD easy and effective:

  • It supports to copy a large disk to smaller one thanks to its “Copy Disk Quickly”. As long as the available space on the destination disk is not smaller than the used space of source disk.

  • This method enables you to boot from the destination disk after cloning operating system to it. It will migrate all partitions that are important for system bootup.

  • It assists you in copying only a specific partition to another different partition or disk. If there is only one partition you want to clone, it will save your energy to delete other partitions you don’t need.

  • AOMEI Partition Assistant supports 4K alignment that can increase the reading and writing speed of data, the performance of your computer will be improved.

  • It supports different Windows operating systems. Whether your operating system is Windows 10/8/7, Vista or XP, you can clone disk successfully.

How to clone HDD to M.2 SSD in Windows 10/8/7 step by step?

Connect the M.2 SSD to your computer, install and launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Attentions:

  • The data on the target disk will be deleted after cloning, please make a backup of them with AOMEI Backupper beforehand.

  • If you are planning to clone MBR system disk to the NVMe M.2 SSD drive, which needs to be of GPT partition table when it is used as a bootable disk, you need to make sure your motherboard should support UEFI boot mode, since you have to change BIOS to UEFI after clone.

Step 1. Right-click the HDD you plan to clone, and click “Copy Disk”.

Copy Disk

Step 2. In the Disk Copy Wizard window, you can choose a way to clone HDD to M.2 SSD. Here we choose “Copy Disk Quickly”.

Copy Disk Quickly

Note:

  • Copy Disk Quickly: only copy used space of source disk, allowing you to clone larger disk to smaller one as long as the capacity of destination disk is not smaller than that of the used space.

  • Sector-by-Sector Copy: copy all sectors of the disk to a target disk no matter it is used or not, so the capacity of destination disk must be larger than or equal to the capacity of source disk.

Step 3. Choose the destination disk. Here we choose Disk 3. Since the destination disk is SSD, check the “Optimize the performance of SSD”. Then click “Next”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. In the pop-up window, you will be prompt that all data on this selected destination disk will be wiped out. Ensure you have backed up important data, and click “Yes”.

Data Loss Warning

Step 5. In this window, you can adjust the partition on the destination disk. Choose what you need, after finishing the adjustment, and click “Next”.

Edit Disk

Tips:

  • Copy without resizing partition: Keeping the size of source partitions. If the destination disk is smaller than source disk, it will be greyed out.

  • Fit partitions to entire disk: The program automatically adjusts the size of partition to fit the disk.

  • Edit partitions on this disk: You can resize partitions as your wish.

Step 6. You will be noted that how to boot from the destination disk if you encounter a boot problem after cloning. Then click “Finish”.

Note

Step 7. In the main interface, click “Apply” and “Proceed” to start migrating HDD to M.2 SSD.

Apply

Boot from the cloned M.2 SSD

Follow the above steps, and restart your computer to set the cloned M.2 SSD as the boot drive.

Step 1. During the process of restarting, long press “F2” to “Enter Setup”.

Step 2. And “Change boot order” then set the cloned M.2 SSD as boot drive.

Step 3. Press "Enter". Now you can boot the computer from the SSD successfully.

If you want to replace your old HDD with M.2 SSD, or your computer can only put one hard drive, disconnect your HDD from computer and plug in M.2 SSD right where it used to be. System will boot directly on your new SSD.

This is how to clone HDD to M.2 SSD. In order to boot from the destination NVMe M.2 SSD successfully, please change the BIOS boot mode to UEFI if the source system disk is of MBR. By the way, after the cloning finish, if you find your cloned M.2 SSD won’t boot, you can refer to this link to fix it.

In addition to cloning disk, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional also has other functions, such as migrating OS from one disk to HDD/SSD, allocating free space from one partition to another, partition recovery.