By Dervish / Last Updated March 9, 2022

Scenario

Can I clone HDD to an M.2 SSD?

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. I bought a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe M.2 SSD, and want to know can I migrate everything on the HDD to M.2 SSD to make my computer running smoothly and stably? If possible, is there any easy way to clone HDD to M.2 SSD? Thanks in advance!”

What is M.2 SSD?

Recently, lots of people posted a question that how to clone a hard disk to M.2 SSD on many forums. So what is M.2 SSD?

M.2 SSD is a new generation of solid state drive (SSD). It is much faster than a regular SSD. An M.2 SSD with NVMe protocol directly connect with motherboard giving a much faster speed to transfer data, which can reach to 3500 MB/S, while other SSD deliver read/write speed of between 200 MB/s to 550 MB/s. But it is worth mentioning that the performance of a AHCI M.2 SSD is the same with that of SATA SSD.

Besides, M.2 SSDs are much smaller than normal SATA SSDs. They are the size of a chewing gum without a shell making it easy to be placed inside a PC case, even a laptop that does not have room for a regular SSD.

Now, we can draw a conclusion that the better performance and smaller size are the 2 most important reason why people want to transfer data to M.2 SSD. Next, we will demonstrate you how to clone HDD to M.2 SSD with ease.

Choose a correct version of M.2 SSD

Before rushing to buy an 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 the motherboard. In some situations, 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, you might be wondering how to transfer data from the old disk to the new SSD. In fact, you can try excellent M.2 SSD cloning software-AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. This is one of the best ways to clone HDD to M.2 SSD on the market, because it allows you to migrate all data and applications to your SSD easily and effectively with its amazing features.

  • 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 the source disk.

  • It supports different Windows operating systems. Whether your operating system is Windows 11/10/8/7, Vista or XP, you can clone disk successfully.

  • It assists you in copying only one partition to SSD/HDD. If there is only one partition you want to clone, it will save your energy to delete other partitions you don’t need.

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

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

How to clone HDD to M.2 SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7 step by step?

Connect the M.2 SSD to your computer, install and launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. You can click the following button to download a demo version to have a try.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

✍ 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 “Clone Disk”.

Copy Disk

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

Copy Disk Quickly

✍ Note:
Clone 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 Clone: 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:

  • Clone without resizing partition: Keeping the size of source partitions. If the destination disk is smaller than the 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 you 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

● Additional: Clone Windows OS to M.2 SSD

If you only want to clone Windows system partition to an M.2 SSD, AOMEI Partition Assistant also support. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant, click "Migrate OS to SSD" in the main interface. And the rest of the steps resemble with cloning the whole disk, choosing destination disk, choose clone method. And don't forget to click "Apply" > "Proceed" in the main interface.

Migrate Os To Ssd

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

Change Order

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 the computer and plug in M.2 SSD right where it used to be. The system will boot directly on your new SSD.

Conclusion

This is how to clone HDD to M.2 SSD in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7. 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, If you are running with Windows Server OS, there are AOMEI Partition Assistant Server Edition for you.