“Can I install Windows 10 on an M.2 SSD drive”
I have bought a Samsung EVO 960 M.2 SSD to replace the old hard disk in which the Windows 10 operating system is installed since the OS is now running incredibly slowly. How to install Windows on my new M.2 SSD? Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Why install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD drive?
The M.2 SSD is a Solid State Drive that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage expansion cards of a small form factor. The M.2 form factors make the size of the SSD drive same as the size of the USB stick. Compared with mSATA SSDs, M.2 SSD has some obvious advantages:
✌M.2 SSD is smaller and has actually been widely used as storage in notebooks and laptops;
✌M.2 SSD is faster and can be 4GB per second while SATA SSD has a maximum speed of 600MB per second;
✌M.2 SSD supports PCle 3.0, SATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 interface while the mSATA only supports SATA;
✌Some M.2 SSDs adopt the NVME protocol, which offers much lower latency than mSATA SSD.
In brief, installing Windows on M.2 SSD drive is always considered as the fastest way to improve Windows loading and running performance.
Two methods to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD drive
Generally speaking, there are two ways to install Windows operating system to M.2 SSD drive. One is cleaning install Windows 10 onto SSD and another one is directly transferring current Windows 10 to SSD drive. Next is a detailed explanation about those two different methods.
Method 1. Clean install Windows onto M.2 SSD using Windows installation media
Before performing a clean Windows installation on M.2 SSD from scratch, please make the following preparations:
①An empty USB drive (at least 8GB) for creating Windows installation media.
②Access to Download Windows Media Creation Tool.
③Windows product key (activate OS after the installation).
④Then, back up important files on the current system because everything will be deleted after the installation process.
⑤Remove the old system disk and connect the M.2 SSD (only the SSD should be attached to PC).
Step 1. Download Media Creation Tool on another PC (connected to the internet) and run this tool.
Step 2. In the Windows 10 Setup screen, choose “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC” and click “Next”.
Step 3. You will see a screen asking you to choose the media to use. Here we select “USB flash drive”. Click “Next” and follow the onscreen instructions to create a bootable USB drive for installation.
Step 4. Insert the bootable USB into the computer which you need to install OS on M.2 SSD, change BIOS boot order, reboot it from the installation media.
Step 5. Once the PC successfully boots from the USB drive, Windows 10 will automatically enter setup mode. Select the language and other preferences, and then click on “Next” > “Install now”.
Step 6. Input the license key, or skip it by clicking "I don't have a product key" and activate it after Windows install completes.
Step 7. Then click on “Custom: install Windows only (advanced).” In the “Where do you want to install Windows” screen, choose your M.2 SSD drive and click “Next” to start Windows 10 installation process.
Note: If you meet the error messages “Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style”, refer to this given page.
Step 8. Then restart your PC. Press F2/F12/DEL to enter BIOS and change the boot order and set it to boot from the M.2 SSD.
At last, you can insert the old system disk back and restart the computer. And download and install all required drivers on the new Windows OS. Besides, you can delete the system partition and use it for personal data storage.
Method 2. Install Windows on M.2 SSD via OS migration software
With the first method, you have to back up previous data in advance and download some applications or programs once again afterward. It will cost lots of time and effort. So, here we bring an easier method: directly migrate current OS to the M.2 SSD with AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It can transfer the Windows OS partition to another disk without affecting the original OS, programs, and data on the system drive. By easy comparison, it saves lots of procedures and time.
①The SSD total capacity should exceed the system or boot drive space, or you can first shrink system partition to make it smaller.
②It is advised to make the M.2 SSD partition style as the same as the partition table of source system disk by initializing or converting SSD to GPT/MBR. Otherwise, you will need to change boot mode (BIOS to UEFI, or UEFI to BIOS) after migration for a successful boot.
③The M.2 SSD should display as unallocated in Disk Management (If not, back up necessary files and delete all partitions first of all).
Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Choose “Migrate OS to SSD” under “Wizards” column.
Step 2. Select an unallocated space on the destination M.2 SSD and click “Next”.
Note: if there are partitions on the M.2 SSD, you can tick the option “I want to delete all partitions on this disk to migration system to the disk”.
Step 3. In the window, you can resize the partition being created on the M.2 SSD drive and click “Next”.
Step 4. Read the note about how to boot OS from the destination SSD and click “Finish”.
Step 5. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.
The final step is to change the boot order in BIOS so that your computer can boot from the M.2 SSD drive. If the cloned SSD won’t boot, you can scan through this page.
Both of the two methods are efficient when you want to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD with the purpose of reducing OS loading time and improving PC performance. However, the latter is recommended since it is much easier and time-saving.
Besides, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional also supports cloning an entire system hard disk (system partition and other data partitions) to SSD via the “Disk Clone Wizard”. What’s more, it is able to align SSD partitions to boost SSD data writing and reading performance.