2 Methods to Install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD Drive Step by Step

If you want to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD drive, you can refer to this article, which not only shows how to clean install Windows on M.2 SSD, but also introduces how to directly transfer Windows 10 on M.2 SSD drive.


By Emily / Updated on June 12, 2024

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“Can I install Windows 10 on 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 or Windows 11 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 the 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;
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. Installing Windows 10 on M.2 drive using Windows installation media

Before figuring out how to install Windows 10 on NVME m.2 SSD with Windows installation media, please make the following preparations:

An empty USB drive (at least 8GB) for creating Windows installation media.
Access to Download Windows Media Creation Tool.
Then, back up important files on the current system because everything will be deleted after the installation process.
Remove 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.

Media Creation Tool
Secure Download

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”.

Create Installation Media

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.

Choose Usb Drive

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.

Change Boot Order

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".

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.

Place Windows

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 11/10/8/7 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. Please download this powerful software to learn how to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD easily and safely.

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
The SSD total capacity should exceed the system or boot drive space, or you can first shrink system partition to make it smaller.
It 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.
The 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" under "Clone" column.

Migrate Os To Ssd

Step 2. Select an unallocated space on the destination M.2 SSD and click "Next".

Select Space On Ssd

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".

Resize Partition

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 finish the last step on how to install Windows 10 on NVME M.2 SSD.


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.


Why Windows 10 installation doesn't detect M.2 SSD?

If your M.2 SSD isn't recognized during installation, an incompatible format or a problem with BIOS configuration may be to blame. Check that the BIOS has the M.2 SSD enabled and that the boot order is set appropriately. 

How to initialize M.2 SSD Windows 10?

Windows offers several straightforward ways to initialize SSDs. If you prefer using Disk Management, follow these steps:

1. Right-click the Windows icon and select "Disk Management".

2. Right-click the disk you wish to initialize and choose "Initialize Disk".

Can I swap M.2 SSD without reinstalling Windows?

If your computer isn't too old, has an M.2 interface connector, and you can afford an M.2 SSD, you should consider upgrading to an M.2 SSD.


Now, I believe you already know how to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD. Both of the two methods are efficient when you want to install Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 or Windows 7 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.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.