About M.2 SSD
Earlier SSDs use SATA standard that is also used by regular hard disk drive (HDDs), so these earlier SSDs are like laptop HDDs. Actually, SSD doesn’t need to have a shell, and then Micro-SATA(also known as m-SATA) was invented. They did not stop there, and then M.2 SSDs come into play, formerly called the Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), which is much faster and smaller than regular SSDs. Because it is so small, users can add an M.2 SSD to a laptop that does not have room for a regular SSD.
If you are going to clone HDD to M.2 SSD with SSD cloning software, you need to figure out a few things before purchasing an M.2 SSD. Firstly, ensure the size of the SSD is suitable for your computer, which is unlikely a problem for a desktop. Secondly, you need to know the specifications of the hardware like whether it is an m-SATA or PCIe bus. Thirdly, though unlikely your computer board will not support booting from M.2 SSD, it is also recommended to confirm it with the board maker.
Hard drive cloning software
In order to copy hard drive to M.2 solid state drive, the cloning software you use must be reliable. Since generally, an SSD is smaller than an HDD, it must support cloning large disk to a smaller one. Recent computer hardware is using UEFI boot mode by default, so this software must fully support UEFI. It is even better if it can clone MBR to GPT disk (supported by the Professional version) or back. Luckily, there is a freeware known as AOMEI Backupper Standard that meets all these requirements.
Besides, it even gives you an option to optimize for the use of SSD. You do not need to create a bootable media using a USB drive or CD to perform the clone, and you can clone hard drive with Windows. Therefore, you can still use the computer to do whatever you like while the clone is in process.
How to clone to M.2 SSD?
After connecting your M.2 SSD to your computer, make sure it is recognized by your computer. If it is shown in Windows Disk Management, then you can follow the steps below to clone hard drive to M.2 SSD.
1. Download and run this freeware AOMEI Backupper.
2. At the Home screen, click on “Clone” and then select “Disk Clone”. If you prefer to clone only OS, you can select “System Clone”. It’s the advanced feature in AOMEI Backupper Pro edition.
3. Select the original hard drive as source disk and select the M.2 SSD as the destination disk successively.
4. Tick "SSD Alignment" to accelerate the reading and writting speed of the destination SSD. Click “Start Clone” to start the clone.
If you prefer to clone via bootable USB disk, the process is the same after you boot from the bootable disk created by AOMEI Backupper. As you can see, besides the ability to clone HDD to M.2 SSD, it also allows you to backup hard drive or restore it when need be.