By Delia / Last update October 18, 2022

Why clone NVMe SSD to another drive

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory express) is the fastest SSDs with low data latencies in the market, which can help you speed up your PC. But after installing a lot of apps and games, you may find that your computer speed drops and the disk space is insufficient. Therefore, you want to upgrade NVMe SSD to another drive, such as a larger NVMe SSD.

Compared with backup & restore, cloning NVMe SSD is a wise choice to keep your important data intact without reinstalling Windows 11/10/8/7 and previously installed apps. But since Windows does not come with a clone feature, you need the help of a specialized tool.

NVMe SSD

What you need for cloning NVMe SSD

Windows OS comes with the utility to create system image that can be restored to another drive (learn more about bare metal recovery), but the procedure is laborious and error-prone. There are also more conditions to consider, for example, the target disk should be formatted with NTFS and be of the same or larger size than the source disk.

To break through these limitations and clone NVMe SSD effeciently, you need professional NVMe SSD cloner, which is missing from the Windows native system, yet can be the best choice to transfer all the data to or from NVMe drive without reinstalling nor boot problems.

Luckily there are quite a few alternatives on the market, and you should consider whether the following criteria are met when making the choice:

Support disks of different sizes
Once having experienced the high performance of NVMe, you may not want to switch to other types of SSDs, so replacing an NVMe SSD with larger NVMe SSD may be the most common scenario, but there are also possibilities of cloning to a smaller SSD. In general, the cloner you pick should support cloning disks of different sizes.
Support GPT disks
Since booting from NVMe PCIe SSDs is only supported on UEFI-based systems, your NVMe must be partitioned with GPT to support UEFI booting, and the cloner should support cloning GPT system disks.

With the above information, I recommend AOMEI Backupper Professional for completing the NVMe SSD cloning job.

  • It gives you options to clone entire disk, selected partitions or only operating system.
  • It supports both MBR and GPT data & system disks.
  • With the intelligent-sector and partition editing capabilities, you can clone NVMe drive to larger drive or smaller drive easily.

Hit the download button below to have a try:

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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*The cloning feature in free trial is for demonstration only, please upgrade to enjoy full functionality.

What if there is only one NVMe slot in a laptop

Q: How to clone NVMe M2 to larger NVMe with single slot in computer?

My laptop has a single slot Nvme m2 ssd, i would like to clone this to the newly bought larger Nvme m.2 ssd. How can I do this? Is there any option to do it without adapter?

If you have an extra M.2 PCIe slot to connect a second NVMe drive, the whole cloning process would not be much of a problem. However, some computers, especially laptops, have only one PCIe slot that can connect NVMe SSD. What to do in such a situation?

>> If you still want to migrate your system and data via disk cloning way, then you need an M.2 SSD to USB adapter or M.2 NVME SSD enclosure to connect the second drive.

nvme adapter

>> If you have no adapter and don't want to buy one (just as the user in the above case), you may need to create a full disk image of the old NVMe SSD and restore it to the newer drive. In this case, AOMEI Backupper also provides system backup & restore feature with better compatibility and easier operation than the Windows native utility.

I will illustrate both the methods below:

How to clone NVMe SSD with extra slot or adapter

Disk cloning is the easiest way for NVMe SSD migration. It can duplicate the OS and all the files from the source drive to target drive directly, eliminating the need to backup and then restore. The following tutorial uses the example of cloning NVMe SSD to a larger NVMe SSD.

Before you start:

  • Install the new SSD or connect it via an adapter or enclosure. Make sure it can be detected.
  • Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. If there's any important data on the target SSD, backup it first, because the cloning will overwrite everything on it.

Steps to clone NVMe to NVMe:

1. Navigate to “Clone” and then select “Disk Clone” for NVMe SSD clone. If you want to migrate only OS to SSD, you can choose "System Clone" instead.

Select Disk Clone

2. Select the source NVMe SSD, and select the target SSD on the next page.

Select NVMe SSD

3. At the Operation Summary screen, tick "SSD Alignment" to further improve the performance of target NVMe SSD. Then, click “Start Clone” to execute the operation.

Clone NVMe SSD to NVMe SSD

Optionally, click "Edit Partitions" to resize partitions and assign unallocated space:
👉 Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
👉 Add unused space to all partitions: Reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk.
👉 Manually adjust partition size: Extend unallocated space to any partition on the target disk as you want.
👉 Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It allows you to convert the partition style (MBR/GPT) of the target disk if it is different from the source disk. 

Add Unused Space

Normally it does not require a reboot and then the NVMe SSD cloning will be finished within Windows. If some apps prevent AOMEI Backupper from accessing the source drive, then it will clone NVMe drive under Restart mode.

The same steps also apply to cloning M.2 SSD, cloning Windows 7 to NVMe SSD, cloning SATA SSD to NVMe SSD, etc.

Tips:
For cloning method, it will clone only used sectors by default, which allows you to clone larger drive to smaller drive. To clone all sectors of NVMe SSD indiscriminately, please tick "Sector By Sector Clone" option.

• For server users, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Server. It supports all the server system, ranging from server 2003 to 2022.

• For users who are not familiar with partition style: MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage and NVMe SSDs are usually partitioned with GPT. If you want to check the partition style, try these steps:

Press Win + R to open the Run window -> type "diskmgmt.msc" and hit OK to open Disk Management -> right-click the disk and select "Properties" -> select "Volume" tab -> find the "Partition style", which can be Master Boot Record (MBR) or GUID Partition Table (GPT).

Disk Partition Style

How to clone M.2 NVMe SSD with only one slot in laptop

If your computer has only one slot for NVMe drive like most laptops, and you do not have an available adapter, you can choose to create an image backup of the current NVMe SSD, and then restore to the new drive.

In the following guide, I will complete the entire process via AOMEI Backupper, which is also a backup and restore tool for Windows.

Steps to migrate NVMe SSD with only one slot:

1. Open AOMEI Backupper. Click “Backup” -> “Disk Backup” and follow the wizard to create a disk image of the NVMe SSD. If you want to transfer only the OS, choose "System Backup" then. You can save the backup on a removable device or network location.

Select Disk Backup

2. When the backup is done, click “Tools” > ”Create bootable media” to make a bootable media that can boot your computer into WinPE.

Create Bootable Media

3. Shutdown the PC, plug out the power cable and other cables. Detach the screws to remove the battery and back panel, so as to take out the old disk. Install the new NVMe SSD, and assemble the back panel again.

install nvme

4. Connect the created bootable media, restart your computer and press the specific key (like F2, ESC) at startup to enter BIOS, then go to "Boot" tab and set the USB device as the first boot option. Wait patiently and it will load AOMEI Backupper automatically.

5. Click “Restore” -> “Select Image File” to locate the created image. Then restore the disk backup to the new NVMe disk following the wizard.

Restore Image to NVMe SSD

When the process is complete, you can boot your computer from the new NVMe SSD. When you try to boot the new SSD, do remember to eject the bootable media and change boot order in BIOS. 

How to boot from the cloned drive

When the cloning process is complete, you can shut down the PC, and replace the old NVMe SSD with the new one. Then you can boot your computer from the cloned NVMe SSD.

If you have more than one slot, you can also keep the old drive connected as a secondary drive. Just press the BIOS key (depends on make and model) at startup, and select the cloned new drive as the first boot option. If it can boot into Windows normally, then your cloning is successful, and you can decide what to do with the old drive. For example, you can wipe the hard drive and keep it for storage.

boot order

If you are still having problems with your startup, please refer to: How to Make Cloned Drive Bootable

Wrap up

Cloning NVMe SSD to NVMe SSD with disk cloning software is a great choice for users who want to upgrade disk to a larger one or get higher performance. Because it can guarantee the normal operation of your system and the integrity of data. 

Also, if you want to clone NVMe SSD with only one slot, you can use backup and restore feature. It can acheive the same effect as clone. The only drawback is you need to restore the image before booting Windows. What's more, if you want to restore the system image to dissimilar hardware, you can use the "Universal Restore" feature to make sure the computer is bootable after restoration.