By Teresa / Last Updated April 19, 2021

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Case: how do I clone NVMe to NVMe?

I'm running out of space on my laptop hard drive. I purchase a larger NVMe SSD but unable to find an easier way to clone the the drive. I don't want to do NVMe to HDD to NVMe, this is very troublesome!!! Any suggestions on hardware/software for the job?

Anyone wants to clone NVMe to another NVMe may have similar confusion - what's the simplest way to do it? NVME to HDD to NVME clone is too much trouble, especially for users who have only one M.2 slot on the laptop. Think about it, if you use an adapter with SATA, the new NVMe disk can only be connected internally, and you need to use another SATA external disk as a transit. 

Luckily, with the method introduced in following sections, you can directly clone NVMe to NVMe with an M.2 to PCIE adapter and reliable hard drive cloning software.

Why clone NVMe to NVMe?

Before taking actions, let's go through some basic information about NVMe and determine whether to clone it.  

First of all, what is NVMe SSD? Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe), operates across the PCle bus, is a communication protocol developed especially for SSDs by a consortium of vendors including Intel, Samsung, SanDisk, Dell, and Seagate. It is a host controller interface for connecting SSDs. 

The most outstanding feature of NVMe SSDs is high performance and low latency, i.e. really fast. If your computer was purchased in recent two years, you may have experienced the insanely running speed. 

Nvme SSD Samsung

In this case, many people would like to replace hard drive with an NVMe SSD. But what are the benefits to clone an NVMe SSD to another NVMe SSD? Well, there are 2 main reasons:

1. Gain greater storage. Generally speaking, NVMe SSDs do not come with high capacity, the first batch of produced SSDs in particular. More and more files, documents, projects, games, and applications need to be installed. As a result, upgrading smaller NVMe SSD to larger NVME SSD for more space becomes an unavoidable trend.

2. Back up valuable files or for easy transferring. From another perspective of view, NVMe SSD cloning is a good way to safeguard important data and operating system, and a fast way to transfer files. Anyway, no matter what cause leads you to NVMe cloning, you may want to know how to perform the cloning.

What do you need in NVMe to NVMe cloning?

In general, cloning HDD to NVMe SSD requires you to meet following conditions for secure boot:

● Newer computer hardware (it is better to have Skylake chipsets or later even if NVMe is compatible with old computers) 
● an M.2 PCI-E x4 slot
● UEFI firmware & UEFI boot mode

However, if you have already run operating system on NVMe SSD, those pre-conditions can be omitted. All you need to pay attention to is following two aspects:

● The NVMe M.2 slot. If there is only one NVMe M.2 slot, you have two choices in SSD migration, use an adapter from M.2 to PCle for the second drive to do cloning, and use backup & restore to do migration. 
● The NVMe SSD cloning software. The software should be an all-around tool that offers features for your different cloning plans.

Fortunately, AOMEI Backupper Professional is such an assistant that combines disk clone and disk image feature. All Windows operating systems are supported, including Windows 10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista. Free download it and have a try. 

For migrating OS to NVMe SSD on Server systems, please refer to AOMEI Backupper Server edition (tutorials are the same).

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to clone SSD to NVMe SSD without reinstalling?

Two ways of NVMe SSD data migration will be presented in following paragraphs. Choose the one that suits you most to clone NVMe to NVme.

Method 1: Clone NVMe SSD to another NVMe SSD directly 

Step 1. Connect the target NVMe SSD to your machine via M.2 to PCIE adapter and make sure it can be detected. Install and run AOMEI Backupper on your computer as well.

Samsung NVMe SSD

Step 2. Click on Clone and then Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Step 3. Choose the source NVMe SSD and the target NVMe SSD. Be sure you’ve chosen the right disk, because the target disk will be override.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Here comes the Operation Summary. Set up clone settings and click Start Clone.

  • Edit Partitions: To make full use of unallocated space left on the target disk. It's mainly used to clone disk to larger disk, regardless of HDD or SSD.

  • SSD Alignment: To accelerate the writing and reading speed of SSD disk and improve its life span using 4K alignment technology.

  • Sector by Sector clone: To clone all sectors of original disk to target drive with larger or the same disk space. Please note this feature can make "Edit Partitions" disappear.

Start Clone

Tips:
To clone SSD to NVMe without booting operating system, it is suggested to create WinPE bootable media with AOMEI Backupper and do the cloning without Windows environment.
To clone OS to NVMe SSD only, please use the System Clone feature.
 AOMEI Backupper Professional also allows you to clone hard drive in Command Prompt.

Method 2: Clone NVMe to larger NVMe via backup and restore

If the motherboard of your computer has only one NVMe M.2 slot and you don’t plan to purchase an adapter, you can complete the cloning without an adapter through another way. 

To be specific, backup NVMe SSD and save the image to external hard drive (or flash drive, NAS, shared folder, or anywhere you can access within WinPE mode) in the first place. Then, replace old NVMe SSD with the target empty NVMe SSD manually. Finally, restore the backup image to the newly installed NVMe SSD. Here come the detailed steps.

Preparations:

  • A USB drive greater than 8GB in size used to create bootable media.

  • An external storage, NAS, or network shared folder to store backup image.

  • Patience.

Step 1. Run AOMEI Backupper Professional on your computer. Connect the external drive if any.

Step 2. Click on Backup and then Disk Backup. Follow the wizard to create a backup image by choosing source NVMe SSD, external storage, and starting backup successively.

Disk Backup

Step 3. Remove the external storage (if any) after the backup process completes. Plug in the USB drive and run AOMEI Backupper again.

Step 4. Click on Tools > Create Bootable Media. Complete the creation with on-screen wizard. It is suggested to choose WinPE mode.

Create Bootable Media

Step 5. Shut down your computer and remove USB drive after that. Replace the original NVMe SSD with the new NVMe SSD manually.

Step 6. Insert the bootable USB drive again. Boot from the USB drive and you’ll enter into WinPE mode and see a loaded AOMEI Backupper. Connect the external drive that contains your backup image to your computer (if any).

Step 7. Click on Restore tab and select the disk backup image. Follow the guide to restore image and make sure you’ve checked SSD Alignments for SSD before restoring. Wait patiently.

Select Backup Image

Step 8. Eject the bootable media after restoring successfully, and then boot your computer from the new NVMe SSD.

Tip: To restore computer with dissimilar hardware, please tick "Universal Restore" before clicking "Start Restore". This option is available in both disk restore and system restore.

FAQ: How do I make a cloned SSD bootable?

Normally your computer should boot up properly after cloning NVMe to NVMe. However, if you failed to boot from the cloned SSD, we also collect some possible causes:

1. The source disk has bad sectors.

2. The OS corrupted during cloning.

3. Missing cloning boot related drives like system reserved partition.

4. Set wrong drive to boot.

5. MBR & GPT conflict.

For more information about this question, please turn to cloned drive won’t boot in Windows.

Verdict

That’s all for how to clone NVMe to NVMe in Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista. Follow one of them according to your situation. If you are tired of cloning from NVMe to HDD to NVMe, you'd better use M.2 to PCIE adapter instead of M.2 to SATA adapter. The latter can only connect SATA SSD. Other than NVMe SSD cloning, AOMEI Backupper can also be used as IDE to IDE hard drive duplicator. Download freely and give it a shot. 

 For IT technician, you could use AOMEI Backupper Technician or Technician Plus, which allows you to create portable version of this software and directly run off a USB flash drive without reinstalling. Then, you can clone, backup & restore, sync or use tools in this software.