[Stepwise Guide] Clone Windows from SSD to NVMe (Bootable)

This article presents a step-by-step guide on how to clone Windows from SSD to NVMe, and make sure it is bootable. Keep reading to get more details.


By Jonna Updated on November 13, 2023

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Benefits of Migrating Windows from SSD to NVMe

NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a new storage technology known for delivering lightning-fast performance and exceptionally low latency. NVMe drives outperform traditional SATA drives significantly, with speeds that are typically five to seven times faster. These advantages make NVMe SSDs ideal for gaming, video editing, and other intensive programs. If you are running on a SATA SSD, cloning Windows from SSD to NVMe offers you multiple merits including:

  • Faster PC boot and shorter applications/games load times
  • Faster speeds in file transfer
  • Smoother multitasking with minimal delay
  • Larger storage capacities than older SATA SSDs
  • Lower latency and power consumption

Clone Windows from SSD to NVMe

Requirements to Set NVMe as Boot Drive

When considering the cloning of Windows 10/11 to NVMe and setting it as the boot drive in your computer, it's crucial to ensure that your system meets specific hardware and software requirements. These requirements are essential for a successful migration to an NVMe SSD. Here are the key prerequisites:

✍Motherboard Compatibility: Check if your motherboard has compatible slots for connecting an NVMe SSD, such as PCIe, U.2, or M.2 connections. It's essential to review your motherboard's manual thoroughly, as not all slots may be compatible with NVMe SSDs.
✍UEFI Firmware Version: Your motherboard's UEFI firmware version should be a minimum of 2.3.1 and must support NVMe drives. Without the appropriate UEFI version and NVMe support, your NVMe SSD cannot be utilized as a boot device.
✍Disk Format: When using the UEFI boot mode, your system requires a GPT formatted disk. The older MBR format will not work for booting from an NVMe SSD.
✍Operating System Compatibility: Booting from an NVMe SSD is not supported in older versions of Windows.
✍Chipset Consideration: While older chipsets can technically support NVMe SSDs, for an effective and responsive system, it's recommended to have at least a Skylake chipset or a more recent one when utilizing an NVMe SSD.

How Do I Clone Windows from SSD to NVMe?

To easily transfer Windows from SSD to NVMe, here are some steps you should follow to ensure a smooth transition.

1. Add an NVMe SSD to your computer

  • If your motherboard has two M.2 slots: Shut down your PC and open the case. Find an available M.2 slot on your motherboard, and then insert the NVMe drive into the selected M.2 slot. Then, use a provided screw to secure the NVMe drive in place.
  • If your motherboard has only one slot: Connect the new NVMe drive externally using an SSD enclosure.

2. Initialize the NVMe SSD (for a new SSD)

NVMe drives require UEFI boot mode, so if your NVMe SSD is brand new, it must be initialized in the GPT partition style to be used as a boot device.

3. Backup files on the NVMe SSD (for a used SSD)

Prior to the cloning process, create SSD backup for your important data, as the cloning operation will overwrite the destination disk.

4. Use reliable disk cloning software to clone Windows to NVMe

Utilize professional and trustworthy disk cloning software to ensure data integrity and secure boot after cloning. You can get the best SSD cloning software in the next chapter.

5. Boot computer from the cloned NVMe

Once you have successfully completed the process of cloning Windows from SSD to NVMe SSD, you need to set the new drive as the boot drive. Only then will your computer reboot using the Windows OS located on the new NVMe SSD.

Best SSD Cloning Software to Clone Windows to NVMe - AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a specialized disk cloning software that excels in Windows cloning tasks. It provides a comprehensive set of features for hard drive cloning, allowing for cloning SATA HDD to SSD, cloning SATA to NVMe, cloning NVMe to NVMe, handling M.2 SSD cloning, and so forth. Here are the highlights of this software:

♛ It offers Disk Clone feature, enabling you to transfer the entire content from one hard drive to another. Also, it provides System Clone function for migrating only the operating system to a new drive.
♛ It is embedded with SSD Alignment, which optimizes the reading and writing speed of SSD disks, ensuring efficient performance.
♛ It supports both MBR and GPT disk cloning. You can clone between MBR to MBR, MBR to GPT, GPT to MBR, and GPT to GPT, depending on your specific needs. The destination disk remains bootable after the cloning process.
♛ After cloning, you can use its Disk Wipe function to securely erase the contents of your old entire disk or specific partitions, making them suitable for secondary storage use.

You can click the download button below to install it on your computer and follow the guide below to have a try!

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How-to Guide: Move Windows to NVMe from SSD without Reinstalling

This software is widely compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and XP. Below are detailed instructions for cloning Windows 11 to NVMe from SSD using AOMEI Backupper.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Go to the Clone tab, and select Disk Clone. If you want to transfer the operating system only, use the System Clone option instead.

Choose Disk Clone

Step 2. Click on the current boot drive to select it as the source disk and then choose the NVMe SSD as the destination disk.

Choose Source Disk 2

Step 3. Check the SSD Alignment option to optimize the performance of the NVMe SSD. Then click Start Clone to initiate the Windows to NVMe cloning process.

Disk Clone Preview Align SSD Checked

The cloning process will run in the background, allowing you to continue using your computer as usual. Be patient and wait for the process to finish.

Useful Tips:
In some cases, you may encounter "clone SSD to NVMe with inaccessible boot device" error, causing Windows to fail to load. To address this, you use the Create Bootable Media feature of AOMEI Backupper for bootable media creation.
If you need to perform disk cloning or system migration on multiple computers conveniently, consider upgrading to the Technician or Technician Plus version. This will allow you to create a portable version of AOMEI Backupper on a removable device and connect it to any target computer for direct use.

Boot computer from the cloned NVMe

Case 1: If you installed the NVMe SSD in a motherboard slot

Step 1. Begin by restarting your computer. During the startup process, press the specified key (usually F2, Del, ESC, F10, etc.) to access BIOS.

Step 2. In the BIOS, navigate to the Boot tab and choose the cloned SSD as the first boot option.

Change Boot Order

Step 3. After setting the boot order, save the changes by pressing the designated key (often F10). Your computer should now boot successfully from the cloned NVMe SSD drive now.

Case 2: If you connected the NVMe SSD to computer via an enclosure

Step 1. Shut down your computer, and ensure your computer is completely powered off.

Step 2. Remove the old hard drive that you intend to replace with the new NVMe SSD, and install the new NVMe SSD in the slot.

Step 3. Restart your computer and it should now boot successfully from the NVMe drive.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cloning Windows to NVMe

#1. Why cloned NVMe can't boot?

The primary cause for the failure of the recently cloned Windows OS on NVMe could be its low booting priority. This requires you to adjust the boot order in your computer's BIOS settings, assigning the NVMe drive the highest booting priority. Additionally, it is necessary to ensure that the NVMe drive is configured as a GPT (GUID Partition Table) drive to enable successful booting.

#2. Can I use NVMe as main storage?

Yes, you can definitely use NVMe as your main storage for your computer, as the OS drive and for installing applications and storing personal files. After cloning Windows or other data to it, you only replace it with your HDD or SSD easily.

#3. Can I clone SATA SSD to M.2 NVMe?

Yes, you can SATA HDD or SSD to M.2 NVMe with professional cloning software like AOMEI Backupper. Also, you can rely on this tool to clone OS to M.2 and ensure it bootable.

Final Thoughts

Cloning Windows from SSD to NVMe is a very efficient process that implies security, practicality, and time-saving using professional tools like AOMEI Backupper.

This guide provides detailed tutorials on preparing for cloning before using the tool and how to use the professional cloning tool. Additionally, the software is not limited to cloning alone. It offers a wide range of data protection and disaster recovery solutions. You can use it to schedule auto backups, perform incremental and differential backups to save changed files only, and benefit from a complete set of tools for safeguarding your data.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna joined AOMEI in 2021 and has become a professional in the areas of computer backup and restoration, disk cloning, file synchronization, etc. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.