How to Upgrade M.2 SSD without Reinstalling Windows

Learn how to effortlessly upgrade your laptop or desktop's M.2 SSD without Windows reinstallation. This guide highlights seamless data and system migration using top disk cloning software.


By Lily Updated on April 29, 2024

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When Upgrade M.2 SSD on Your Computer?

When will you want to upgrade M.2 SSD? Many users want to replace the original M.2 SATA to a larger M.2 SATA SSD to get more storage space to store more software, games, videos, photos, and documents. What’s more, some of them want to upgrade M.2 SATA SSD to NVMe SSD to get better computer performance. Software and large files on the computer can be loaded faster.

If you use a disk cloning software to help you upgrade M.2 SSD contains Windows on your computer, you can avoid the trouble of reinstalling the operating system, save time and effort, and do not need to manually reconfigure the system to the original settings.

Best M.2 Cloning Software without Boot Issues

The computer's own system does not have a built-in special disk cloning software, so it is particularly important to find a reliable M.2 cloning software to help you upgrade your M.2 SSD. AOMEI Backupper Professional is a powerful third-party software that can help you migrate your system and data to the new M.2 SSD with just a few clicks.

It ensures the integrity of the data and ensures that you can safely boot from the new hard drive. See what this powerful software can do for you:

❈ Clone a wide range of hard drives: You can use it to clone HDDs, SATA SSDs, NVMe M.2 SSDs, USB flash drives, and SD cards, etc.
❈ Clone all brands of SSDs: It supports all brands of SSD on the market. You can use AOMEI Backupper to transfer data to Inland SSD, Western Digital SSD, etc.
❈ Different clone methods: You can perform Disk Clone (clone an entire hard disk to another), Partition Clone (clone a partition or volume from one to another) and System Clone (clone or migrate only system to SSD or other disk).
❈ Supports different disk partition styles: It allows you to clone system disks from MBR to MBR, GPT to GPT, MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR. You don't need to convert the partition style.
❈ Clone hard drives of different sizes: It provides you with Intelligent Clone and Sector-by-sector Clone. The former one allows you to clone a larger drive to a smaller drive. The latter one allows you to make a 1:1 copy of the hard drive.

After understanding the brief information of this M.2 SSD cloning software, I will show you how it works when you want to upgrade M.2 SSD without reinstalling Windows. Click the download button below to install it on your computer.

Download DemoWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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How to Upgrade M.2 SSD on Laptop or Desktop

Here, I take the upgrade M.2 SSD to larger M.2 SATA SSD as an example to show you how to clone OS to M.2 without reinstalling Windows using this software. Before upgrading the M.2 SSD, you need to do some preparations. Follow the detailed steps below.

Note: The data on the target location will be overwritten after the cloning process. If you plan to clone Windows to a used M.2 SSD and there are some important data on it, please backup files in advance.

#1. Install and Initialize New M.2 SSD

  1. Turn off the computer and disconnect the power source. Then install the new M.2 SSD in the laptop/desktop.
  •  If your Laptop/Desktop has only one SSD slot, connect the new M.2 SSD to the computer via M.2 SATA SSD to USB adapter.

M.2 SATA SSD to USB Adapter

  •  If your laptop or desktop contains two SSD slots, open the back cover of the laptop or the computer tower case with a tool, find the M.2 SSD slot. Insert the SSD into the slot, and then fix it with a screwdriver.

Install M.2 SATA SSD

  1. Next, restart your computer. Press Win + R to open the Run dialog box, type diskmgmt.msc and click OK to open Disk Management.

Disk Management

  1. Right-click on the new SSD and select Initialize Disk. Set the partition style the same as the source disk (MBR or GPT) and click OK to confirm.

Initialize Disk

#2. Clone M.2 SSD to Larger M.2 SSD without Losing Any Data

After the preparation work is completed, you can use AOMEI Backupper to clone M.2 SSD to larger M.2 SSD, please follow the graphic tutorial for details.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper, click Clone in the left panel and select Disk Clone on the right menu.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the original M.2 SSD containing Windows as the source disk and click Next.

Source Disk

Step 3. Select the larger M.2 SATA SSD as the destination path to clone the source disk and click on Next.

Destination Disk

Step 4. Then you will see the Operation Summary page. Check SSD Alignment option to improve the writing & reading speed of SSD disk. Confirm all other settings and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

💜 Sector by Sector Clone: it allows you to clone all sectors of a hard drive to another one including the bad sectors or empty sectors. And it will make Edit Partition becomes unavailable.
💜 Edit Partitions: you can adjust partition size of destination disk with this feature to fix the problem the cloned hard drive show wrong size issue. Also, you can use it convert disk type if the destination disk is different from source disk.

 The Edit Partitions feature is more practical and you have 4 options. Please select one or more of them if the new M.2 SSD is larger. 

>> Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
>> Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
>> Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want. 
>> Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk. 

Add Unused Space

#3. Safe Boot from Cloned M.2 SSD

1. To boot from a cloned M.2 SSD: If your computer has only one SSD slot, you should replace the old M.2 SSD with a cloned M.2 SSD; if there are two slots, just insert the cloned M.2 SSD into the empty slot.

2. Restart PC and press F2/F8/F11 or Del to enter BIOS, and change the boot order to boot from the cloned SSD.

Change Boot Order

3. Press F10 or save the changes, then restart the computer.

(Bonus) Quick Comparison: M.2 SATA SSD vs. M.2 NVMe SSD

Explore the differences between M.2 SATA SSDs and M.2 NVMe SSDs with this concise chart. While M.2 SATA drives offer affordability and are suitable for everyday tasks, M.2 NVMe drives provide faster speeds and excel in gaming and intensive applications.


Before you learn how to upgrade M.2 SSD without reinstalling Windows 10 or 11, you may want to make an informed choice based on your budget and performance needs. Please note that this price is as of press time. 

Aspect M.2 SATA SSD M.2 NVMe SSD
Form Factor M.2 M.2
Interface SATA PCIe
Speed Slower (Compared to NVMe) Faster (High Speeds)
Price Example (1TB) Around $100 Starts at around $200
Use Cases Everyday Use, General Tasks Intensive Tasks, Gaming
File Transfer Slower Transfer Speeds Faster Transfer Speeds
Gaming Performance Good Excellent
Performance in General Adequate High Performance
Investment Budget-Friendly Premium Performance

Most Concerned Questions on M.2 SSD Upgrading

1. Is there a risk of data loss during the M.2 SSD upgrade?

Properly upgrading an M.2 solid state drive will not result in data loss. However, human error or device error may cause data loss. It is strongly recommended to back up important data beforehand. Regular backups and careful handling can reduce this risk.

2. Will all my files and applications be transferred accurately?

The purpose of disk cloning is to copy everything, including files, applications and the operating system, but occasionally there are problems. For example, cloning progress stops when the target disk is not large enough to store all the data or when there are conflicts.

3. Can I clone my larger capacity M.2 SSD to a smaller one?

Yes, it is possible to clone larger drive to smaller drive using specialized cloning software, as long as the target device can accommodate the data used. Data reduction also helps in cloning to a smaller hard disk.

4. Does the M.2 SSD's speed affect the cloning process?

In general, faster SSDs facilitate quicker cloning, but the process mainly depends on data volume. For instance, with modern SSDs and efficient cloning software, the process could take around 30 minutes to 1 hour or even less for a 500GB used space cloning. Slower SSDs might extend to 1 to 2 hours or more.

5. Will my Windows license and activation remain intact after the upgrade?

Yes, Windows activation typically remains unaffected, but it's advisable to keep your product key handy just in case.


This article tells you in detail how to upgrade M.2 SSD without reinstalling Windows. If you follow the steps and use reliable cloning software, you won't encounter any startup problems. No need to reinstall the system can save you a lot of time and effort, and you don’t need to manually reconfigure the system to its original settings.

With the help of AOMEI Backupper, you can also make full use of your old M.2 SSD. It can also help you to perform HP Omen 30L SSD upgrade, Asus X505ZA SSD upgrade, etc. In addition to the Clone function, it also embeds Backup, Restore and Synchronization functions to provide daily data protection for your computer. What are you waiting for? Try it now!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.