By Delia / Last update August 12, 2022

Overview for M.2 form factor and M.2 SSD

The M.2 form factor, also known as NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor), is a modern type of internally mounted expansion card that replaces the former mSATA standard.

As we know, the most common use of M.2 form factor is for SSD data storage, which essentially replaces 2.5-inch storage drives. Unlike standard hard drives, M.2 SSDs are not connected to the motherboard via a cable, but directly into the motherboard using an M.2 connector slot. Thus it makes the inside of the PC neater with fewer cables.

M.2 SSD

Besides the above benefits, many people choose M.2 SSDs for faster speeds, but it should be noted that M.2 drives can utilize either the standard SATA interface or the PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) interface. With SATA interface, the M.2 SSDs may not be faster than a standard 2.5-inch drive. If you are going for faster speed, then an M.2 drive that utilizes NVMe interface protocol (developed specifically for PCIe) would be the best.

Samsung M.2 SSD for hard drive upgrade

Samsung's M.2 Solid State Drive is always the first choice for people who decide to upgrade hard drive to M.2 SSD to makes system boot faster with little delay in loading. To experience an instant response to Windows, it's time to change your clumsy hard disk drive to this most selected M.2 SSD.

Samsung currently offers M.2 SSDs including 970 EVO Plus NVMe® M.2 SSD 500GB, 860 EVO SATA M.2 SSD 1TB, 970 PRO NVMe® M.2 SSD 512GB and 970 EVO NVMe® M.2 SSD 250GB. Just pick the one you need.

As for installing M.2 SSD as a boot drive, please be sure your computer's motherboard supports M.2 slot, otherwise you’ll find M.2 SSD not detected in Windows 10 or 11.

Also, if you feel reluctant to reinstall Windows operating system from scratch, you can use Samsung M.2 migration software to migrate OS to M.2 SSD without reinstalling OS or apps. Meanwhile, you will not lose any data.

Best Samsung M.2 clone software for Windows 10/11

As with other brands, Samsung offers users Samsung Data Migration software (SDM) to clone HDD to Samsung SSD with secure boot. It is not difficult to use, but it only supports cloning the current system drive and sometimes you may find the SDM cloning failed or stuck at some point.

And if you want to migrate Samsung M.2 SSD to other brands of disks, this software won't work.

Samsung Data Migration Cloning Failed

In this case, you can consider choosing another SSD cloning software, which is supposed to be more compatible, flexible, and reliable.

Here I'll introduce AOMEI Backupper Professional because it supports M.2 cloning perfectly with the benefits below:

✩ Bootable clone. Many users upgrade system disk to M.2 SSD for better performance. The cloning software should clone all boot related drives successfully to ensure secure boot.
✩ Clone hard drive with different sizes. You may need to replace larger HDD with smaller M.2 SSD in some cases, so it must support cloning large disk to a smaller one.
✩ Supports MBR and GPT disks. If the target SSD is an M.2 NVMe/the PC is boot in UEFI mode/the source disk has Windows 11 installed, etc. you will need the software to support GPT disks, and even clone MBR to GPT disk without conversion.
✩ Hot clone. It allows you to clone a hard drive within Windows and use the computer to do whatever you like while the clone is in process.
✩ Optimize for the use of SSD. It will take care of 4K alignment for SSD partitions to improve its performance and protect lifespan.

And all steps are easy to follow in the lucid interface. Even a computer novice can do a great job. Windows 11/10, 8.1/8, 7, XP, and Vista are supported. Download the free trial to demonstrate these features:

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

*If you are runining Windows Server, please turn to AOMEI Backupper Server.

Important Steps for cloning Samsung M.2 SSD

One of the most important steps of the Samsung M.2 clone is to make it detected by Windows. Here are some precautions you need to pay attention to.

👉Make sure your system supports M.2 SSD. Motherboards using the recently released Intel z97 and AMD FX 990 chipsets support M.2 SATA and PCIe SSDs. In addition, there are numerous notebooks already supporting the M.2 SSD. You can check your system specifications and user manual to see if it is compatible with M.2 SSD.

👉The M.2 spec was designed to accommodate both a SATA and PCIe interface for SSDs. M.2 SATA SSDs use the same controller as the typical 2.5 inch SATA SSDs; M.2 PCIe SSDs use a controller specifically designed to support the PCIe protocol. An M.2 SSD can only support one protocol, but some PCs have one M.2 slot for SATA and one for PCIe. You need to connect your M.2 SSD to the right slot or you cannot even see the M.2 SSD in BIOS.

👉Download NVMe drivers for cloning. Windows 7 does not include the driver for cloning NVMe SSD, so you need to install NVMe first and then dopwnload the corresponding driver before cloning.

👉Make the partition style compatible with the boot mode. The partition style (MBR/GPT) of a disk should be compatible with the boot mode of the computer (MBR for Legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI). There are some relevant factors you should consider:

  • Booting from an NVMe PCIe SSD is supported on systems that support UEFI, so an M.2 NVMe should be formatted with GPT.
  • Windows 11 requires GPT/UEFI and Secure Boot modes, while Windows 10 does not requrie this.

Before cloning, please confirm what partition style you should use for the target disk. AOMEI Backupper supports cloning MBR to GPT/GPT to MBR without conversion, but depending on the circumstances, you may need to convert the partition style of the target drive to make it the same as the source drive.

To check the current partition style of a disk, just press Win + R to open the Run window -> type "diskmgmt.msc" and hit OK to open disk management -> right-click the disk you want to check and click "Properties" -> then, select "Volume" tab to check the "Partition style".

Disk Partition Style

❕ Important: when the Samsung M.2 SSD is installed successfully and cannot be detected by computer, you may need to do some changes in BIOS.
● Press F5 to open Default settings.
● Press F7 to open Advanced settings.
● In the Advanced tab, choose Onboard Device Configuration, and change SATA Mode Configuration to M.2.

Clone hard drive to Samsung M.2 SSD in Windows 10 step by step

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. Install and run this powerful Samsung M.2 SSD clone software. At the Home screen, click on “Clone” and then select “Disk Clone”. If you want to clone only OS, select “System Clone” instead.

Disk Clone

2. Select the source hard drive and then the target M.2 SSD in sequence.

Select Disk

 3. Check the option SSD Alignment, it helps to accelerate the reading and writting speed of SSD disk, and then click “Start Clone” to start the clone.

Start Clone

Helpful tips for Samsung M.2 clone:

Edit Partitions: Manage disk space and make the full use of the M.2 SSD. You have 4 options:

  • 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 you want. 
  • Convert the destination disk...: Convert the partition style of the target disk to make it the same as the source. 

Edit Partitions

Sector By Sector Clone: clone all sectors, used or not, to target disk. It requires target disk equal to or larger than the source. It also makes the edit partition unusable.

5. When the cloning is done, you can shut down the PC, replace the old drive with the M.2 SSD and boot from it.

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 old hard drive and keep it for storage.

If your old drive is partitioned with MBR, and your new drive is an M.2 NVMe SSD (GPT), then you should also change the boot mode from Legacy BIOS to UEFI.

boot order

Conclusion

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a great Samsung M.2 migration software to help you clone hard drive to Samsung SSD, and it only requires the used space of old drive is smaller than or equal to Samsung SSD. Thus, you can easily clone large HDD to smaller SSD with secure boot. 

In its advanced edition, you still can clone MBR to GPT or vice versa and make the cloned SSD bootable. And you can also edit partition size to make full use of unallocated space. Besides, you still can use the backup and restore methods to transfer Windows 10 to NVMe SSD when your computer has only one M.2 slot.