What is NVMe?

NVMe, short for Non-Volatile Memory express, is the new standard host controller interface for connecting solid-state drives (SSD). It was first introduced in 2011 and now is built in as standard in many computers. Due to its high performance and low latency, many users want to clone their boot drives to NVMe SSDs to improve their computers' performance.

This article will show you how to clone your Windows 10 OS to an NVMe SSD as booting from an NVMe SSDs in Windows 10 is now super fast as Microsoft has optimized Windows to take full advantage of the new technology. NVME isn’t just limited to Windows 10 you can choose to use an NVMe SSDs in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 and Windows Server 2008 (R2), 2012, 2012 (R2), and 2016 as all systems are supported. Newer systems such as Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 have an NVMe driver built-in, whereas, if you want to use an NVME drive in Windows 7 or other older OS’ you will need to download an NVMe driver from the SSDs manufacturer first.

Requirements to boot from an NVMe SSD

If you want to use an NVMe SSD as a boot drive, you need to make sure your computer meets the requirements below:

  • Newer computer hardware. Though NVMe is compatible with older computers, it is preferable to have a Skylake chipset or later.

  • An M.2 PCI-E x4 slot.

  • UEFI firmware.

  • UEFI boot mode. If your computer is boot in Legacy boot mode, please enter the BIOS, and change it to UEFI mode after you have transferred Windows 10 to the NVMe drive.

Free specialist NVMe SSD cloning software

Choosing the right specialist drive cloning software will save you lots of time and effort when you clone your HDD to an NVMe SSD. We recommend using AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition as it has a range of excellent features to make sure the process is smooth and the SSDs performance isn’t reduced.

AOMEI Backupper can help you clone a larger HDD to a smaller SSD as long as the new SSD is larger than the data you want to transfer. if you only want to migrate the OS to an NVMe SSD, you can use the ‘System Clone’ feature, available in the Professional edition.

AOMEI Backupper is able to clone from an MBR system disk to a GPT disk (supported on the AOMEI Backupper Professional) with ease. NVMe drives only work with UEFI boot mode, so your NVMe SSD will have to be initialized in the GPT partition style if you want to use it to boot your computer. If your current system disk is in the MBR partition structure, then AOMEI Backupper will clone the drive and ensure that the SSD remains bootable.

AOMEI Backupper also doubles up as a backup manager with multiple powerful backup and restore features. These are handy when you want to clone an SSD to an NVMe SSD but your computer only has one M.2 Slot (which you are using to boot the PC). AOMEI Backupper can help you backup the original SSD to an external drive (connected via USB) and then restore the system to the new NVMe drive through the creation of a AOMEI Backupper bootable USB.

How do you clone Windows 10 to an NVMe drive?

While the cloning process is ongoing in the background within Windows you will still be able to use your computer as normal. You should keep in mind that all of the data on the NVMe SSD will be deleted during the cloning process – so you should backup any important data first. You can follow the steps below to migrate Windows 10 to your NVMe SSD.

1. Connect your NVMe SSD to the M.2 PCI-E x4 slot and boot your computer.

Install NVMe SSD

2. Download this SSD cloning software and run it.

3. Under Clone tab, select Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

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

Select Disk

5. Check the ‘SSD Alignment’ option which will fix any SSD alignment issues you could face and then click on Start Clone to begin the process.

Start Clone

When the process finishes, reboot your computer, enter the BIOS, and set the NVMe drive as the first boot device – now you will be able to enjoy the fast speeds and performance it offers! If you prefer not to clone the drive within Windows, you can create a bootable USB to clone your operating system to an NVMe SSD without loading Windows.

The advanced version of this free software, AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition, is able to move an OS to an SSD whilst leaving the data behind on the old disk (essentially turning it into an external hard drive).