By Teresa / Last update September 23, 2021

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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 speed and low latency, many users would like to clone their boot drives to NVMe SSDs to improve their computers' performance.

NVMe SSD

This article will show you how to clone your Windows 10/11 OS to an NVMe SSD. Booting Windows from an NVMe SSD is now super fast as Microsoft has optimized Windows to take full advantage of the new technology.

Actually, NVMe is becoming the new industry standard for servers, laptop or desktop PCs, and even next-gen gaming consoles. So you can choose to clone SSD to NVMe in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or Windows Server 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), and 2016 as all the systems are supported. 

Newer systems since Windows 8.1 have an NVMe driver built-in (such as Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016), whereas, if you want to use an NVME drive in Windows 7 or other older systems you will need to download an NVMe driver from the SSD manufacturers’ website 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 works better with Skylake chipset or later.

  • An M.2 PCI-E x4 slot.

If your motherboard was launched a long time ago and can't meet the condition, you may need a PCIe x4 adaptor.

  • UEFI firmware.

Booting from an NVMe SSD is only supported on systems that support UEFI.

  • 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 10/11 to the NVMe drive.

Specialized NVMe SSD cloning software

When you decide to clone HDD to NVMe or clone SATA SSD to NVMe, choosing the right specialist drive cloning software will save you lots of time and effort. Here we recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional, because it has a range of excellent features to make the process smooth and ensure the SSD’s performance.

‚ėÖ 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¬†‚ÄėSystem Clone‚Äô¬†feature.

‚ėÖ As NVMe drives only work with UEFI boot mode, your NVMe SSD will have to be initialized in the GPT partition style if you want to use it to boot your computer. AOMEI Backupper¬†is able to clone from a GPT¬†disk to¬†GPT disk or clone from an MBR disk to GPT disk while ensuring the destination GPT disk is bootable.

‚ėÖ AOMEI Backupper also works as a backup manager with powerful backup and restore features. When you want to clone NVMe SSD with only¬†one¬†slot,¬†you can backup the original SSD to an external drive (connected via USB port) and then restore the system to the new NVMe drive through¬†a bootable USB¬†created by AOMEI Backupper. Also, you can choose to¬†clone Windows 10/11 to external hard drive and then clone it to NVMe SSD with a bootable USB.

How do you clone Windows 10/11 to an NVMe drive without reinstalling?

Before you migrate Windows 10/11 to NVMe SSD, please keep in mind that all of the data on the cloned NVMe SSD will be overwritten ‚Äď so you better backup any important data first. And this software applies to cloning¬†HDD to NVMe and¬†cloning¬†SSD¬†to NVMe (eg: clone SATA SSD to M.2 NVMe SSD) in simple steps.

Then you can follow these steps to clone Windows 10/11 from SATA to NVMe:

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

Install NVMe SSD

2. Install and launch this disk clone software. Under Clone tab, select Disk Clone to clone hard drive to NVMe.

Disk Clone

3. 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

4. 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 of HDD or SSD to NVMe SSD clone.

Start Clone

The cloning process is running in the background, you will still be able to use your computer as normal. Just wait patiently untill the process finishes.

Tips:

  • 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.
  • AOMEI Backupper¬†also allows you to clone NVMe to NVMe SSD with M.2 to PCIe adapter for better performance. And it is¬†able to move an OS to an SSD while¬†leaving the data behind on the old disk (essentially turning it into an external hard drive).¬†
  • If you want to clone Windows 10 to new computer, you need to be sure both computer hardware are very similar. Otherwise, you may encounter boot error after cloning.
  • If you want to perform disk clone or system migration on multiple computers conveniently, you could upgrade to Technician or Technician Plus version to create a portable version of AOMEI Backupper on removable device, then connect it to any target computer for direct use.

Boot from the cloned NVMe SSD

If you don't know how to boot from the cloned NVMe SSD or want to check if it's bootable, please refers to the following steps.

1. Shut down your computer completely.

2. Restart your computer and press the specified key to enter the BIOS. The key is usually F2, Dell, ESC, F10, etc. 

3. Go to the Boot option and set the cloned NVMe SSD as the first boot device. Then, keep the changes you made and boot from it.

If your computer boot successfully from the cloned SSD, you will be able to enjoy the fast speeds and performance it offers! Then, you can consider deleting all the data on the HDD and use it as storage.

Frequent asked questions about SSD to NVMe Clone

1. Can I install Windows 10 on NVMe SSD?

As mentioned earlier, if you want to clone HDD or SSD to NVMe and boot from it, there are some basic requirements need to be satisfied. They are: Newer computer hardware, M.2 PCI-E x4 slot, UEFI firmware and UEFI boot mode.

2. Can I put m 2 SATA to m2 NVMe?

The answer may be different due to the key of your SATA protocle. If the SATA protocol has the M key and/or B key, you can put it to NVMe. If it does not have either the M or B key, but others instead, you cannot. 

3. Is NVMe and M 2 the same?

The NVMe and M2 is not exactly the same. For NVMe, it's a protocol with faster transfer speed,  5 or 6 times than traditional SATA protocol. For M2, it's a more modern type of internally mounted expansion card using SATA or PCIe interface.

Conclusion

Many users would like to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD for its high speed and low latency. To simplify the process, specialist disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper could be a big help. It enables you to clone HDD or SSD to NVMe SSD with several clicks, or even transfer the operating system only.

In addition, it's still a free backup and restore software, which can help you protect your disk and data on it by creating a disk backup on external hard drive. Once something bad happens, you can restore the disk image to new hard drive and use it to replace the old disk.