What is NVMe?
Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) is the new host controller interface for connecting solid state drives (SSD). It was first introduced in 2011, and now many computers have it built in. Due to its high performance and low latency, many users want to upgrade to an NVMe SSD.
Since Microsoft’s effort on optimizing Windows 10 for SSD, booting Windows 10 from NVMe drive is super fast. This article will show you how to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD. By the way, NVMe is supported in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and Windows Server 2008R2, 2012, 2012R2, 2016. New systems such as Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 have NVMe driver built in.
Requirements for boot from NVMe SSD
If you want to set NVMe SSD as a boot drive, which is most of the cases, you need to make sure your computer meet the requirements below:
1. Newer computer hardware. Though NVMe is compatible with old computers, it is better to have Skylake chipsets or later.
2. UEFI firmware.
3. An M.2 PCI-E x4 slot.
4. UEFI boot mode. If your computer is boot in Legacy boot mode, you need to change to UEFI mode after cloning Windows 10 to NVMe drive.
Free NVMe SSD cloning software
Choosing a right drive cloning software will save much time and efforts. Here, AOMEI Backupper Standard is recommended. It provides excellent features to make sure the process is smooth without reducing SSD’s performance.
It allows you to clone from larger HDD to smaller SSD as long as the capacity of the SSD is enough for the used space on the source disk that you want to clone. If you only want to migrate OS to NVMe SSD, you can use the feature System Clone, which is only available in the Professional version.
It enables you to clone from MBR disk to GPT disk. As mentioned, NVMe drive only works with UEFI boot mode, so NVMe SSD has to be initialized as GPT partition style as a boot drive. If your current system disk is an MBR disk, this tool will perform the clone without the need to converting partition style while ensuring the cloned SSD remain bootable.
It also provides backup and restore feature. If you want to clone SSD to an NVMe SSD and your computer has only one M.2 slot which is connected to the current boot drive, then you can backup the original SSD to an external drive and use Backupper bootable media to restore it to the NVMe drive after you install it.
How to clone Windows 10 to NVMe drive?
The cloning process will complete within Windows, so you can still use your computer to do other things while cloning. As you may know, all the data on the NVMe SSD will be deleted before the clone starts if there is any. You can follow the steps below to clone hard drive to NVMe SSD.
1. Connect your NVMe SSD to the M.2 PCI-E x4 slot and boot your computer.
2. Download this SSD cloning software and run it.
3. Under Clone tab, select 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.
5. Check the option “Align partition to optimize for SSD”, which will take care of SSD alignment issue. After that, click on Start Clone to start the clone.
When the process finishes, reboot your computer into BIOS and set the NVMe drive as the first boot device and then you can enjoy the fast speed. If you prefer not to run the clone within Windows, you can create a bootable media to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD without loading Windows.