Clone M.2 NVMe 256GB to M.2 NVMe 512GB

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Nine Layer Nige

This is a theoretical question, im not actually going to do it, but it puzzles me.

How would I clone a 256GB M.2 NVMe to a larger 512GB M.2 NVMe ?

I mean, the mobo only has one NVMe M.2 slot which has the 256GB stick in it so how would the target 512GB NVMe stick be connected to be able to clone the source ?


There are several options:

1) You would have to use an adapter from M.2 to SATA or M.2 to PCIe for the second drive.
2) You would have to dump system image to a file, transfer it to a regular SATA drive, remove M.2 SSD, boot from USB stick and then flash the image back to new M.2 drive from regulat SATA drive


There are several options:

1) You would have to use an adapter from M.2 to SATA or M.2 to PCIe for the second drive.
2) You would have to dump system image to a file, transfer it to a regular SATA drive, remove M.2 SSD, boot from USB stick and then flash the image back to new M.2 drive from regulat SATA drive



use Macrium reflect. works just fine.

Nine Layer Nige


option 1 could be a direct disk-to-disk clone
option 2 would be a disk-to-image-to-disk clone



Feb 16, 2017

I have done it a few times and it is not that easy...

Let's remember, we are talking Nvme to Nvme (Pcie) with just one M.2 slot, NOT Sata M.2 drives.

To all the "well wishers" wanting to chime-in with a USB to M.2 adapter which would be SATA, it will NOT work if you put new Nvme drive in it, so put it to rest.

Also, my technique uses an SSD temporary medium and NOT a Pcie Nvme M.2 adapter (for desktops), because I have tried to use my Asus "hyper M.2 x 4 Mini" Pcie (Nvme adapter) and it just would not recognize the new drive mounted on it, regardless of the BIOS settings and all, so I know from experience that the Sata USB adapter cable or Sata Craddle with a Sata SSD is the best method. (Maybe it was an issue with my Pcie lanes maxed out but still let's stay focused on the easy and most reliable method). Let's be honest, if you are at a point where you want to clone an M.2 Nvme drive to another, you are 95% sure to have an SSD laying around somewhere (LOL). For LAPTOP situation, the Pcie adapter route would not work, so this is why I offer my SSD procedure below which works equally for both desktops and laptops.

On feb 16 2017, I am just days to post a youtube video under my cac2244 ticker to show the mod I did on my MSI GE62MVR where I did exactly that, meaning cloning an Nvme 256 Gb M.2 drive to a 1Tb Samsung 960 Pro (Nvme).

In order to do the cloning, you need an at least equal sized drive, preferably an SSD (preferably a Samsung) because the free "Samsung Data Migration tool" software (i put link below) will do miracles for you. This Temporary Medium (or drive or disk, same thing, different ways to call it) is to allow to transfer the OS to the SSD, then back from SSD to new M.2 Nvme drive. Find the link for Samsung free software to be used with Samsung M.2 Nvme drives, including "Data Migration tool" to clone, "Samsung Magician" to test speed of your Samsung drives and the Nvme drivers that will help you maximize your speeds (these Samsung Nvme M.2 drives can easily reach 3.0 GB/s read and 2.0 GB/s write speeds.

That is the big picture, but let's go step by step:

1: connect a new clean temporary drive (preferably an ssd Samsung drive) to your computer (using an ssd adapter like the USB to Sata adapter Star-Tech USB312SAT3CB ). I prefer a Samsung drive because you would be able to use the free cloning software "Samsung Data Migration tool" software. The beauty of it is that it is free and that you do not need to restart the computer to start the cloning process. Acronis True Image will work with any brands of drives but is a more tedious process. Same with EaseUs software (i have premium paid version and all cloning attempts failed, unlike Samsung software and Acronis True Image that always work).

2: If your SSD disk is not clean or has data on it already and you are ready to proceed, you should clean the drive by going to windows and
a) run command prompt (cmd.exe) and run as administrator (by right clicking cmd.exe.)
b) type without quotation marks "diskpart"
c) type "list disk"
d) find the drive number that you want to "reset" by finding the corresponding number.
e) Type "select disk #" replace # by disk number you previously identified, 0,1,2,3 etc...
f) Type "clean" and it will clean / reset disk. This operation is not reversible, make darn sure you have the right drive and that you copied your data.
g) you are done... type "exit" and "exit" again until you get back to windows.

3: You are ready to clone now.
a) use your cloning software and make sure you identify your original M.2 SSD Nvme drive (usually we clone the OS / or C: drive) as the SOURCE , which is the disk that contains the information we want to copy.
b) after selecting SOURCE disk, your software will ask you to select the Target Disk, which will be your temporary disk (medium), which is the SSD you prepared for that effect. Then your software will tell you to start the cloning. Usually by clicking start it will tell you that the operation is irreversible and any data or partition on target disk will be erased...and you have to say "OK" and proceed, then your cloning software will start the cloning. You might be asked to restart computer, which most cloning software need you to do and is normal procedure, so just agree to that and restart.
c) Once cloning is done, we go to next step.

4) Turn your computer off and disconnect power supply.

5) Remove the original M.2 Nvme drive (that we just cloned on temporary media) and leave the Temporary Medium SSD drive connected.

6) Install your new and fresh Nvme drive (usually with a larger capacity and hopefully you went for a 1Tb Samsung 960 Pro or at least a 512Gb Samsung 950 Pro...LOL) Just to be on the safe side, handle the M.2 drive by its sides and avoid touching the Nand memory on the surface or the connectors.

7) Turn computer back on...duh!!! I have to mention it or haters will call me out...LOL.

8) Hopefully your computer and windows recognized the temporary drive as your OS drive. If it does not, then reboot while constantly clicking on "del" key or "F1" or whichever key you need to click on your specific machine to enter the BIOS. Once in BIOS, use your arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate and go into "BOOT" section and make sure you put the drive with "Windows boot manager" in it, which will be your temporary medium drive (SSD drive we just prepared). Get out of BIOS by using "save settings and exit". then you should reboot in windows that is on your Temp SSD drive.

9) Now redo cloning as explained in STEP 3 above, but your source disk is now your Temporary Medium (SSD drive on Sata) and your target drive is the new Nvme M.2 drive.

10) Once cloning is done, you need to turn off computer.

11) You need to remove Temporary Medium (SSD drive) and only leave the new Nvme M.2 drive because you cannot start with two drive with the OS (operating system / Windows)...or else more than likely, windows will refuse to see the new drive.

12) Restart the computer and windows should recognize the new Nvme M.2 drive as the boot drive. If it does not, just reboot and go to BIOS and change the boot drive as explained above in STEP 8.

13) If you installed a new Samsung Nvme drive (like the 960 or 950 Pro's ), then run the Samsung Nvme drivers as per the Samsung link I mentioned in the introduction. This will assure you of getting maximum speeds.

Optional steps

14) If you are smart...and you will want to put the SSD drive that we used as a Temporary Medium in your computer as a Data drive and who could blame we need to clean the drive as explained in STEP 2 and what I recommend is to just reconnect the SSD drive while computer is on and just connect using the SSD adapter or a "Sata drive USB 3.0 cradle" and once you connect it, windows will recognize it, but it won't like it because now you have two OS disks. Now just clean it by using STEP 2 and make darn sure that you clean the correct disk!!!

15) if you chose to keep Temp Drive and cleaned it already as per STEP 14, then you just have to power off the computer, disconnect the power and reinstall the drive permanently in your computer (desktop or laptop).

16) Once the SSD sata drive is back in computer, close everything and reboot and Voila!!....eeehhhh.....not yet! LOL

17) Once you reboot, probabilities will be that the new disk, even though is installed and clean, will not be recognized by windows and this is normal and easily fixable by:
a) right click on Windows start button (bottom left of your screen...but you know that.)
b)click on "Disk Management" by doing so, Windows will probably tell you it found a new drive and needs to initialize say yes and get it initialized.
c) Once the drive is initialized, you will now see it and you can right-click on it and then create a "New Volume" and follow Windows instructions, which should include naming the disk and to assign a drive are smart and if you made it so far, you will figure it out.

Close the Disk Management window and now you should see the new "data drive" SSD disk that we used as a Temporary medium.

TADA !!! You are done and successfully cloned your SSD drive and now are part of the few people who know how to do it...


Hope this helps...I have learned by doing it many times (and yes, I said a whole bunch of "French-Canadian" swear words while at it!).

Claude (cac2244 on youtube)

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