[SOLVED] Upgrading to PCIe SSD - Should I clone my boot drive (SATA SSD) or my main storage (HDD)?

Chris361

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I currently have a 240 GB SSD as a boot drive and a 1TB HDD for storage. I'm upgrading this with a 2 TB M.2 SSD. The new SSD is the Sabrent 2TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 (see link below):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sabrent-Rocket-Internal-Performance-SB-ROCKET-2TB/dp/B07MTQTNVR?ref_=Oct_DLandingS_D_606db655_62&smid=A1ES4VU2ZYV0RM&th=1

Ideally I would be able to transfer everything from both my current drives to the new one and just use the old ones for future storage if necessary, but from what I understand that isn't possible (or at least not simple) with normal cloning software. I'm considering the following options options:
  • Clone my boot drive (which also contains some programs) and manually transfer data from my HDD. This seems like the simplest way to have my OS run on my fastest drive, although I'm sure there's a lot of potential for problems when manually transferring data and programs.
  • Clone the HDD and leave the smaller SATA SSD as a boot drive. I know a PCIe drive should has better performance than a SATA SSD, but would I notice a significant difference as a boot drive? I know the change from HDD to PCIe SSD will be huge, but from what I understand most people won't notice the difference between SATA and PCIe in most day to day use.
I'm currently leaning towards the second option but I'm open to any suggestions. I'd greatly appreciate any advice on the best way to go about this upgrade or any potential problems with the options I outlined.

For some further context; aside from day to day activities such as browsing/Microsoft office use/etc., I mainly use my PC for photo editing (Adobe Lightroom) and gaming. Most of the storage on my current HDD is taken up by photos and game files.

Current system
Boot Drive - 240 GB Kingston SSD SATA 3
HDD - WD Blue 1 TB
Motherboard - MSI H170A PC Mate
CPU - Intel i5-6600K
GPU - AMD Radeon RX480 8 GB
RAM - 8 GB (soon to be upgraded to 16 GB)
Power Supply - Corsair CX550M 550 W
 

USAFRet

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Either option is possible.

1. Cloning from the current 240GB SSD to the new Sabrent.
What OS? Is everything currently working to your satisfaction?


2. Leave the OS on the current drive, and use the new one for - whatever. THis is the easiest path. YOu don't even need to "clone" from the HDD to the new drive. Copy/paste works for secondary drives. Swap drive letters around, and the OS on the 240GB will never know the difference. For your Lightroom, etc....this may be the best path forward. All your projects and games on the faster drive.
 

USAFRet

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Either option is possible.

1. Cloning from the current 240GB SSD to the new Sabrent.
What OS? Is everything currently working to your satisfaction?


2. Leave the OS on the current drive, and use the new one for - whatever. THis is the easiest path. YOu don't even need to "clone" from the HDD to the new drive. Copy/paste works for secondary drives. Swap drive letters around, and the OS on the 240GB will never know the difference. For your Lightroom, etc....this may be the best path forward. All your projects and games on the faster drive.
 

Chris361

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Thanks for the response. I should have specified, I'm running on Windows 10 and it's currently working well.

Is it simply a matter of copy and paste within File Explorer then change the letter in Disk Management?
 

USAFRet

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Thanks for the response. I should have specified, I'm running on Windows 10 and it's currently working well.

Is it simply a matter of copy and paste within File Explorer then change the letter in Disk Management?
For the OS drive, NO. Cloning steps below.

For the secondary drive, Yes. Copy/Paste, swap drive letters around.



For the OS drive:

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Specific steps for a successful clone operation:
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Verify the actual used space on the current drive is significantly below the size of the new SSD
Download and install Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration, if a Samsung SSD)
If you are cloning from a SATA drive to PCIe/NVMe, install the relevant driver for this new NVMe/PCIe drive.
Power off
Disconnect ALL drives except the current C and the new SSD
Power up
Run the Macrium Reflect (or Samsung Data Migration)
Select ALL the partitions on the existing C drive

If you are going from a smaller drive to a larger, by default, the target partition size will be the same as the Source. You probably don't want that
You can manipulate the size of the partitions on the target (larger)drive
Click on "Cloned Partition Properties", and you can specifiy the resulting partition size, to even include the whole thing

Click the 'Clone' button
Wait until it is done
When it finishes, power off
Disconnect ALL drives except for the new SSD
This is to allow the system to try to boot from ONLY the SSD
Swap the SATA cables around so that the new drive is connected to the same SATA port as the old drive
Power up, and verify the BIOS boot order
If good, continue the power up

It should boot from the new drive, just like the old drive.
Maybe reboot a time or two, just to make sure.

If it works, and it should, all is good.

Later, reconnect the old drive and wipe all partitions on it.
This will probably require the commandline diskpart function, and the clean command.

Ask questions if anything is unclear.
-----------------------------
 

Chris361

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Okay, thanks! I think I'll go with your original advice; leave the boot drive as is and use the new SSD for my secondary drive. I appreciate the help.
 

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