How to Clone Windows from a Hard Disk to an M.2 SSD (and Keep It Bootable)


Today, we’re going to clone all partitions
of a hard drive to an M.2 SSD drive, including the bootable Windows partition.
I’ll use a free program called Macrium Reflect to perform the clone. In a
previously published video, I installed an M.2 2280 slot SSD module in a
brand new Dell Inspiron 5570 laptop. My intent is to use the fast SSD as my boot
drive, and to use the slow 5400 rpm 1TB hard drive that originally came
with the laptop as a secondary drive. Please keep in mind that I’m using the
Dell Inspiron 5570 specifically for this video. I’m basically starting in the
state where I left it in my last video. I’ve booted off the 1TB hard
drive after installing the M.2 SSD. In addition, I’ve created an account in
Windows so I can log in, and I’ve installed Camtasia so I can capture
these screens. Understand that we’re going to clone the entire disk as Dell gave
it to us – so that includes all the programs, drivers, and all the shovelware
that Dell has installed. Now if you want to remove certain programs before
performing the clone, that’s up to you. The first thing I’ll do is right-click
the Start button and select Disk Management. You can see that the 360GB
SSD is showing up successfully. We don’t need to initialize the SSD, nor
do we have to create any partitions, because Macrium Reflect will handle the
creation of those partitions during the clone – on-the-fly. What we’ll do is clone
Disk 0, which is the slow 5400 rpm drive, to Disk 1, which is the SSD. Let me close
this out, and we’ll spin up the web browser. Let’s begin by searching
for Macrium Reflect Free. Click on the first result –
which takes us to Macrium’s website – and download the version for Home Use. Let’s
then click the Save button. This is a relatively small file, which is just a
download manager stub that retrieves a larger installer later on. Click the Run
button, and using the defaults, let’s hit Download, after which the installation
process starts. Clicking Next installs the first
component, which is the pre-installation environment, or the PE components for
Windows. After that, it launches the Setup Wizard for Macrium Reflect.
Let’s click Next. We’ll accept the terms of the license
agreement; let’s choose the Home Edition; and we’ll register our software at a
later time so I’ll click No on this screen. Let’s keep the defaults for
installation, then click Next. Finally, click install. Let’s go ahead and Finish to close out
the wizard, and launch the actual program. Again, a registration screen pops up,
which I’ll skip for now. What we see here is Disk 1, which is the slow 5400 rpm 1TB
drive. The plan is to clone all six partitions over to the new drive
labeled Disk 2, which is our SSD. Remember – these drives were labeled disks zero
and one in the Disk Management screen earlier, and they’re now called Disks one
and two, respectively. So don’t get confused about the numbering – they’ve just been
incremented by one. Before you perform the clone, I highly recommend that you
create a rescue disk by going to Other Tasks, and Create Rescue Media from the
menu – just in case something goes wrong. I’m going to go through the steps of
creating it, because this actually saved me once as I was deleting partitions
that I shouldn’t have been touching. Let’s click Next;
then Next again to include the drivers; we’ll use the defaults here and click
Next, which builds the Windows PE image. This can take a little while, so I’ll
fast forward. After that completes, you’ll need to provide
either a USB drive or a blank CD or DVD. I myself like to use the cutting-edge
technology of blank CDs, so I’ll insert one into my CD/DVD drive, after
which I’ll click Finish. Burning the CD will take some time,
so let’s take a quick break. Once the CD has been written, take it out of
the drive and keep it in a safe place. The next step is to clone from the 1TB
hard drive shown here, to the SSD. Let’s click Clone This Disk, and then
select a disk to clone to, which of course is the SSD. Now the problem is
that the source drive is 1TB while the SSD is only 360GB, so
we won’t be able to do a bit-by-bit clone to the SSD. You’ll notice that we
have six partitions, the largest being the third one, where Windows resides. All
the others are in the megabyte or low gigabyte range, so by comparison they’re
negligible in size. It’s kind of misleading because the boxes
representing the partitions aren’t to scale. We’ll need to reduce the size of
the Windows partition to make everything fit into the 360GB space. We’ll
start by dragging and dropping the smaller partitions into the destination
box. By doing so, we’re leaving the remaining space for the final partition.
When I drag that down, it will automatically resize it to fit –
from 918GB down to 321 – using up all space
in the SSD. We can now click Next. You use this screen if you want to
schedule the clone on a regular basis, but for us, this will be a one-time
operation so we can skip it. After reviewing the summary, let’s click Finish.
We do want to run the backup now, but there’s no need to save the backup as an
XML since again, we’re only doing this once. Let’s click OK.
This starts the cloning process, which will take a while, so let’s put some pizza
in the toaster oven, and I’ll be right back. OK, the clone is a success, so I’ll
close the dialog boxes to show you that we have all six partitions copied over
to the SSD. Launching Windows Explorer and opening
This PC, you can see we’ve got the original 1TB drive and the
360GB SSD drive here. Now all we need to do is swap these two
drives, so let’s go ahead and restart the machine. When the Dell splash screen shows up,
you’ll need to press the F2 key to enter the BIOS. This is where we’re
going to swap the drives. Click on Boot Sequence, which
shows that the SSD is the second device in the boot order. What you’ll want to do
is click on the SSD and click on the up arrow to move it into first place.
In fact, I’ll go ahead and deselect the Windows Boot Manager to make sure that
the SSD is the ONLY device that we can boot from. I’ll go one step further and
enter the System Configuration, and then Drives, and I’ll disable SATA-0, which
is the 1TB hard drive – to prove that we’re booting from the SSD. Let’s
Apply the changes, Save as Custom User Settings. click OK, and then Exit – which
will reboot the machine. Now when it first starts, you’ll see this
screen. You won’t see the screen again upon subsequent reboots. What you’ll want to
do is click Continue in order to boot into the SSD. We’re back in Windows, and
though I haven’t shown you the elapsed time, it has booted much faster. Let’s
take a look at Windows Explorer, where the C Drive is indeed showing as 360GB.
The older drive of course doesn’t even appear, since it’s disabled
in the BIOS. Launching Macrium Reflect, we see the 360GB space, and we
also see that all six partitions have successfully made it over, including the
bootable Windows partition. The only thing left to do now is to re-enable the
SATA-0 in the BIOS, and that will give us the old 1TB drive back – which we
can then use as a storage drive. But before you start deleting partitions or
files from the slower drive, MAKE SURE to successfully boot from the SSD often,
and over a period of time. Either that, or make sure you create an image
of the original disk before erasing it. And always keep the rescue CD handy, just
in case you need it in the future. I hope you enjoyed – Thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “How to Clone Windows from a Hard Disk to an M.2 SSD (and Keep It Bootable)

  1. So I after I upgraded to ssd and did all the cloning, booted windows worked fine then when I wanted to shut down it just goes to the lock screen, after I resolved that issue I shut down the pc then wanted to turn it on I got an 0cx0000225 error good thing I made a backup, but I don’t want to go through that again, how do I ensure that it doesn’t happen again?

  2. How would I transfer my current OS (windows 10), which is installed on my Samsung 960 evo 250gb TO my new Samsung 970 evo plus 1TB? And can I use both at the same time afterwards?

  3. Great vid..I wonder if I can clone a 30gb partition to another 30 gb partition on a separated HD.. Basically not cloning a entire HD

  4. thanks for the tip the app worked great and now I can boot on the M2. It wasnt recognized to install windows10 before.

  5. My NVME m.2 resides on a PCIe card slot. Will I be able to boot from the slot. Windows 8 sees the drive but can I really boot to it?

  6. I've been struggling with this for some time. This video and software is amazing and explained exactly how to use the software. Thank you

  7. August 30th 2019. There is another program that I use call hdclone. That is a very good program what you do is get your new hard drive and a hard drive enclosure that they sell in Best Buy and many other electronic stores. You put your new hard drive in that and you plug it into your USB port and you run the program and it copies everything. All the windows program all the drivers it copies everything exactly the way your hard drive is in your old Hard drive.

  8. 2019 this video solved my problem, thanks!! only after that i extend my drive C from disk management… subscribed!

  9. GREAT VIDEO! I have one question, once I have done all that process, what can I do with my HDD in order to use it as a storage drive? I was thinking of deleting all the information that has in it so I can put new data in it to use it as storage drive, is that ok?

  10. Thanks for the clear instructions! i followed them and successfully cloned the hdd to ssd however, even after i deselect the hdd 0 from drives its still visible. its still booting from hdd

  11. How do I break down partitions, I have one disk with 900gb of stuff on it, and I’m trying to move it to the sad which is only 500gb, I need to break up the 900gb

  12. Ok, so I'm going the opposite way!! My Windows 10 boot drive Is on a 240gb SSD and I'm cloning to a 1tb M.2 drive. (smaller drive to larger)

    Drives coming this week and I'm using the same program to do the cloning. Will I have to stretch my partitions to fit the new larger drive? or will it just be a drag and drop?

  13. What if i'm adding a new Mobo/CPU/new main hard drive. Should i swap the mobo/cpu out, then log into my windows account. Then do this to swap out the SSD's to the newer one?

  14. Wait a minute, I thought cloning whist the drive is in use is not possible???

    Normally you have to do it before windows loads after a reboot?

  15. hi, I just bought a G3 dell 3579 and wanted to add an ssd since it doesn't have one, my question is "if I do this am I going to have issues with the windows activation?" I have read that some people have had issues with this and I do not have the key that the laptop was activated with from the factory. Thank you very much in advance and this was a pretty good tutorial, i would definitely be using it to clone my drive 🙂

  16. I had an experience in cloning hdd to hdd, some apps get crashed while using it. Is hdd to ssd will not get any error on the apps installed when you start using them? Why not install fresh OS?

  17. What if my old SSD already has windows on it? My new computer coming today doesn't have an SSD, instead it has windows already installed on the HDD

  18. Hi Sir, can you help me out? My SSD won't show up in BIOS. I've finished all the instructions on the video but when I enter the bios my ssd won't show. I'm using Dell laptop too and my bios version is 1.4.0 thank you.

  19. Hi! How can I clone an m2 nvme that boots my dell g7 windows to another m2 nvme that i bought for upgrade? My dell has only 1 m2 slot :(, please this is driving me mad

  20. Hi its me again, please I need your help I have cloned step by step as you show in your video but at the time I'm switching boot order it really doesnt change at all when I boot my pc it keeps booting with the HDD instead of the SSD.

  21. Did it !!

    Being a newbie, I've watched countless videos to try doing it myself. None of them was as informative and straightforward as yours. Will use it for few days then wipe the HDD for storage as you said.

    You've earn my respect! Liked and Subbed!

  22. So, to re-enable the old hdd, I have to do the same things I did to disable it, and just keep the ssd as the main boot option?

    PD: Best tutorial ever, thanks

  23. Will this Macrium Reflect 7 method work if you want to clone Windows 10 from a small sata m.2 ssd to a larger sata m.2 ssd (these are the slower ssd's, not the new improved, faster nvme type)? I only have one disk drive on my laptop, so I'm trying to clone to my larger m.2 ssd (target disk) that is in an enclosure, connected to my laptop via usb 3.0 port. I agree with some of your other commenters, your video is fantastic. I just can't find anyone asking about my, seemingly common issue anywhere on the internet…I've read, watched and researched my face off!

  24. I used minitool to clone my drive old intel 520 ssd to my m.2. One shot Excellent. Used the start of your video to guide me. Nice video and reference.

  25. Thank you very much!
    This guide worked perfectly for my Dell G3 3579, if someone needs some details I hope this helps:
    I used a crucial P1 500gb SSD M.2, and ignored the recommended cloning software.
    I did the cloning with all my personal files and programs (about 350Gb), and it took 13 hours but absolutely worth the wait.
    So far I haven't seen any problems and everything works faster than ever.

  26. this guy screwed me and my ignorance. i tried cloning from a smaller ssd to a bigger 1tb m.2 and now have my m.2 is gone. thanks.

  27. I have a crap Dell Optiplex 7010 at work, that my lead tech decided to place 1TB hybrid (ugh) drives in. I finally got my hands on an nvme drive and was able to place one in it. Everything I had attempted had failed, until I used this software. Although installation of the software seems a little sketchy, I was able to install software, clone drive, turn off PC, unplug old drive, turn on pc, boot, and verified it's using the new drive. Mucho thanks.

  28. I have a HP Pavillion windows 10 64 with all my programs on it such as FL STUDIO STUDIO ONE 4 n waves plugins programs will i beable to transfer to my new Laptop its acer predator helios 300 just wondering becuase my new one a gaming laptop n old one isnt

  29. Can't clone for some reason — Incompatible disk because my source is 512 (old HDD) while my target (SSD m.2) is 4096

    Damn that software which cannot support that!

  30. My new drive is bigger than my old drive. When i drag my OS partition though the size doesn't increase. Does this mean I'll have some extra space on my new hard drive that can't be used or will my OS partition expand?

  31. Thank you for the great help sir , but I have a question, I don't want to clone the entire drive I just want windows only with nothing else on the nvme drive, and then remove windows from the hdd
    any idea how can I do that?

  32. I am cloning a 256gb drive to a 2tb drive (both m.2 nvme). I just did this process of cloning the entire 256gb drive, and should have a remainder of 1.6gb. However, it is only showing up as 86gb that are used on a 133gb drive partition when it is seen from "this pc". Is there a way to reshape the remainder 1.6gb to be used as part of the C: drive?

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