I have Dell G3 that comes with a 128GB Hynix M.2 SSD and Windows 10 preinstalled. If I clone the original Hynix using Acronis TrueImage to a 1TB Crucial MX500 will it work seamlessly? Can I just put the Crucial in an m.2 enclosure and clone to it , then remove the Hynix and replace it with the Crucial m.2 and expect the 1TB Crucial too boot up with no problems for the life of the computer? Is there anything I should know before attempting to do this?
If you're going to use an enclosure to perform the clone, I would recommend Macrium Reflect Free. UEFI systems boot very differently from Legacy BIOS systems, so you generally can't just install a new drive that you cloned while it was in an enclosure and expect it to boot from that device. On UEFI systems, boot options on internal storage are stored as paths to specific bootloader files on specific partitions of specific devices, and those paths have to be registered into the UEFI firmware. (UEFI-bootable USB devices work differently, which is why you don't have to register anything in your firmware before booting from them.) Macrium Reflect can create bootable Rescue Media, and that Rescue environment has a function called Fix Boot Problems. So if you perform the clone while the target is in an enclosure and then install that new SSD internally and find it won't boot, you can boot from your Rescue Media that you would've created beforehand and run Fix Boot Problems. It should find that new SSD and register the path to its bootloader in your system firmware.
A couple of other notes:
- Don't just clone the C partition. Clone all partitions on the source disk unless you have a specific reason for excluding them.
- Since you'll be cloning to a larger target, it's best to "stage" a clone that involves custom partition resizing rather than counting on doing it later. If your C partition is the last one on disk, technically you can extend it later, but if you have other partitions after the C partition, such as Windows Recovery and/or a factory image restore partition, then you'll won't be able to extend the C partition later because those other partitions will be sitting between your C partition and the free space -- so you'll want to resize the C partition as part of the clone operation itself. This Macrium KB article shows you how to do that, specifically Steps 4 and 5.
With Macrium Reflect free, you can feel secure that the clone will work the first time. I myself used and external NVME external case. it worked perfectly.
Since 2012 when I moved from ATH to Macrium Reflect I have never had a failure to Clone or Restore I have done many computers I myself have 2 desktops and 2 notebooks and one All in one I do a C partition back up before every window upgrade if things go bad and they do often restoring is just about 20mintes and I am recovered from any failure
As you'll see in the video MR is very flexible about setting up a partition to the correct size of your new SSD up or downsize.
Thank you for the replies. Extremely intrigued by Macrium backup software you guys recommend.
Is there a difference between the free and the full?
Have you been using the free the whole time and never had any failures to restore images? How many images would you say you guys have made and restored over the years?
Which version do you guys use? There's Macrium Reflect 7 Free Home and then a Business version.
Does Macrium have all the functions of ATI and more?
Has ATI failed on either of you and what makes Macrium succeed where ATI can't?
Any other advice to add?
And, also to Clintlgm, what make/model external enclosure did you use to clone to a larger m.2 that you use as your boot drive now and do they make it for SATA interface as well?
@wallsttrdif you're just trying to do a one-off clone of one drive to another drive that you'll be installing in the same system, then the Free version will do everything you need. But no the Free and paid versions aren't the same -- otherwise why would anyone pay for the paid version? 🙂 There's a nice feature comparison chart here if you're curious about what the other versions offer. The paid features mostly come into play for people who want to use Reflect for routine backup/clone operations rather than one-off operations. It's handy to have full system image backups because it means if something ever renders your system unbootable (bad app install, bad Windows update, malware, user error, etc.), you can quickly restore your entire system. On that subject, the Rapid Delta Restore feature is also a godsend for that scenario, an even more so for people who need to perform restores on a regular basis because they test applications or something. Whereas most imaging applications perform a restore by writing out the entire partition, Rapid Delta Restore means Reflect can analyze the current state of the disk and then make only the changes necessary to essentially roll it back. So if you're restoring a large partition from a recently created backup, that operation might take hours on another solution (including Reflect Free), but it would take only a couple of minutes on a paid version. And the ReDeploy feature included in paid versions can be handy for people who want to migrate to a new PC.
I've used Reflect for the last few years and support multiple clients who also use it. The only time I ever had a restore failure was when I was trying a new-at-the-time BitLocker Live Restore feature (another feature that I think is exclusive to Reflect) to restore onto a partition that I had shrunk since the time I captured the backup I was restoring. That failed, but disabling that new feature allowed the restore to work -- and after I reported the issue as a bug to Macrium, they had it fixed shortly thereafter. That's actually a big reason why I like Reflect so much. If you look at their forums (free to view, but you need a paid license to join as a contributor), the Macrium personnel who post there aren't just customer support reps. They're the actual developers. In fact if you see posts from Nick at Macrium, he's their founder and CEO, on top of being a developer. I haven't seen any other software that's so widely used where customers get that sort of access to developers, and where the developers actually incorporate customer feedback into products. I've personally submitted several bug reports and feature requests over the years there and have seen the overwhelming majority of them implemented. When I was involved in beta testing Reflect 7.2, I submitted literally dozens of bug reports and feature requests just during that program, and Macrium addressed/implemented all of them except one tiny suggestion to update the Create Rescue Media icon not to use an optical disc anymore since flash drives were more popular. They said they'd do that whenever they refreshed their overall artwork.
As to how it compares to other solutions, I haven't used personally used other imaging solutions in a while because Reflect has basically never let me down. But I've seen multiple posts in this forum and especially the Macrium forum from people who have come from other solutions -- primarily Acronis, AOMEI, and EaseUS -- because they found those solutions to be unreliable and/or hard to use, and they find Reflect easier, faster, and much more reliable.
Hands down MR is superior. Free edition lets you make unlimited Disk images and Difrental back up. Paid which I use for 5 computers Not the business version. Business is very expensive and intended for Servers. When you get ready to buy in look for discount coupons it pretty easy to find 20% off For paid you get support and support forum. Some other features and Incremental backups. Many people get by on just the free version. I use for my back up solution local. So I pay for it.
Heres a tip for you, that link I gave you for How to use MR, that forum is as good or better for help with MR as MR is. Post your questions there until you spring for the paid version. The author of that tutorial is very helpful and Most of the regulars in that forum use and help people with MR. The product is well supported
@wallsttrd in addition to my reply above, I just saw your last question. Yes there are M.2 SATA to USB adapters, which is easy because SATA to USB bridge chips have been around for a while. There are also M.2 NVMe to USB adapters, although from what I've read they seem to be a bit shaky thus far. I guess the chip makers haven't really nailed down NVMe to USB bridging yet. I haven't seen an NVMe to USB adapter from a vendor that I normally trust for this type of product, like StarTech or Plugable. But I haven't seen ANY adapter that works with both M.2 SATA and NVMe. At the moment it seems you can only have one or the other. As an IT person and general tech geek who often ends up helping friends and family with their PCs, I would love to see a single adapter or "drive dock" that had connectors for M.2 SATA, M.2 NVMe, mSATA, and regular SATA, and could convert any one of those at a time to USB. That would cover basically any storage solution I might come across. I contacted StarTech and they said they like the idea but that they're still waiting for NVMe to USB to get a bit better before putting their name on a product like that -- so the wait continues.
If you can't find a good enclosure or don't want to buy one but you DO have either an external hard drive or a network file share, you could always use Reflect to capture an image of your existing drive to a file on your external hard drive or network share, then shut down your PC, swap your SSDs, boot your PC into your Macrium Reflect Rescue Media, and restore that backup onto your new SSD. It'll take longer since it's not a two-step operation rather than a direct clone from source to destination, but it might be more convenient for you.
I can vouch for this NVME to USB enclosure. As mentioned, any of the USB to SATA should work.
I used this one to clone from my original 512gb m.2 NVME to my current 970 1TB and continue using it as a 256GB external drive its very fast if you have a fast port to hook it up to I have 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 with Display port 5GBS speed this external drive uses all that speed which is useful if your transferring files SSD to Ext SSD. My clone took about 15 minutes.
As of this writing, the enclosure linked above is listed as unavailable. But upon checking StarTech's website again, it seems they now offer an NVMe to USB enclosure, namely this one. I haven't used it, and it only works with M.2 NVMe rather than M.2 SATA, but if I needed this type of device, I would be buying this one because StarTech has never let me down with stuff like this.