This may be redundant, but I perused prior posts regarding installing SSD drives, and I'm still alittle fresh at this so I apologize in advance. I have a brand new 7573 2-in-1 that has a 2TB HDD running Windows 10. I want to install a PCle SSD into the open M.2 slot to use as the operating drive, but keep the 2.5" HDD as secondary for storage (music, photos, and movies). It is running everything off the HDD now, and I haven't performed the install yet. The SSD will, of course, be of lower capacity (256GB). Can anyone help me go through the process of achieving my goal if it's even possible? Thank You.
Very doable. You'll need a screw to fasten down the new SSD, which should be size M2x3, although some SSDs come with those anyway. After that, if you want to perform a clean install of Windows onto the new SSD, that will of course work, or you could instead clone your existing HDD over to the SSD, assuming your C drive plus other "auxiliary" partitions don't have more space actually in use than you'll have available on the SSD you buy. If you already have things on your HDD that you do NOT want to move over to the SSD, especially if they take up enough space to prevent this clone, it might be easiest to temporarily move them to an external hard drive and delete them from the internal HDD before performing the clone. If you have stuff you don't want on the SSD going forward but that will fit temporarily, just clone everything for now.
But whether you perform a clone or a clean Windows install, once you've got your OS running from your SSD, then you may want to consider wiping the HDD in order to get rid of all the "auxiliary" partitions it would have on it, which don't get drive letters assigned but would exist anyway. You can do that with the "clean" command in Diskpart. Then create a single new partition on that disk (or multiple partitions if you want), and put any data you want on the HDD back onto it.
Thank you for the quick response. I understood everything about transferring data over to an external if i needed it, but how do I clone, and how do I get the machine to boot using the SSD instead of what it's doing now (booting from the HDD)?
There are a variety of cloning tools out there; Macrium Reflect Free is a popular choice and as the name suggests is free. In terms of getting the system to boot from the SSD rather than the HDD, you can press F12 while the system boots in order to access the one-time boot menu and directly select the SSD as your boot device just to verify that everything works. You can double-confirm which disk you booted from because Windows always assigns drive letter C to the partition it actually booted from, and if you SSD and HDD are different sizes, then looking at that after you boot will be a giveaway. Once you've confirmed that works, erasing the HDD will certainly prevent the system from booting from that anymore, and then on a modern system that boots in UEFI mode like yours, the system should automatically detect the Windows environment on the SSD and start using it as the default boot device without you having to access the F12 menu. Worst case, the "Rescue Media" that you create as part of Macrium Reflect has a "Fix Boot Problems" function that will address that.
Thanx again for all the help. Do I install the new M.2 before I download the Macrium software? Or do I clone the HDD using some sort of cable to the new M.2? I viewed some videos where a cable was used to clone with, and the destination SSD was not installed into the laptop?
There's no economically practical way to externally attach an M.2 NVMe drive to the system.
You can install the NVMe drive and connect the hard drive externally (USB to SATA cable or box), and direct-clone, or you can make an image of your current system to an external drive, and use that to restore the image to the new M.2 drive.
The one must-not: DO NOT leave the original drive connected to the system when booting the cloned M.2 for the first time. You must remove the origin drive from the system and boot up with only the destination drive connected.
You should be able to clone the drive just fine from within the laptop. As he said, once finished, make sure to disconnect once you have shutdown after the cloning process completes. This way when you boot back up, you know it is booting directly from the new drive and you can make sure everything is working fine (should feel like nothing changed...only everything will be faster). Then insert the old drive and you can format it and use it for storage.
I wonder. Have you already tried removing the back panel from the laptop to access everything yet? If yes, how difficult was it? We have been tempted to remove the back of a new one we have sitting here (to check out the brand of memory and possibly max it out), but the back cover feels like it requires surgery to get it open.
NOTE: I forgot to mention something. Since you're moving from an HDD specifically to an NVMe SSD as opposed to a SATA SSD, that can create an additional wrinkle. Before you attempt the clone, press F2 while your system boots in order to access the BIOS Setup, and find the SATA Operation section. If it's set to RAID, you're good to go. If it's set to AHCI, then this gets a bit trickier because your existing Windows installation won't be set up to activate the NVMe class driver (since it resides on a SATA drive), so when that installation is cloned to an NVMe device, it won't boot because the correct driver won't be loaded. The reason RAID works is because it causes the Intel RST controller to abstract the SATA and NVMe interfaces from the system, so Windows uses the Intel RST driver instead regardless of whether you're using a SATA or NVMe drive -- but just changing your system to RAID mode now won't work; that's normally something that you would do prior to installing Windows from scratch.
If you're using AHCI mode, the paid version of Macrium Reflect includes a feature called ReDeploy that can address this since it's expressly designed to help tweak a Windows environment so that it will load on dissimilar hardware, but obviously that involves spending cash. However, if you decide you want to use that application going forward as a backup solution, you may decide that some of the paid features are worth the cost anyway for that use case. If not, then I don't know of another way to "prep" a Windows installation for being cloned to an NVMe device, so if your system is set to AHCI mode and you don't want to spend money, a fresh install might be the only option.
But regardless of that setting, if you still decide to clone, then if your system allows you to have both your HDD and an M.2 SSD installed simultaneously, you don't need to worry about attaching anything externally -- but some systems don't. If your system doesn't allow that, then as ejn63 said, external NVMe SSD enclosures are still very expensive, so you would instead want to do this:
- Buy a SATA to USB adapter. Since you're working with a laptop HDD, you can use an unpowered adapter, and those are only $10-15.
- If you're using Macrium Reflect, create Rescue Media on a flash drive and verify that you can boot it before proceeding, because you'll need it later. Press F12 during system startup to access the one-time boot selection menu.
- Shut down your system, remove the HDD, install the SSD, and connect the HDD to the SATA to USB adapter.
- Power up your system and press F2 to enter the BIOS Setup interface. Select the System Summary/Information section (should be the top item listed along the left column) and check the information displayed on the right to confirm that your new SSD is being detected. No point proceeding if your system can't see it.
- If that works, reboot and press F12 to access the boot menu, and boot from your Rescue Media.
- Connect the SATA to USB adapter to your system if you haven't already. Select the Backup tab in the upper-left corner, click Refresh if you don't see your HDD yet.
- Select the HDD, click "Clone this disk" and step through the wizard to clone to the HDD, resizing partitions as may be necessary.
- After the clone completes, if you decided to go with the paid version because your system is set up in AHCI mode, run ReDeploy and step through that wizard. If not, skip this step.
- Disconnect the HDD and reboot. If your system boots, you're golden. If not, boot into Rescue Media again and run Fix Boot Problems.