Glad to be of help.
Please just be sure to prepare for boot failure at Step 7, as a result of cleaning the old HDD to remove the EFI boot partition. To overcome this you will need to re-create the Boot Configuration Data on the SSD. This can be done by booting from the Macrium Reflect Rescue CD (see here) and running Macrium Fix Boot Problems, or by booting from a Windows 10 Recovery USB Drive (both created in Step 1).
Using Macrium Reflect it was a simple semi-automated process (see instructions here), whereas using a Windows 10 Recovery USB Drive is I believe a little more involved - but best to have both options available just in case! I was using the full paid-for version of Macrium Reflect, but as far as I can tell the Free version also has the ability to create and boot from a Rescue CD and includes the Fix Boot Problems option (see feature comparison list here)....
I hope it all goes well!
I hope you don't mind my reviving this thread after more than a year. I'm trying to install a 970 EVO in my XPS 8900 according to your excellent instructions, but unfortunately, my hardware isn't cooperating.
I have installed the 970 EVO and used Macrium to clone the original 250GB SSD. That all worked fine. But when I follow instruction #4, the computer does not boot to the new SSD, even if I try to force it by removing Windows Boot from the BIOS options, or physically removing the old SSD from the machine.
I suspect that the problem may related to the Macrium Fix Boot Problems item in #7. I have tried to accomplish that, but I couldn't get my PC to boot from a USB drive, and when I tried to create a Rescue DVD with Macrium, it wouldn't accept DVD+Rs, which are the only writeable media I happen to have.
I've looked for solutions to booting from USB drives, and haven't found any joy. Do I need to order some writeable CDs? Any other solutions you can suggest?
I am sorry to hear that you have got stuck!
Firstly, I am not clear about the PC configuration you are starting out from. You mention a 250GB SSD as being your original system drive - but is this NVMe or SATA, and do you also have a mechanical HDD for data?
Regarding the Macrium Reflect Rescue CD/DVD: I have created, tested and used both CD-R and DVD+R discs successfully. I use CD-R discs for my XPS 8900, but have to use DVD+R discs for my wife's Dell laptop because for some reason the rescue media for her machine is larger than will fit on a CD-R.
Thanks for the quick reply.
Sorry for not being clearer. I bought this system second-hand from a friend, and assumed (perhaps incorrectly, now that I think about it) that the 256 GB SSD that is the C: drive, was original to the system. It is a LITEON L8H-256V2G, and is in the M.2 slot (# 9 on the photo linked on page 1 of this thread). Was that the standard drive on a new XPS8900?
And yes, I have two 2 TB HDDs for my data.
In your experience, should I be able to see the newly installed 970 EVO, even if I can't boot from it? Because Windows does not see it (although Macrium can). Is that indicative of some other problem, or do you think that Macrium's Boot Fix will take care of it?
If the latter, I'll keep looking into why I'm not able to create a Macrium Rescue Disk or why the system won't boot from USB. (Any hints on the USB problem?)
Thanks again for your help.
Never mind. I got it working!
I wrote a fairly long post describing how I did it, but I forgot to click on "I am not a robot" before hitting Post, and I lost it. F**king forum software!
I don't feel like rewriting the whole story now, so I'll just thank Martin B for his help.
I am delighted that you got it working - but like Mas Alto I would be really interested to know what your solution was!
Certainly your system configuration is very different to mine, and I think it must have been upgraded by the original owner. My XPS 8900 came from Dell with just a single 2TB HDD, but the drive was "accelerated" with a 32GB solid-state cache. Nowadays this would be integrated into the HDD as a "hybrid" drive, but back then Dell's approach was to use a very small 32GB SSD in the motherboard M2 slot, set up as a RAID 0 array with the HDD using Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) software. I left this arrangement untouched in order to keep the HDD as a fast data drive (D:).
The 8900 M.2 NVMe motherboard slot is only PCIe x1, which is a bottleneck. It is therefore essential to use a PCIe add-in card for the new SSD in order to benefit from the full PCIe x4 speed for what will be the system drive (C:), and this is what I described in my original post.
One of the problems I mentioned above was that after installing the 970 EVO, cloning the boot drive to it with Macrium, and restarting the computer with the original SSD boot drive still in place, Windows Explorer didn’t see the 970 EVO. (Macrium did.)
I went into Disk Management, which said the 970 EVO was “Disk offline because it has signature collision with another disk online.” I.e., it was trying to be the C drive, like the original SSD it was cloned from. With a little Googling, I found that by clicking on the drive there in Disk Management, I could get Windows to automatically change the disk ID. (Thanks to Lead3 at answers.microsoft.com! https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/disk-offline-because-it-has-signature-collisio...)
But when I tried to follow Martin B’s step 4, set the new SSD as the boot drive, it still wouldn’t boot to the 970 EVO, not even when I removed the original SSD from its slot.
I needed to run Macrium’s Fix Boot procedure, as Martin B suggested, but I had problems creating working Macrium Rescue media. I thought a USB drive would be easiest, but I couldn’t get the computer to boot from the one I made. I wasted a lot of time trying to make that work. (Ultimately, I concluded that that drive couldn’t support EUFI for some reason.)
I also couldn’t get Macrium to create a Rescue disk on DVD+Rs, the only disks I have on hand. That turned out to be a shortcoming of Macrium’s disk burning routine. I created an ISO and successfully burned it to a disk with an external program.
So I was finally able to run Macrium’s Fix Boot routine, and it worked perfectly.
Everything has been running fine since Saturday, and after a few more days I’ll probably reinstall the original SSD, reformat it, and use it for quick storage.
BTW, because the 970 EVO is 500 GB and the original was half that, I’ve partitioned that extra 250 GB and set it up as a new data drive. Is there any reason to think there’d be any problems using a separate partition for data on the same SSD as the OS? It should be faster than my HDDs, right?
Thanks again to everyone for your help.
Thanks for posting your resolution. I had an easier time because I had created and tested my Macrium Reflect Rescue CD in advance (Step 1!).
There will be no problem keeping your data on the new SSD, either on the same partition as the OS or on a separate one. Indeed, I kept everything on the new SSD (C:) for 3 weeks to ensure that the system was working reliably before I formatted the old HDD (as D:) and moved my data folders across to it.
It is really a matter of data capacity rather than speed. 256GB is now generally regarded as the minimum comfortable size for a Windows 10 SSD system drive, while 512GB gives useful room for expansion as programs (and Windows!) get bigger. Because of the way SSD storage works, it is ideal if you can keep 50% of its space free to maintain optimum efficiency and best performance. While an NVMe M.2 SSD will be approximately 15x faster than a 7,200rpm HDD, this is most apparent in reduced boot time, snappy application performance and general system responsiveness. Opening data files will theoretically be faster from an SSD than from a HDD, but in practice I have found the difference to be imperceptible.
Enjoy your newly speedy system!
Too many sign ins etc , I don't like this forum anymore