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How to Install Windows 10 on A M.2 SSD (MiniTool Tips)

Drives SSD use interface M.2 are becoming more popular, due to its numerous advantages. They are miniature in size and do not take up much space in a laptop, mini PC or desktop computer case (they are simply installed on the motherboard), and allow to achieve speeds not available for "normal" 2.5-inch SSDs. If you are considering install your Windows 10 system on a M.2 SSD, keep on reading.

M.2 - What Are We Talking About?

You need to know that M.2 media comes in different formats (they can vary in length), as well as two basic variants - using the SATA interface (cheaper and slower) and using the PCI Express / NVMe interface (more expensive and faster). The current SATA interface allows for maximum bandwidth of 6 Gb / s, while PCIe x4 up to 32 Gb / s, so the difference in performance can be very large - just like the price. 

By the way, it is worth mentioning Intel Optane memories  (not to be confused with Intel Optane SSD), which have the format of M.2 media, but are used to accelerate the operation of disk HDDs. This technology only works on new Intel platforms - although Optane Memory media can also be used on AMD thanks to the competitive StoreMI technology - but it works surprisingly well, allowing significant acceleration of magnetic disks.

What Benefits can You Count on When Choosing the M.2 Interface?

First of all, the bandwidth of the new standard should be mentioned, which is much higher than in SATA III. All thanks to the use of PCIe connectors, through which M.2 SSDs communicate with the motherboard. One of them is the PCI express or PCIe connector. Unlike other PCI connectors, PCIEe is not a bus, but is directly connected to the controller itself, i.e.

the bandwidth does not need to be divided between several devices, which affects the connection speed.

Their construction as well as the mode of operation allow to deal with many problems that were typical of previous standards. As a result, the bandwidth of these drives can be from 1 GB / s to 8 GB / s. Obtaining specific parameters depends on the number of PCIe lines supported. We will achieve the highest performance when using PCIe 3.0 x4 models. However, even the slowest M.2 SSDs are faster than devices that use SATA standards - they guarantee maximum bandwidth of just 600 MB / s. All this means that even SSDs operating in the SATA III standard are not able to show their full capabilities.

For more information about M.2 SSD, you can read the post: M.2 SSD vs. SATA SSD: Which One Is Suitable for Your PC? – MiniTool

In the following section, I will walk you through how to boot from M.2 SSD or how to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD.

Ways to Boot from M.2 SSD

I will show you 3 ways to boot from M.2 SSD. If you don’t want to reinstall the OS to the M.2 SSD, you can try the first two ways. They will be much easier for setting M.2 as boot drive. If you want to perform a clean installation of Windows 10, please refer to the third way.

Way 1. Clone OS to M.2 SSD via MiniTool ShadowMaker

In order to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD, you can choose to clone the OS from your original disk to the M.2 SSD and boot from it. In this way, you would not lose any personal data and this way is also time-saving and convenient.

So, to clone OS to M.2 SSD, you can use the clone tool – MiniTool ShadowMaker, which can help you to clone OS from HDD to SSD without bringing any damage to the original data.

In addition, it is a piece of professional Windows backup software, being able to keep PC and data safe through creating backup images.

So, with so many features, just download it from the following button or choose to purchase an advanced edition.

Step 1: Install M.2 SSD on PC

To begin with, you need to install M.2 SSD on your PC. You can read the post How to Install an M.2 SSD on a Desktop PC to take a reference.

Step 2: Install and launch MiniTool ShadowMaker

  1. After installing M.2 SSD on your pc, you need to install MiniTool ShadowMaker.
  2. Then launch it.
  3. Click Keep Trial.
  4. Click Connect in This Computer to continue.


Step 3: Select clone source and destination

  1. After entering its main interface, go to the Tools page.
  2. Click Clone Disk.
  3. Click Source module to select the disk clone source. Here you need to select the original system disk as the clone source.
  4. Click Destination module to choose the target disk. Here, you need to choose the M.2 SSD as the target disk. Then click Finish to continue.

Step 4: Start to clone OS to M.2 SSD

  1. After selecting the clone source and target disks, click OK on Clone Disk page, then MiniTool ShadowMaker will begin cloning disk.
  2. Do not interrupt this process until it is finished.

When the disk cloning process is finished, you will receive the following warning message. It tells you that the source disk and target disk have the same signature, so please remove either of them. If you want to boot from the target disk, please change the BIOS setting first.

Step 5: Set M.2 SSD as boot drive

  1. After cloning OS to the M.2 SSD, you need to set M.2 as boot drive so as to boot from it.
  2. So, reboot your computer to enter BIOS. Start your computer and press the hotkey, such as F2 (It may vary depending on different computer brands) to enter BIOS.
  3. Then go to Boot tab to change the boot order. You need to set the M.2 boot drive as the first boot sequence.

When all steps are finished, you can boot your computer from the M.2 SSD. In this way, it is very simple for you to set M.2 as boot drive.

Way 2. Clone OS to M.2 SSD via MiniTool Partition Wizard

In order to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD and boot from M.2, we will show you the second way. In this way, you can also choose to clone OS to M.2 SSD.

MiniTool provides another tool for you to clone the operating system to the M.2 SSD. It is MiniTool Partition Wizard. It is partition magic, designed to optimize the partition and disk use, such as extending partition, performing data recovery, repairing partition and so on.

To learn the specific methods of how to clone OS to M.2 with MiniTool Partition Wizard, check post.

Way 3. Install Windows 10 on NVMe SSD

In the above part, I have shown how to set up M.2 boot drive Windows 10 in 2 ways. 

If you don’t want to use the original operating system and want to install a new one, try this method. Before reinstalling the OS, please back up your important files.

The tutorial on how to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD:

Step 1: Create Windows 10 installation media

Step 2: Install M.2 SSD on your pc

Step 3: Start to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD

After installing Windows 10 on M.2 SSD, you can enjoy better performance because M.2 SSD provides fast transfer speed.

M.2 SSDs for laptops 

Regardless of the high prices of M.2 SSDs (which will only decrease in the future), their capabilities make them really noteworthy. They guarantee much faster operation than the current device. All this means that they will be used primarily in gaming machines and machines that support specialized programs. However, it is worth remembering such a banal, but sometimes overlooked issue, like the specific "capacity" of the laptop, that is, the fact that all components should be not only compatible with each other, but above all adapted to the power of the equipment. In the event of poor ripping equipment and a heavy load, it is very easy to overheat the disk.

Final Words

To sum up, this post has introduced what the M.2 SSD is and shows you how to install Windows 10 on M.2 SSD and how to boot from M.2 SSD. If you want to set M.2 as boot drive and enjoy better performance, try these ways.

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Category: Data Recovery ServicesCompany about: MiniTool Solution Ltd. is a software development company based in Canada. As a dedicated software development company, MiniTool Solution Ltd. provides customers with complete business software solutions in the data recovery and partition management industry.
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