Disk cloning NVMe drives - veteren level - best cloning software?

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  1. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Professional
       #1

    Disk cloning NVMe drives - veteren level - best cloning software?


    I'm currently posting this from a relatively high end laptop with three SSDs in it. I know how to clone hard drives and have done so for years. As a consultant, I went out and bought a SATA cloning port and would image my boot drives all day long. I simply cannot tolerate the time to reinstall Windows and all other applications.

    The laptop I have now comes from the OEM with UEFI off. Their words: it's not worth the trouble. I agree.

    So, since I have not found yet a NVMe physical clone tool, I have my backup NVMe in a USB-C chassis. Recommendations for cloning software? All I want to do is clone to the new device and swap it as the boot drive.
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  2. Posts : 12,421
    Win10 Version 21H2 Pro and Home, Win11 Pro
       #2

    I haven't needed cloning software yet, use a drive dock with room for 2 SATA drives [don't know if NVMe drives will fit/have same slot fit as SATA drives]. It does a great job of cloning Byte for Byte and CANNOT be connected to any computer. It's USB 3 and has 3 ports in it to act as a Hub with 1 being a charging port. If cloning a working drive to a blank drive found it best to run Error checking and Optimizing first while still in the computer.
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  3. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Yes, in the past all of my boot drives were 2.5" SATAs and I have two cloning devices. Slap in the drives, push the button, go grab a beer - worked every time. I have yet to find a SATA / NVMe enclosure - just usb-c to NVMe. Guess I'll look again.
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  4. Posts : 19,209
    W11+W11 Developer Insider + Linux
       #4

    Better than direct cloning is to make full disk backup with a program like Macrium Reflect and then restore it to new disk while keeping the backup. MR is also very good at direct cloning.
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  5. Posts : 1,020
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2 19042.572
       #5

    I assume the OP is talking about cloning a internal NVMe to an external NVMe unit. I found this Robot Check unit. USB 3.1 should run pretty good.
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  6. Posts : 19,209
    W11+W11 Developer Insider + Linux
       #6

    storageman said:
    I assume the OP is talking about cloning a internal NVMe to an external NVMe unit. I found this Robot Check unit. USB 3.1 should run pretty good.
    Doesn't matter which kind of disk it is or connection, procedure is same. NVME is no different than any SSD.
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  7. Posts : 17,255
    Windows 11 Pro
       #7

    Macrium Reflect Free or MiniTool Partition Wizard (free).
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  8. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #8

    In fact, I have one of these external units, and it works pretty well. More on that in a sec.

    My last laptop - a Dell Precision M4700 - allowed nigh instant access to the SATA drive, and I could instantly drop it into a disk duplicator and clone it. My current laptop has the NVMe drive internal. As anyone who has an NVMe drive knows, you have to be extremely careful with the adapter hardware although the descriptions have gotten better. Ordered two "NVMe compatible" enclosures only to find they were B connector type. Interestingly, the product description on newegg was magically altered (note: I recommend when buying things from any online source that you capture the description screens and save them).

    So, the current laptop requires me to pull off the back of the unit (16 screws) to access the NVMe drive. I could use something like a disk duplicator for the NVMe drives (amazon has one (ACASIS typec USB 10G to NVME Dual-Bay NVME Docking Station for M2 SSD Key M) for $150 that looks like it would work pretty well. But, I'd prefer not to have to pull off the back.

    So, I went with an external VNMe USB-C (3.1) adapter and Macrium Reflect (free version). I was very impressed with the overall performance. MR cloned the 512GB drive in under 30 minutes. Not as fast as an offline clone device but within reason for weekly backups. I had tried MR and three others last year in an attempt to clone drives of two laptops. These laptops had UEFI enabled, and I simply gave up. All of the support information being provided was contradictory and being pushed by people who really didn't understand how UEFI interacted with hardware and Windows 10. It was ridiculous and left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Now, my laptop (Eluktronics - a boutique store of sorts) puts virgin Windows 10 on their machines with zero bloatware. They also don't bother with UEFI. I asked them about this and they said, "Nah, we don't use it. It's not worth the trouble." Even so, with UEFI disabled, there seemed to be something lurking in the BIOS. New NVMe would not boot. Could not even see it. Tried to boot the MR rescue USB, nope. Turned off UEFI and came to a completely different boot screen. I could see the drive, but it still would not boot. However, the rescue usb did boot, I did the repair, re-enabled UEFI mode and walla - it boots.

    So, all in all I think MR is okay, but I think the UEFI interaction with devices and OS' needs to be more clearly defined.

    I appreciate all the suggestions and feedback.
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  9. Posts : 19,209
    W11+W11 Developer Insider + Linux
       #9

    cgilley said:
    In fact, I have one of these external units, and it works pretty well. More on that in a sec.

    My last laptop - a Dell Precision M4700 - allowed nigh instant access to the SATA drive, and I could instantly drop it into a disk duplicator and clone it. My current laptop has the NVMe drive internal. As anyone who has an NVMe drive knows, you have to be extremely careful with the adapter hardware although the descriptions have gotten better. Ordered two "NVMe compatible" enclosures only to find they were B connector type. Interestingly, the product description on newegg was magically altered (note: I recommend when buying things from any online source that you capture the description screens and save them).

    So, the current laptop requires me to pull off the back of the unit (16 screws) to access the NVMe drive. I could use something like a disk duplicator for the NVMe drives (amazon has one (ACASIS typec USB 10G to NVME Dual-Bay NVME Docking Station for M2 SSD Key M) for $150 that looks like it would work pretty well. But, I'd prefer not to have to pull off the back.

    So, I went with an external VNMe USB-C (3.1) adapter and Macrium Reflect (free version). I was very impressed with the overall performance. MR cloned the 512GB drive in under 30 minutes. Not as fast as an offline clone device but within reason for weekly backups. I had tried MR and three others last year in an attempt to clone drives of two laptops. These laptops had UEFI enabled, and I simply gave up. All of the support information being provided was contradictory and being pushed by people who really didn't understand how UEFI interacted with hardware and Windows 10. It was ridiculous and left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Now, my laptop (Eluktronics - a boutique store of sorts) puts virgin Windows 10 on their machines with zero bloatware. They also don't bother with UEFI. I asked them about this and they said, "Nah, we don't use it. It's not worth the trouble." Even so, with UEFI disabled, there seemed to be something lurking in the BIOS. New NVMe would not boot. Could not even see it. Tried to boot the MR rescue USB, nope. Turned off UEFI and came to a completely different boot screen. I could see the drive, but it still would not boot. However, the rescue usb did boot, I did the repair, re-enabled UEFI mode and walla - it boots.

    So, all in all I think MR is okay, but I think the UEFI interaction with devices and OS' needs to be more clearly defined.

    I appreciate all the suggestions and feedback.
    Interesting use of NVME drive to use as external. I find it still to expensive for that although I use several SATA SSDs + USB 3.1 adapter for that.
    Did you try running some disk benchmark with it, AS SSD Benchmark 2.0.7316 Download - TechSpot for instance ?
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  10. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Professional
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Count Mike - you said "Better than direct cloning is to make full disk backup with a program like Macrium Reflect and then restore it to new disk while keeping the backup. MR is also very good at direct cloning."

    Explain. As a consultant, time is very much money. Having a spare device on my shelf gives me almost zero downtime. Why would I want to spend the time restoring to a new device, etc.? Honest question.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Whoops, posts crossing in the night - no, I did not do any performance checks. This is strictly for backup. Reading up on these devices, people were doing NVMe clones of 1TB drives in less than 10 minutes. The faster backups are, the more likely you are to do them.
      My Computers


 

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