Cloning the NVME boot drive in a laptop with only one M.2 slot

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  1. Posts : 8
    W10
       #1

    Cloning the NVME boot drive in a laptop with only one M.2 slot


    I've researched this enough to know it's possible to clone the NVME boot SSD on my new Lenovo T14 to an external drive then somehow move that clone back onto a newer/bigger NVME SSD that I'd have swapped out into the T14. The boot drive has the latest W10 version (20H2, build as of a week ago).

    OTOH, I have a desktop with two NVME M.2 slots. Would it be a better idea to put the laptop boot NVME in one of the slots and the new bigger NVME into the other slot and do the cloning there? Any advantages to doing it this way? BTW, I've already taken out the boot SSD from the laptop with the intention of doing it this way but just thought I'd ask.

    I'll be using Macrium Reflect, which I haven't downloaded yet. I'm no stranger to building my own desktops but I've never cloned anything. Thanks.
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  2. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #2

    I'd use imaging rather than cloning.

    I wouldn't bother with getting the desktop involved unless you have no choice. I'm not sure what problems that might introduce.

    Make an image file of ALL partitions on the laptop's current boot drive.

    Save that image file somewhere; external would be fine. Or another internal on the laptop would be fine. I think even a big flash drive would work.

    Restore that image file to whatever drive you want to be the new laptop boot drive.

    Does the laptop have only 1 internal drive, regardless of type (SATA, NVMe, whatever)?

    Do you have an external?
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  3. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 4,387
    Windows 10 Pro x64 21H1
       #3

    Don`t clone, make an image of windows and store it on your external, then reimage to your new drive.

    Macrium Software | Macrium Reflect Free
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  4. Posts : 8
    W10
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Only one slot for a hard drive of any sort in my laptop, so any cloning or imaging would be done to an external USB drive.

    I just figured it'd be simpler to just clone from the boot NVME directly to the target NVME on my desktop with two M.2 slots--then install that NVME into the laptop--than deal with cloning/imaging over to an external drive, then taking out the original NVME boot drive, putting in the new NVME, transferring the cloned/imaged folder back into the laptop.

    But, of course, all of this speculation is coming from a guy who's never cloned or imaged anything. I've built 7 desktops but no cloning involved, it was all new installs of Windows on each.
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  5. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #5

    Cloning can work; but it's a bit less reliable than imaging.

    I'd go ahead and try the clone since you already are preparing for it.

    If it fails and won't boot, revert to imaging. Getting your desktop involved may or may not complicate the clone.
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  6. Posts : 8
    W10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    ignatzatsonic said:
    Cloning can work; but it's a bit less reliable than imaging.

    I'd go ahead and try the clone since you already are preparing for it.

    If it fails and won't boot, revert to imaging. Getting your desktop involved may or may not complicate the clone.
    Well, maybe someone here has actually done it the way I'm thinking of doing it and can speak from their experience. I can't imagine how using my desktop would complicate the process but we'll see.

    Can you explain to me why you think imaging would work better than cloning in this case? Thanks for your time.
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  7. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #7

    cloneguy said:
    Can you explain to me why you think imaging would work better than cloning in this case?
    Anecdotes reported on this site.

    Cloning may be simpler to execute----it's a direct copy to another drive that should then be bootable. No restore step.

    But it seems to have a lower success rate with greater likelihood of "it won't boot" and the turmoil from that.

    I've never cloned. I use Macrium only as a backup tool, not as a system-transfer tool.
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  8. Posts : 8
    W10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    I just downloaded Macrium Reflect 7 Free to the desktop I'm going to use. The most convoluted longest download/registration process ever. So, I have questions I want to ask the Macrium forum. But no, the forum is only for those with paid versions. Oh well.
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  9. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 4,387
    Windows 10 Pro x64 21H1
       #9

    In my opinion, it`s more work to use the Desktop, you said you have an external drive and if you are replacing the M.2 in the laptop, you`re gonna remove the old M.2 anyway.

    I see no point in using the desktop in this situation.

    What was wrong with downloading and installing Macrium, should take less than 2 minutes. You don`t have to register it.

    Ask your question here, we all use Macrium.

    Make your image, swap the M.2, restore your image, Done
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  10. Posts : 8
    W10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    "Make your image, swap the M.2, restore your image, Done"

    LOL. That's like me telling a newbie how to build their first desktop: just buy the parts and put it together, easy peasy.

    My mistake, if you want to call it that, was registering at Macrium. It took about 30 minutes all told with screen after screen needing me to OK this and that.

    Let's be hypothetical here: let's say you did want to use another computer with two M.2 slots. If I put both the original boot drive in one slot and the destination SSD in the other M.2 slot, is it total fantasy on my part to think I can use Macrium Free to just clone from that source drive to the other drive?

    Every discussion I've read and every video I've watched all were cloning inside the computer with the source drive they wanted to clone, like you're telling me to do. With a running install of Windows on that computer. Nobody discussed trying it the way I'm talking about.

    The problem I think might occur is that the two drives I'd be working with are not the installed Windows boot drive on that other computer and I wouldn't be able to defeat Macrium's insisting to only clone the on-going Windows install and I couldn't make it just concentrate on the two M.2's.

    If it did work, in my case that would seem to be the easiest way. And fastest, no USB involved. NVME to NVME inside the same computer, what could be faster? One clone process, done. If my laptop had two NVME slots I wouldn't be asking these questions.
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