Skip to main content

Cloning from SATA SSD to M.2 (NVMe) SSD - how to safely reset source drive for file storage?

Thread needs solution
Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

Hello, I got an XPG NVMe SSD (500 GB) and with it the Acronis True Image. I plan to use it to clone my Win10+files that are currently in a Crucial SATA SSD (also 500 GB) to the new NVMe SSD, from which I will always boot, but I'd also like to wipe the source SATA SSD and use it as additional storage space on the same PC. My question is: how can I safely do this, as there is a very clear instruction not to turn the system on with both SSDs connected, post cloning?

I read that in this case the best practice would be to connect my old SATA SSD through a USB adapter, but I don't have such adapter and by the logic of this recommedation, it seems the only concern is to prevent the system from booting from the old drive (since it will never boot from a USB drive), which would mess up the new drive (in my case, the NVMe SSD). Is that right? And if so, wouldn't it be equally safe if I (1) after cloning, disconnected the SATA SSD and turned the PC on with only the NVMe SSD connected, to ensure it booted from there; (2) turned the PC off, plugged the SATA SSD (old drive) back in the motherboard SATA port; (3) turned it on again but on the post screen made sure the boot sequence keeps the NVMe SSD as primary drive; (4) let it boot from the NVMe and then used Windows tools to wipe the SATA SSD clean ??

1 Users found this helpful
Legend
Posts: 81
Comments: 17515

#1

Pablo, welcome to these public User Forums.

Some important recommendations first:

Create the Acronis bootable Rescue Media and test that you can boot your computer from this.

See KB 61632: Acronis True Image 2019: how to create bootable media

Note: NVMe requires that Windows boots in UEFI mode, so check that this is the case for the existing SSD drive.

See KB 59877: Acronis True Image: how to distinguish between UEFI and Legacy BIOS boot modes of Acronis Bootable Media

Next, make a full disk backup of your current SSD to an external backup drive before you even think about starting to clone from it!  This is your safety net in case of errors etc!

See KB 61645: Acronis True Image 2019: how to back up files or disks

Once you have done the above, then install the new NVMe M.2 SSD in your computer and boot from your current SSD into Windows so that any additional device drivers are installed if needed.

At this point, you can use the new Active Clone feature to clone from within Windows from your current SSD to the new NVMe M.2 SSD without the need to use an adapter.

See KB 61665: Acronis True Image 2019: Active Cloning in Windows

Once the Active Clone is complete, then do a full Shutdown of your computer (press & hold the Shift key while clicking on Shutdown), then ideally, disconnect the current SSD temporarily then go into the BIOS settings and ensure that you have Windows Boot Manager from the NVMe SSD as your boot device and test that you can boot into Windows OK.

At this point, you should be able to shutdown again and reconnect the original SSD drive then either use the Acronis Rescue Media to boot the computer and use this to wipe the original SSD drive using the tools available, or else test booting into Windows with both drives (after again checking the BIOS boot settings and ensuring the original SSD is not the primary option!), then use Windows tools to format the SSD etc.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#2

I have a similar situation but my question is can I just simply disable the source disk in Bios instead of removing the physical disk before I boot up ?

Legend
Posts: 81
Comments: 17515

#3

Richard, welcome to these public User Forums.

The main reason for suggesting to disconnect the source disk rather than just disabling it, is that when you perform a clone, the disk signature is duplicated along with all the other data, so there is a risk of Windows detecting a disk signature collision if you boot with both drives still connected.

By booting initially with the source disk disconnected (or removed), you are allowing Windows to correctly recognise the new boot disk that you created using cloning, after which there should be less risk when you reconnect the original disk and want to reuse it for data etc.

See webpage: How to Change the Disk Signature of a Drive Without Losing Existing Data or Reformatting - for more information about disk signatures.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#4

Thanks for the reply, I have another question. 

I already have the new NVME installed and  running the correct Samsung driver, I want to transfer my existing sata SSD OS etc... to it. I have been thinking of the best way to do this. I already have an image backup on different drive and a usb Acronis boot stick

I was just going to use the Windows installer to format my existing OS drive and install windows on the new nvme drive, then recover the image to it

I am pretty sure there is an easier way just using the acronis boot environment, but not sure how

Legend
Posts: 81
Comments: 17515

#5

Richard, there is no benefit to installing Windows on your new NVMe drive if you intend to then recover an image to the same drive, as the first step of any recovery is to wipe the target drive.

Please see my earlier comments in this thread:

At this point, you can use the new Active Clone feature to clone from within Windows from your current SSD to the new NVMe M.2 SSD without the need to use an adapter.

See KB 61665: Acronis True Image 2019: Active Cloning in Windows

Once the Active Clone is complete, then do a full Shutdown of your computer (press & hold the Shift key while clicking on Shutdown), then ideally, disconnect the current SSD temporarily then go into the BIOS settings and ensure that you have Windows Boot Manager from the NVMe SSD as your boot device and test that you can boot into Windows OK.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 3

#6

ok thanks

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

#7

Thank you for the detailed information Steve, it worked just fine!

Legend
Posts: 81
Comments: 17515

#8

Pablo, thanks for the feedback, glad all worked well for you.

Forum Member
Posts: 7
Comments: 25

#9

I see people having problems cloning and often having them solved. I'd appreciate any insights.

I want to clone my SATA SSD to a slightly NVMe SSD. As it happens the NVMe is a Samsung 950 Pro which includes a BIOS extension allowing it to boot without an M.2 slot on the motherboard. 

I used the clone feature which ran happily. I then disconnected the SATA SSD and ensured that the boot mode is UEFI booted selecting Boot Manager Cloned (I may not have the words exact). It booted just fine. 

I wanted my backup to match the clone state so I waited until the next day when the next backup had occurred. 

I repeated the cloning and it just won't boot. It starts but cycles back to the BIOS and never finishes. As far as I can tell nothing changed except the clone is not made to an SSD that had been cloned before.

I have tried, removing all partitions. Wiping the SSD. I even tried a restore from backup but the NVMe just won't boot.

Is there anything subtle like sector size that might have been messed up?

I feel I'm really stretching.

Richard

Forum Hero
Posts: 68
Comments: 8096

#10

Richard,

I'm not sure exactly where you're at... could you clarify a little bit for us.

- Does the original drive still boot (can you boot the OS at all on any disk)? 

 If you have a working OS still... Make sure to take a new and current backup of it "as is" first and foremost. 

Could you also confirm what OS your using (i.e. Windows 10 home x64 version 1903 - all those types of details).

Could you also confirm how the OS is installed (is it currently legacy/MBR or UEFI/GPT)?  This link will help you determine which method.  https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/85195-check-if-windows-10-using-uefi-legacy-bios.html

- When cloning, are you doing this from Windows or rescue media?

- If from within Windows, is it forcing you to reboot to complete the process or is it doing everything during the logged on session?

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#11

Hi,

I have a related issue.

I recently bought a Kingston A2000 NVMe 1TB SSD, which uses the M.2 form factor. I installed the drive in the M.2 slot of my ASUS H97-Pro motherboard, changed the BIOS to use 4x channels, rather than the default of 2x. This meant the 2 PCIe sockets became disabled, which I was not using anyway.

When I booted the PC (Windows 10 Home) the new drive was available as a data drive. All good so far.

The reason I bought the drive was to replace my existing Kingston 2.5in 120GB SATA SSD, which is the current boot drive and is running out of capacity. I noted that the new drive came with an activation key for the Acronis True Image HD OEM software. I downloaded and installed the software, created a backup of the current 120GB boot drive onto my internal 3TB data HDD. I then created a standalone boot CD and booted from that CD and then cloned the 120GB drive to the new 1TB, NVMe. I used manual manipulation of the partitions so that the bulk of the drive was allocated to the boot partition, since my first attempt, using auto, allocated the bulk to a Recovery partition, even though I am sure I chose “Proportional”.

Next I disconnected the old 120GB SSD, changed a few parameters in the BIOS, based on info I found in internet searches. However, none of the changes I tried resulted in the NVMe drive appearing as a possible boot drive. I reconnected the old 120GB SSD, changed the BIOS back and booted the PC. I then opened the Windows disk manager to see what it reported for the NVMe, which was very similar to the 120GB SSD, except the word “boot” was missing from the main partition and the word “system” was missing from the “Reserved” partition.

I next spent a lot of time re-reading the Acronis manual and searching the internet and concluded that my problem was that the NVMe needed to use GPT rather than MBR and the 120GB drive I was cloning had MBR. Related to that issue, I had not previously understood the significance of the statement in the Acronis manual, which stated:

Warning! Your old and new hard drives must work in the same controller mode (for example, IDE or AHCI). Otherwise, your computer will not start from the new hard drive.

So I now believed I had to either convert my older 120GB drive to use GPT UEFI and then clone the drive to the NVMe or use a 2 step approach where I create a new drive with GPT UEFI and the operating system from the 120GB drive and then clone that to the NVMe. I may not have the terminology totally correct here.

I remembered seeing a reference to GPT in the acronis manual, so I reread that section and decided that the second option above was the easiest and safest path, since it did not change the original Windows disk. I connected a spare Western Digital 1TB HDD via a USB port, using a NexStar Hard Drive Dock. I changed the BIOS to boot UEFI mode and booted from the standalone acronis CD, and followed the procedure in the manual to clone my 120GB SSD to the 1TB HDD. So I expected the 1TB HDD would then have windows and use GPT rather than MBR to boot.

Next, I removed the 120GB SSD and replaced it with the WD 1TB HDD using the internal SATA cable, changed the BIOS CSM setting to boot using UEFI. However, there were no boot drives being listed at all, not even the CD drive. I tried a few BIOS CSM settings which also failed.

One of the BIOS CSM options I tried was: “Disabled”, which resulted in the following warning:

“Due to Microsoft Secure Boot regulations, ensure the Microsoft signed UEFI driver is contained in the plugged PCI-E based storage including M2 and SATA Express SSD’s before set the Launch CSM to [Disabled]. Otherwise, the PCI-E based storages will be only available for the data drive usage. Contact the PCI-E storage vendor for the UEFI driver availability details.”

I was a bit spooked by the warning and reset CSM back to [Enabled].

I decided to reinstall the original 120GB SSD and remove the cloned WD 1TB HDD and seek some advice before I fiddled around anymore. Upon reflection, I never tried setting CSM to [Auto], so maybe worth a try? Also, the above BIOS warning may in fact be a clue to the correct BIOS setting for when I do eventually get the NVMe correctly loaded with Windows and GPT.

Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry for the long explanation.

Forum Star
Posts: 130
Comments: 2911

#12

Thanks for the detailed explanation of the process that you used. It helps us understand the issues you are facing.

The OEM builds of ATI tend to use older versions of ATI rather than current version (ATI 2020 or the recently superseded ATI 2019). Therefore there can be differences in the way the OEM build you are using works.

Rather than cloning I prefer to recover to the new location as fewer things can go wrong.

To use an NVMe M.2 drive you have to use UEFI rather and legacy BIOS. This requires that the boot disk uses GPT. My recollection is when doing recovery there is an option to change to GPT. In the process there should be a UEFI partition created in addition to the Recovery partition.

From the description of the process you undertook it looks like the recovery media you created has drivers for the M.2 drive; only recent Linux versions of the recovery media have the necessary drivers. If the option is available with the OEM version I would recommend creating a Win RE recovery media rather than basic recovery Media. This will load all the necessary drivers so you can successfully use ATI.

If your motherboard has an Intel chipset then it is suggested you should use RAID rather than AHIC setting for M.2 drive (particularly ones that are NVMe rather than SATA); on some motherboards allow this setting to be done on a port-by-port basis (but I think that may have AMD chipset). With an M.2 NVMe drive I have not noticed any performance difference with AHIC v RAID.

Boot settings with NVMe: You select the Windows Boot manager NOT a specific drive.

Ian

PS I am assuming you are using Windows 10. If you are using Windows 7.1 the process is much more convaluted. 

 

Forum Hero
Posts: 68
Comments: 8096

#13

PCIe NVME drives must be GPT/UEFI in order to be bootable.  It sounds like the original Windows 10 OS is MBR/Legacy, if I read correctly?

If this is the case, you need to configure the Windows OS as GPT first (makes it easier to do this separately and test it can boot and all that first).  Acronis can convert a legacy OS to a UEFI/GPT OS during deployment... but in this case, since you're also migrating from SATA SSD to PCIe NVME, let's take it one step at a time.

01)  Take a fresh, whole disk backup - just in case - let's have  a current disk backup to fall back on

02) Convert the OS from legacy to GPT. 

You can do this by A) https://www.maketecheasier.com/convert-legacy-bios-uefi-windows10/

or B) using Acronis rescue media, restore your backup to the original Drive, but make sure to boot the rescue media in UEFI/GPT mode.  The restore should convet the OS install to UEFI/GPT.

03) Once converted and the OS is booting (you may need to go into the bios and tweak settings such as the boot order and pick "Windows Boot Manager" as the priority now).  Then, take a new disk image backup with Acronis and restore that to the new PCIeNVME drive.  Don't clone here - technically you can clone, but let's face it, it's not a clone, we're moving from SATA SSD to PCIe NVME so let's leave out the clone limitations (if possible).

04) Once the restored image is complete, disconnect the original SSD hard drive BEFORE ever attempting to boot either hard drive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then, reboot the machine and go straight into the bios - make sure the boot priority is "Windows Boot Manager" still or make the change and save.

You should now be good to go (hopefully)!  On some motherboards, you may need to cold boot the system (hold power button 20 seconds and release for a cold boot) - go into bios and make sure the boot priority is still good (again only with 1 hard drive connected - the original should not be connected at this point!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#14
Thanks Ian and Bobbo.

Today I made some progress but failed at the final hurdle.

I created a bootable Western Digital UEFI HDD with Windows 10 recovered from my Kingston 120G SSD.  I then successfully backed that drive up and recovered it to the Kingston NVMe. However, when I tried to boot from the NVMe there were no bootable disks listed in the BIOS.

If I examine the NVMe, using Windows Disk Management, it identifies as having a GPT partition style.  In addition the first partition is marked as a “Healthy (EFI System Partition)”.  The second partition is marked as a Healthy (Page File, Primary Partition)”.  These characteristics are identical to the WD bootable HDD I used as source for backup/recovery. I note that my original MBR 120GB SSD in addition has the word “Active” in the fist partition and the words: “Boot” and “Crash Dump” in the second partition.  Because the NVMe partitions are the same as the WD HDD, I am assuming these are correct?

In some of my readings I get the impression that the NVMe drive has some drivers imbedded in the firmware and somewhere in the initiation process those drivers get copied to operating system folders for use during the bootup process.  Is that correct?  The second last paragraph of Ian’s reply reinforces that impression.

I will explain the process I followed, in case someone can spot any error in that process:

1.    Used the basic (ie not the standalone CD) ATI OEM to create a backup of the 120GB SSD (ie MBR type with Windows 10).   There were 3 partitions;  Reserved, Main Vol (ie C drive) and Recovery.  Roughly 350MB, 111GB and 450MB respectively

2.    Used the basic ATI OEM to restore the above backup to a WD 1TB HDD. There were 3 partitions;  Reserved, Main Vol (ie C drive) and Recovery.  Roughly 350MB, 111GB and 900GB respectively.  In otherwords ATI expanded the Recovery partition rather than the Main Volume, which would have been my preference.

3.    Removed the 120GB SSD and rebooted using the WD HDD with BIOS CSM set for UEFI and then used mbr2gpt to convert the WD HDD from MBR to GPT.  I then confirmed the BIOS mode was GUID.

4.    Used Windows Disk Manager to delete the 3rd (Recovery)partition and extend the 2nd partition and rebooted to make sure the disk still booted.

5.    Used basic ATI OEM to create a backup of the WD GPT HDD and then used basic ATI OEM to restore that backup to the NVMe.

6.    Removed the WD HDD and entered the BIOS.  Checked the CSM settings were still set for UEFI.   Could not find any bootable drive.  Note:  I tried CSM set to “AUTO” and “DISABLED”, but both resulted in eventually being informed that the CSM setting needs to be change.

Finally a few reasons why I followed the above process, which was actually after trying several other processes that failed to get as far as the one above:

a.    I tried several times to use the ATI standalone boot CD to recover the MBR backup to a HDD as GPT, and the software actually implied it was doing just that.  However, the resulting disk was still MBR.

b.    My motherboard chipset is Intel and I have seen references to RAID options in the motherboard manual, but rather than introduce yet another variable, I decided to first try to get it working in the basic simple mode and then if there is value, look at changing it to RAID afterwards.

c.    In my original post I mentioned using the standalone CD to Clone the 120GB SSD (MBR) to a WD 1TB HDD (GPT).  That method allowed me to change partition sizes, but I realised after reading Ian’s reply that I should have used the Restore function, if I was to follow the manual instructions.  Using the Restore method did not give me the option to adjust partition sizes.
 

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#15

It just occurred to me that I probably should check I have the latest BIOS.

Forum Hero
Posts: 68
Comments: 8096

#16

Bruce, in the WD HDD, go into system information in Windows and double check that it is seeing the OS install as UEFI... Just to be sure.

https://www.eightforums.com/threads/bios-mode-see-if-windows-boot-in-uefi-or-legacy-mode.29504/

After that when using the rescue media to restore the backup of it to the PCIe NVME drive, make sure you are booting the rescue media in UEFI mode. That is KEY for a UEFI/GPT restore!

https://kb.acronis.com/content/59877

Bios can be finicky when switching from legacy to UEFI, but if the WD is booting in UEFI mode, then it should be possible to do the same with the PCIe NVME drive with the right bios settings.

Updating the bios can't hurt either (so long as it goes well, but bios updates are pretty safe these days).

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#17

Thanks Steve and Bobbo,

I had seen the Youtube video previously.  His Motherboard is the “Gamer” version but there does seem to be a lot of similarity in the BIOS. In fact I used it as a guide to changes I made when I first copied the operating system to the NVMe, although at that time I had incorrectly transferred the MBR to the NVMe.  In the many times since then that I have altered the BIOS I think I have the CSM setting sorted in my head. I just had another look at the video and am very surprised that the final settings he ended up with worked.  ie.  He set Boot Device Control to “Legacy Only”.  I tried it just to make sure and as expected it did not work.

And Bobbo, yes, when I boot with the WD disk the system info does indicate that BIOS mode is UEFI.
By “Rescue Media”, I believe you are referring to the standalone bootable CD I created.  In the final process that I used, as described in my last post, I did not use that CD at all.  All references to ATI were referring to the version of ATI installed on my PC.  See item a. towards the end of my last post as to the reason I did this.  ATI chose whether to use MBR or UEFI based on the source disk.

I tried a lot of BIOS setting changes today without success.  Tomorrow I will look into updating the BIOS.  Also, I notice from the ASUS site that there are a few drivers that are more recent than I have installed, despite my having updated them only a few months ago.  I’ll know in future to check the ASUS site first.

By the way, in the several occasions when I have used ATI to restore the operating system, regardless of MBR or UEFI, I notice that my bookmarks for Chrome have not restored.  Something I need to investigate.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#18

Steve,

I notice your reply did not appear in this forum.  I have seen it because I received an email advice that you had replied.

Beginner
Posts: 0
Comments: 6

#19

Some good news.  As soon as I updated the BIOS the NVMe drive became visible as a boot option.  Hence my PC now boots from the new NVMe drive.

Thanks to everyone for your help.

While I was looking at the motherboard documentation I noted that RAID only applies to SATA ports, so I don't think this is an option for me.

I also sorted out the Chrome bookmarks, but assume there could be other similar issues.

Is there a list of possible such issues?

Legend
Posts: 81
Comments: 17515

#20
Bruce Warren wrote:

Steve,

I notice your reply did not appear in this forum.  I have seen it because I received an email advice that you had replied.

I guess because I included a link to a YouTube video it got 'moderated' and may appear at some time in the future if someone actually reviews the linked video?

Good to read that updating your BIOS looks to have sorted this issue for you!

Normally, NVMe M.2 drives do use RAID to give best performance as I understand.