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How to transfer a Windows 10 installation to a SSD NVME drive using Acronis

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I bought an NVME SSD and would like to know how can I transfer my current Windows installation to this new SSD, step by step?

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#1

Roger,

What have you tried ?  Anything ?

Have you tried removing the original Windows Disk, booting from your Acronis recovery media, selecting a Full Disk restore from your backups and pointing that restore to your new NVME SSD ?   

That is what I did and the recovery was perfect.  That would be a good first start to see if the simplest approach would work.

Regards,

Steve F.

 

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#2

Indeed the simple approach will work.  The main thing is that you have driver support in the recovery media used for the NVMe controller.  Intel has an almost monopoly on that.

Simple WinRE media created with the Media Builder Tool should carry over the required driver.  You will know if it did simply by the drive showing in the app once booted.  If you can see the drive then the driver loaded and restoring an image should be very straight forward from there.

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#3

Thanks for your responses, but, to avoid mistakes, could you please indicate me a step-by-step tutorial of how to do this?

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#4

In response to #1 and #2 reply; Are you saying I don't have to clone my original Samsung 960EVO 500 Gb to my newly acquired Samsung 970EVO 1Tb drive? Both are in my computer and I thought I would have to go through the cloning process. So far my 1 Tb is empty and your suggestion implies I could just restore one of my backups to the new drive (of course checking the BIOS for booting). Again they are both Samsung drives and I have their NVMe driver installed also. Am I overlooking something very basic?

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#5
JIMRX4 wrote:

In response to #1 and #2 reply; Are you saying I don't have to clone my original Samsung 960EVO 500 Gb to my newly acquired Samsung 970EVO 1Tb drive? Both are in my computer and I thought I would have to go through the cloning process. So far my 1 Tb is empty and your suggestion implies I could just restore one of my backups to the new drive (of course checking the BIOS for booting). Again they are both Samsung drives and I have their NVMe driver installed also. Am I overlooking something very basic?

No, you are not overlooking something.  The preferred method to migrate data from an existing disk to a new one is via a restore of an existing backup.  The clone operation is a one off exception to that method.  The issue with clone is that in some cases users become confused as to which drive is which when running a clone operation from the Recovery Media created on removable media.  In such a case they select an incorrect disk, either source or destination and end up overwriting a disk they did not intend to.  

It is possible to run the clone tool from within the Windows installed TI app.  The caveat here is that in some cases the computer will, after the user sets up the clone task, warn that a reboot is needed to complete the operation.  If that occurs the task should be aborted as a reboot is not necessary in this scenario.

If you run into the problem above, the workaround in most cases is to close the TI app and any other open apps, from the Windows Start menu select Sign out, this will take you to the Windows logon screen.  At the logon screen, click on the Power icon and select Restart.  When you see the logon screen again click on the Power icon again and select Shutdown.  After the computer shuts down, cold start it, logon, open TI and run the clone tool again.  If you still get the reboot warning, abort the task and use the removable Recovery Media to perform the clone task or perform a restore operation (recommended).

If you must use the removable media I recommend that you disconnect all drives except those needed for the operation ie., Source, Target, and Recovery media.

The above instruction applies to Windows 10.  If you are using Windows 7 I doubt that you will see the reboot warning unless your Win 7 install boots via UEFI then you may see it but even then I think the chances are very minimal.

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#6
rogeriodec wrote:

Thanks for your responses, but, to avoid mistakes, could you please indicate me a step-by-step tutorial of how to do this?

You will find detailed instructions for recovery of a backup image in the user guide beginning on page 87 Recovering disks and partitions.  I am including a link to the .pdf file below:

TI 2020 User Guide

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#7

Roger, I did an upgrade from a 1TB M.2 SATA SSD to a 1TB NVMe SSD drive a year ago. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll share exactly what I did before I finally got the NVMe drive to boot and what is probably the simpler, shorter, direct process to get it working. The key problem with making the change over is that the driver needed to boot the NVMe does not get installed when you do a clone or restore disk/partitions from the M.2 SATA drive. Kind of a "chicken and egg" problem. You've got to be able to boot drive to get the driver installed but you can't boot the drive because you don't have the driver installed. I bought a cheap ($14) M.2 SATA USB 3.1 adapter just so I have a way of quickly accessing my SATA drive files if I needed them, as an attached drive. You probably don't need this, but you can use in in the future to re-purpose your old M.2 SATA drive as a really nice, large, fast USB attached storage device.

I could not find anything online to make the move and it took a bit of work to transition from the M.2 SATA to NVMe device and get it to boot. I managed to get the laptop to finally boot but it was not straight-forward to do it. A better understanding of the Windows UEFI boot process would have helped. A good overview of this can be found at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/bringup/boot-…. I think I could do it now in a fraction of the time, but here is the process I went through that finally produced a bootable NVMe drive:

  * Cloned the m.2 SATA over to the m.2 NVMe with the old drive in a USB m.2 SATA adapter and the new unformatted drive plugged into the laptops m.2 port. I booted using my Acronis True Image 2018 WinPE rescue USB device and had it clone the old drive to the new drive.
  * The new NVMe drive would not boot. I've read a lot about this issue in cloning from m.2 SATA to NVMe. The issue was the new drive did not have the NVMe driver installed in the cloned image in the UEFI boot area or Windows partition.
  * I then did a fresh install of W10 (v1809) to the new NVMe drive using a MS W10 USB install media (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10)
  * I booted the Acronis Rescue Media again and this time I just did a C: image restore from the backup I had made of the old m.2 SATA C: drive. System still would not successfully boot but W10 Recovery screen presented me with some recovery options that were not present in the first clone attempt, allowing me to boot into "Safe Mode w/ Networking".
  * From there I ran DISM and then SFC on the drive and that fixed the problem. See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/947821/fix-windows-update-erro…. System was able to boot successfully and my laptop had all programs and settings in place from the old m.2 SATA drive.

If I had to do it all over again, I would
- start with the W10 fresh install from Windows 10 install media (this will get all the current drivers moved onto the drive).
- Restore C: image only (not the other partitions, other than just data only partitions...D:, E: ...)
- Boot into Windows Recovery mode and do a Safe Mode w/Networking. 
- Run DISM and the SFC that will get the NVMe driver loading the system instead of the m.2 SATA driver

I have not tried the Acronis Universal Restore which also seems designed to handle this problem as well (page 180 of the document referenced by Enchantech. The process listed on page 87 will not work when moving to dissimilar disk hardware.

The NVMe drive gave my 4 year old HP Spectre x360 new life. The performance boost was truly significant. It was worth the effort.
 

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#8

Well, as expected, it DIDN'T WORK.

The new SSD is being correctly recognized by Windows and it's showing up on my BIOS.

I could restore my entire C: partition to the new SSD using the offline recovering disks and partitions, booting from my current backup external HDD. (I restored the C: partition, but not the EFI partition).

Now I have 2 drives with the same Windows installation, however the boot from the new SSD is not being recognized.

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#9

Roger,

Why did you not recover the EFI partition?  That partition holds your boot code, without it your drive will not boot.

NVMe drives must use GPT formatted disks and boot via UEFI.  These are requirements by Microsoft.

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#10

It won't boot because there is no NVMe driver in the EFI partition. When you clone all the partitions from a M.2 SATA only the M.2 SATA driver is there, hence the NVMe will not boot. You don't have the correct driver in the EFI partition yet. The next step is to boot into the WINre environment. You can try booting into the "RECOVERY" partition that get's created when Windows 10 is first installed, but you might run into the same issue in booting that partition. You can also get to WINre from the Windows installation media (it might also be on the Acronis recovery media).

You want to select "Safe Mode w/Networking". Once your booted into that environment, you'll need to run a few W10 commands. See https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4026030/how-to-use-windows-recovery-environment-winre-to-troubleshoot-common-s

Make sure you do not have any other media plugged into the USB ports other than the recovery media (Acronis or Windows). The NVMe should show up as drive D: (that's why all the commands shown on the above referenced web page refer to D:).

You can probably skip the chkdsk command since you know the problem is simply the missing NVMe driver in the EFI partition. Just run the SFC and DISM commands. Thats what will get the NVMe driver installed.

I had to this exact process a year ago using Acronis 2018 cloning and recovery. It should get you a bootable NVMe drive. I'm really curious about the Acronis Universal Restore. It looks like it is designed to do this type of transfer of an Acronis backup over to dissimilar hardware.

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#11
Enchantech wrote:

Roger,

Why did you not recover the EFI partition?  That partition holds your boot code, without it your drive will not boot.

NVMe drives must use GPT formatted disks and boot via UEFI.  These are requirements by Microsoft.

Here are my current partitions:

The "C: C RAID" is my current Windows installation (2x SSD in Raid0). 

You can see there is already a "Z:" (EFI System Partition).

When I did the " offline recovering disks and partitions" I was unsure if I should create a second EFI partition, which would generate one more drive (Y: for example).
So should I have two EFI drives (z: and y :)?
How should I do it?

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#12

Roger,

With regards to your existing installation on the Raid array, I am not sure why your EFI partition has a letter assigned as normally this is not the case.  I also believe that True Image in performing a restore of an existing image of your current install to the new drive would not letter the EFI partition.  I am posting a screenshot of what you would normally see in this regard below.

Note that only the OS (C:) partition is assigned a letter as no other user partitions exist on this drive.  You will notice that there are an Recovery and an OEM partition.  This occurs when Windows upgrades itself.  The OEM partition holds the last state of the OS prior to upgrade in case a roll back in necessary.

The EFI partition holds the bootloader file for the C: OS partition and is an essential element in the boot process so it must exist on disk.

When you run that restore/recovery you should do so using the Acronis Recovery Media which you create with the Bootable rescue media builder tool in TI 2020.

You need to select all on the existing raid array for restore/recovery to the new drive during setup in the application.

Once completed you should shutdown the computer and disconnect the old Raid array before attempting to boot the computer to the new drive.  This will prevent the computer from being confused as to what drive(s) to boot.

It is good practice that when you do start your computer that you boot into the bios at first and verify that your boot order is set to Windows Boot Manager as the First boot device.  This will insure that the new drive will be the chosen device to boot from.  Once verified reboot the computer and your new drive should start Windows.

 

 

 

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#13

The reason it will not boot is that the image on the NVMe drive is an image of partitions from a M.2 SATA drive. The disk driver on the EFI boot partition is the M.2 SATA driver and the EFI boot loader is calling that driver. You need get the NVMe driver copied to the EFI partition and the loader modified to call it instead of the SATA driver.

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#14

Chris,

Roger has a different situation here than you had.  The image file he is using was created from an SATA Raid 0 array.  No M.2 form factor involved here. 

His mobo is an ASRock Z97 Extreme 4.  I assume that he has installed the NVMe drive in the provided dedicated M.2 slot on board.  This should work fine on this board.  If the drive were not showing up in the bios I would suspect a different problem.

The issue Roger will have after getting the drive to boot is that performance will probably not be what he expects.  That is due to the design of the Z97.  To get around that a bootable PCIe M.2 NVMe adapter can be used on most boards.

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#15

If I had known the nightmare it would be to achieve this simple goal, I would not have bought this card.
Something that was supposed to be very simple became very complicated.
And Acronis doesn't have any specific tutorials for this.
To make matters worse, I now realize that this card does not even reach 25% of the speed it claims to reach, however, my motherboard claims to allow this speed.
This way I will return the product and keep my old settings.

I thank the help of all you.

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#16

I might be misunderstanding what Roger is trying to do. I read in Roger's "full PC configuration" that the system had a Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB boot drive, which I just assumed was an M.2 interface, but obviously if it's a raid 0 with 2x 850 EVO's, that would not be the case. As you also pointed out, the new NVMe does not have the right number of partitions, so he did not clone all the required partitions needed to be a bootable drive.

However, the form factor won't matter. I do not believe you can directly clone from a SATA boot drive to an NVMe drive and expect it to boot. They are solidly in the "dissimilar" hardware arena and the drivers needed to boot the NVMe are not going to be in the EFI partition when all the partitions are cloned over to the NVMe drive. Am I wrong on this? To get that NVMe to boot, he will need to boot into WINre from a recovery media (not from the recovery partition) and run SFC and DISM to get the needed drivers loaded into boot section of the new drive, because they won't be in the EFI partition from a cloned SATA drive.

I was also making the assumption that Roger was trying to install an M.2 NVMe but I suppose it could be NVMe drive in a PCI Express card slot? I reread the post and there doesn't seem to be any information on exactly what he is installing. It probably doesn't matter other than possible performance expectations.

I don't have any experience moving from a bootable RAID 0  so there could be additional boot configurations issues from that as well, but SFC and DISM will probably clear up those issues if they exist.

Your comment on expected performance improvements (or lack thereof) is an interesting one. I think the M.2 port in that ASRoc Z97 is 2-lane PCIe, not 4? Going from a 2x SATA RAID 0 SSD configuration (??Gb/sec) to a NVMe (2-lane....~15Gb/sec?) might yield results less than expectations.

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#17

Roger,

To make matters worse, I now realize that this card does not even reach 25% of the speed it claims to reach, however, my motherboard claims to allow this speed.
This way I will return the product and keep my old settings.

The reason your performance is lacking is that the onboard M.2 slot on a Z97 chipset board (this applies to all of them) is simply limited by its use of the eSATA interface for the connection.  In other words, it does not use PCIe.  M.2 SATA boot is not supported by Z97.  So the manufacturers developed bios updates so that NVMe was supported which in turn brought bootability to the M.2 slot.  Downside is that the connection being eSATA cannot achieve the performance level that the NVMe is capable of.

You can get the full performance or near it, of the NVMe drive by using a PCIe adapter that supports bootable NVMe drives.  Some motherboards have restrictions on which PCIe slot can be used for this.

I take it from your reply that you did get it working even though it did not work to your expectations.

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#18

Chris,

I do not believe you can directly clone from a SATA boot drive to an NVMe drive and expect it to boot.

Cloning might well present a problem however, restoring a backup image does work.  I have done so myself without issue.  I have also done the opposite without issue.  I have not attempted cloning however as I have not had the need.

The form factors involved here SATA vs M.2 are not at issue.  Each one simply uses a different interface to transfer data.  As long as the machine bios supports PCIe boot, you can do either.

the drivers needed to boot the NVMe are not going to be in the EFI partition when all the partitions are cloned over to the NVMe drive. Am I wrong on this?  

The only drivers necessary to boot from PCIe are held in the UEFI firmware on the motherboard itself.  So manufacturers can implement that on chipsets that support it.  To get it to work several settings in the bios need to be made so that the boot feature becomes enabled.

 

WinRE and DISM tools are not necessary in any of the process here.  If you had to use such tools in your experience I would think that maybe your migration was done on an Win 7 installation.  Was it?

NVMe support does not exist for Win 7 without a patch being installed to support it.  Later versions of Windows do have native support for NVMe.

Drivers need to be present in Windows for things to work.  This does not involve the EFI partition on disk however.  These drivers are installed in the Windows OS partition like any other device driver.  

The fact that RAID is involved here is not a factor in most cases.  Some older iterations of RAID did not appear in software as a single drive and that presented issues.  Implementations where an array appears as a single disk however will migrate just fine to a single drive.

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#19
 

The migration I worked on was W10-64 v1809 SSD M.2 SATA drive to a M.2 NVMe drive using ATI 2018 tools. Win 7 has never touched these drives. All I can tell you is the native W10 NVMe driver did not exist on the boot area M.2 SATA drive and the only way to get it loaded to the cloned NVMe was to do the process I went through. The drives were a Crucial 1TB M.2 SATA and a Crucial1TB M.2 NVMe. I researched the internet for answers only to discover that this is a huge issue that no one had an easy direct process to solve.

I would love to know the specific steps you took to solve this SATA to NVMe conversion issue with no complications, as I ran into, for the similar SATA/NVMe conversions you did. I've got 10 PC's in the next 3 month's I've got to convert and any direct experience you have with this specific conversion would be greatly appreciated. 

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#20

Chris,

I reread your OP.  I note that in your case you worked on a laptop.  I believe this might explain the issues you faced.

To begin let me say that I am thinking your problem was a locked drive that would not boot.  That locked drive was the NVMe drive in the equation.  Your hint about booting into Safe Mode w/ Networking.  When an OS drive becomes locked booting into safe mode and then a simple restart will resolve the issue of a locked drive.

How did the drive become locked?  Not sure really.  I have experienced it on a few occasions but no definitive condition that I can point to as a cause.

If you look at the TI User Guide at cloning an image on a laptop they are specific that the target drive (NVMe in your case) must be installed inside the laptop and the source drive (SATA in your case) must be attached externally meaning an USB enclosure.  You can find this in the Disk cloning utility section 10.1 page 133 of the 2020 user guide.  This instruction has been present in the User Guide for a good number of previous versions of the product.

The above instruction should also apply to Image restores although I do not see it there.  Since most laptops only have a single hard drive in most cases, by following the instruction above there will only be one drive installed inside the machine.  As a result this lone single drive will be designated as Disk 0 or Disk 1 depending on the machine by the machine bios.  Laptops are notorious for needing to identify the installed OS boot device as Disk 0 or Disk 1.

In the case of modern laptops that support M.2 NVMe boot drives, these devices often have the ability to have an SATA drive installed in addition to the M.2 drive.  Many users wish to upgrade these machines to NVMe boot and SATA storage which is a great choice.  If this scenario applies to you then I would have the following suggestions:

When performing a clone or image restore:

  1. Remove the original source drive
  2. Install the target drive in the M.2 slot
  3. If an SATA drive is also installed remove it as well
  4. Attach a suitable USB enclosure containing the source drive for clone or drive containing the backup image to be restored.
  5. Attach the TI Recovery Media to an available USB port.
  6. Boot the TI Recovery Media making sure that you see UEFI in the media description in the boot menu
  7. Run the clone/recovery process as described in the User Guide
  8. After completion, shutdown the computer, remove the Recovery Media USB and the USB enclosure containing the source drive or image backup  (Tip: To shutdown the computer, close the TI app by clicking on the red X at top right corner of app window.  At the command prompt window type this wpeutil shutdown)
  9. Start the computer.

I have not performed the above on a laptop but I am confident it will work.  I practice this same procedure with desktops and have never had a failure.

I do advise that chkdsk /f be run on all partitions of the source and target drives (if target is formatted) prior to either clone or restore operation.  Any errors found need to be corrected prior to clone or restore operation.

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#21

Enchantech,

That's pretty much what I did. I bought a USB adapter for the M.2 SATA drive. I removed the M.2 SATA drive from the laptop and inserted the new M.2 NVMe drive (some additional background....there is only one M.2 disk interface inside the laptop. The laptop came with a 512GB M.2 SATA drive, which I had upgraded to a 1TB M.2 SATA a few months earlier before deciding to change that out for a M.2 NVMe). 

With my 1TB M.2 SATA boot drive, in the USB adapter, inserted in a USB 3.0 port on the outside of the laptop, I cloned the SATA drive to the NVMe drive. It failed to boot. I then tried a fresh W10 install, using W10-v1809 install media on top of the cloned image (effectively wiping out the cloned image). Voila!!! The laptop booted from the NVMe drive. I then "restored" my C: drive image from my ATI backup over leaving the other W10 partitions alone. Laptop would no longer boot. I attempted several other copy/cloning procedures and nothing would produce a bootable system on the NVMe drive other than a fresh W10 install. Any attempt to use restore one or more partitions from the M.2 SATA image results in failure. The only way I got the M.2 NVMe to boot using my old M.2 SATA image, was to run W10 recovery from USB media, go into CMD and run SFC and DISM which looked at the hardware and saw that the driver needed to boot from NVMe was not in the old M.2 SATA image.

I'm pretty confident at this point, based on my direct experience, that direct cloning will not work. Maybe Universal Restore might, but I've not tried that yet. I've moved hundreds of PC and server images over to new hardware, going back to pre-Windows (and pre-PC) O/S's, so I'm not a total newbie to DOS/Windows (my Linux and UNIX skills suck, by the way). I readily admit I can be wrong and there is a simpler way to make the move from SATA to NVMe (keeping the user's original image). In this case, I can only say that my direct experience says the process you laid out will not work. I don't have any extra hardware to run through your process that theoriticly will work, but maybe you can try it out if you have the parts/pieces. I can tell you that my process does work....though it may not be the most direct solution. This is going to be a growing issue as more people try to move from the cheaper M.2 SATA drives that vendors configured in their PC's, for the more expensive but dramatically faster NVMe.

If one of the users on the forum that is currently attempting to make this move can test your process and report back, that might be an ideal way to get more definitive data on what works and what doesn't. There seems to be a few that are currently trying to do this move.

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#22

Chris,

I cannot test this myself as I do not have a laptop that can make use of M.2 NVMe so that is my main problem with testing.

I can do this on a desktop but, I have already performed such a migration a good number of times on a few desktops without issue.

I could be wrong here to but I am going to suggest that it is likely you had failure due to the clone process not unlocking the drive after completing the clone process.  If you have a locked disk that disk will not boot.  Some times you will get an error message telling you this but other times you will not.

I have some questions, when your machine would not boot after you cloned the drive what did the computer do?  Get stuck on a black screen?  Get stuck on a blue screen? Show a message that no boot device found, press any key to continue?

When you finished the clone process did you have the option checked in the TI app to Shutdown the computer after completion?   If you did I believe that can contribute to a locked drive remaining locked after the clone process completes.

I have experienced the locked drive problem myself and in my case I found it by booting to a Win 10 install thumb drive I created.  It gave me the drive is locked error.  In my case I got the blue screen variety with an error message like the on below:

There are at least 6 ways to fix a locked drive but what I have found works more often than not is to simply boot into Safe Mode and once there simply reboot from the Power options menu.

You'll need a WinRE recovery drive to get into safe mode.  To create a WinRE recovery drive in Windows 10:

  1. In the Search box type Recovery
  2. Select the Recovery Drive App from the result
  3. By default the option to Back up system files will be checked.  You can uncheck if desired
  4. When you flash drive appears select it then click Next.
  5. A warning message will appear about all files on the flash drive being deleted. Click Create.
  6. When the process is finished click on Finish.

You can now use the WinRE recovery drive.  If needed to attempt to fix a locked drive:

  1. Boot the WinRE Recovery drive.
  2. Select Troubleshoot.
  3. Select Advanced options.
  4. Select Startup settings.
  5. Select Restart
  6. After your machine restarts you will see a list of options, select 5.

Once your machine boots into Safe mode, click the Windows flag - Power option - Restart.

If this methods works to unlock the drive then your disk will boot as expected.  If it fails, like I said there are other methods to pursue one of which mimics what you did.  The boot into safe mode from the WinRE drive works in all cases.  The primary reason for a locked drive is due to the improper shutdown of the OS drive.