Do You Have to Reinstall Windows After Installing a New M2 SSD? [Check the Answer]

Do you have to reinstall Windows after installing a new M.2 SSD? This article will tell you how to install a new M.2 SSD to your computer without installing Windows. After reading this post, you can easily add an M.2 SSD to your computer without reinstalling Windows.

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For Windows 11/10/8/7

Updated by Jerry on Nov 10, 2022
 | Disk/Partition Clone

Can I Install a New M.2 SSD Without Reinstalling Windows

As SSDs get increasingly popular, more and more computer users prefer to replace the boot drive with an SSD for better performance. The M.2 SSD is a new generation of SSD. An M.2 SSD is much faster than a regular SSD. Besides, it is smaller, meaning users can install an M.2 SSD to a laptop computer without having enough room for a regular one. Installing an M.2 SSD will benefit you in more ways than just a fractionally faster Windows boot time. But have you been stuck on a question like "Can I install a new M.2 SSD without reinstalling Windows?"

m2 ssd

The answer is in the affirmative. You can install a new SSD without reinstalling Windows. If you do not have Windows on an M.2 SSD, you can image the existing hard drive onto your M.2 SSD. Once done, you can format your old hard drive and use it as storage. In the next part, let's check how to install an M.2 SSD without installing Windows.

How to Add in a New SSD Without Reinstalling Windows

If you want to install an M.2 SSD and use it as a primary drive, you should first transfer the operating system (OS) to the SSD via disk cloning. You can also transfer data onto your computer to keep the SSD on your computer. There is a simple way for you to transfer Windows installation to the SSD: it is called a system clone. To transfer the Windows system and files to your SSD, you can use disk cloning software to clone an HDD to an SSD. The following are the detailed steps to install a new SSD to your computer without reinstalling Windows.

Procedures Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Step 1. Connect the M.2 SSD to your Computer Properly Tools you need: USB-to-SATA cable or SSD enclosure...Full steps
Step 2. Clone Windows 11/10/8/7 from an HDD to M.2 SSD Here, we will present the system migration process via professional...Full steps
Step 3. Install the Cloned SSD After the cloning process, you need to replace the HDD...Full steps
Step 4. Boot your Computer from the Cloned SSD After finishing the SSD installation, there is only one thing you...Full steps

Step 1. Connect the M.2 SSD to your Computer Properly

Tools you need:

USB-to-SATA cable or SSD enclosure

You must prepare one USB-to-SATA cable or SSD enclosure for desktop and laptop computers to connect the M.2 SSD as an external hard drive. And for a brand-new SSD, Windows may require you to initialize the SSD to GPT or MBR for first use.

To initialize a new SSD:

  • Go to This PC > Storage > Disk Management.
  • Right-click on the new SSD and select Initialize Disk.
  • Select the MBR or GPT style.

initialize ssd

Ensure your new M.2 SSD partition style is aligned with the old HDD. Otherwise, the cloned SSD is prone to boot issues. 

To check the current partition style of a disk:

  • Press the Win + R keys to open the Run window.
  • Type "diskmgmt.msc" and click OK to open disk management.
  • Right-click the disk you want to check and click Properties.
  • Choose the Volume tab to check the Partition style.

check partition style

Step 2. Clone Windows 11/10/8/7 from an HDD to M.2 SSD

Here, we will present the system migration process via professional disk cloning software - EaseUS Disk Copy. It lets you easily install a new M.2 SSD on your laptops and desktops without reinstalling Windows.

  Free Download

For Windows 11/10/8/7

EaseUS Disk Copy is an easy-to-use disk cloning utility for Windows 11/10/8/7. You can utilize it to clone a hard drive, system, or partition within a few clicks. It enables you to do full disk and partition-level cloning and resize partitions when cloning a disk. In addition, it also lets you upgrade a hard drive to a bigger one and clone an HDD to an SSD. And it can also clone a hard disk with bad sectors and help migrate Windows 10 from one PC to another.

The following are the detailed steps to clone the Windows system to a new SSD.

Prior Notice:

  • The "Sector by sector copy" asks the size of your destination disk to be at least equal to or larger than that of the source disk. Leave this feature unchecked if you wish to clone a larger hard disk to a smaller hard disk.
  • All data on the destination disk will be completely erased, so take care.

Step 1. To start copying/cloning an entire disk to another, choose this disk as the source disk under "Disk Mode" and click "Next".

select the source disk and click next

Step 2. Choose the other disk as the destination disk.

select the destination disk

A message now appears, warning you that data will be lost. Please confirm this message by clicking "OK" and then click "Next".

click ok when a warning message appears

Step 3. Check the disk layout of the two disks. You can manage the disk layout of the destination disk by selecting "Autofit the disk", "Copy as the source" or "Edit disk layout". 

check the diak layout
  • "Autofit the disk" makes some changes by default on the destination disk layout so that it can work at its best status.
  • "Copy as the source"does not change anything on destination disk and the layout is the same as source disk.
  • "Edit disk layout" allows you to manually resize/move partition layout on this destination disk.

Tick the "Check the option if the target is SSD" option to put your SSD in its best performance.

Step 4. Click "Proceed" to officially execute the task.

click proceed to officially start

Step 3. Install the Cloned SSD

After the cloning process, you need to replace the HDD with the new M.2 SSD.

install the ssd

For computers with one slot:

You need to replace the old hard drive with SSD manually.

  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Unscrew and remove the back cover of your computer. You may need a screwdriver.
  • Install the SSD into the mounting bracket, and then screw it in.
  • Connect one SATA power cable to the SSD.
  • Close the cover and reboot your computer.

For computers with more than one slot:

You don't have to remove the old hard drive. Just shut down the computer, press the specific key to enter BIOS to set the SSD as the first boot option, and save the settings. After that, you can use the old HDD for storage or remove it.

Step 4. Boot your Computer from the Cloned SSD

After finishing the SSD installation, there is only one thing you should do, and that is let your computer boot from it. Reboot your computer to access the BIOS menu by pressing a specific key. The key differs depending on the brand of the computer.

Look for the boot options in the BIOS menu. Next, change the first boot option to the SSD, save the changes, and your computer will boot from the SSD quickly.

The Bottom Line

Do you have to reinstall windows after installing a new M.2 SSD? It is easy to add an M.2 SSD to your computer without reinstalling Windows if you follow the instructions. With the help of EaseUS Disk Copy, you can easily clone a Windows system from an old HDD to a new SSD. EaseUS Disk Copy is an excellent cloning tool available on the market. Do not hesitate to try it!

  Free Download

For Windows 11/10/8/7

FAQs

1. Can I swap m 2 SSD without reinstalling Windows?

If you use disk cloning software to help you install an M.2 SSD containing Windows on your computer, you can avoid reinstalling the operating system. This can help save time and effort, and you do not need to reconfigure the system to the original settings manually.

2. How do I initialize a new M 2 drive?

In Disk Management, right-click on the disk you want to initialize, then click on Initialize Disk. If the disk is listed as Offline, right-click on it and choose Online. It is worth noting that some USB drives do not have the option to be initialized because they get formatted and a drive letter.

3. Do games wear out SSD?

They wear out when you use them for reading or writing because games do much reading. Storing any data on an SSD can reduce its lifespan. 

4. Which lasts longer HDD or SSD?

In terms of numbers alone, an SSD can survive on average roughly 20 years while an HDD can live on average about six. However, these are not absolutes, and depending on a number of variables, you might need to replace your HDD or SSD more frequently or less frequently.

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How to Clone HDD to SSD on Windows 10/8/7