Solved Questions on Installing a Second NVME Drive

Fawnfire

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Aug 4, 2018
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My boyfriend has an Alienware Aurora with a 256gb nvme drive in it. He constantly runs out of space on his computer and has to delete and reinstall different games based on his preferences at the time. So for his birthday, I bought him a Samsung Evo 970 Plus (1TB) to fix this issue. The only problem now is that I'm not sure how he will be able to install this drive with the existing drive. Ideally, I thought he would be able to simply plug this one in to another slot on the mother board and he'd be able to use both at once, but his motherboard only has one nvme slot.

So, I'm looking for possible solutions to this problem. Neither one of us is too handy with this type of computer work. He has never worked on upgrading his PC before and usually I fix most of the technical issue that arise with some help from this kick ass forum.

Here are some options I've heard of but need more info on and I'm totally open to other suggestions as well.

1) Swap Drives Completely---Take the old hard drive out and replace with the new one. What happens to the stuff on his old hard drive? How do we move information over (mostly Windows itself) so that he retains all of the games/files he currently has?

2) Motherboard Adapter---Roughly ten bucks on Amazon. How can I be sure his motherboard will be compatible with this adapter? Will it be as fast as the nvme dedicated slot on his motherboard? How intensive is this install?

I haven't given him the gift yet since his birthday is still two weeks out, but I'm trying to figure out what this upgrade process will be like or if it's better to simply look for another gift.

Also, here is the info on the computer:

Tech Support Guy System Info Utility version 1.0.0.9
OS Version: Microsoft Windows 10 Home, 64 bit, Build 18363, Installed 20200216033520.000000-240
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz, Intel64 Family 6 Model 94 Stepping 3, CPU Count: 8
Total Physical RAM: 16 GB
Graphics Card: Intel(R) HD Graphics 530, 1024 MB
Hard Drives: C: 224 GB (18 GB Free);
Motherboard: Alienware 01NYPT, ver A00, s/n HN7NND2.CN7443169R038V.
System: Alienware, ver ALWARE - 1072009, s/n HN7NND2
Antivirus: Norton Security, Enabled and Updated
 

Gr3iz

Mark
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It sounds like you may need to create a backup image on another drive (an external, perhaps) of the existing small drive, then install the new drive and put the image back onto the new, larger drive.
 

crjdriver

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The above would the easiest way to go. One more item. After you restore the image, you will need to go to disk management and extend the partition into the unallocated space.

Another option would be to purchase an enclosure and or pci-e card for the drive. Use the samsung data migration software to clone the existing drive to the new drive.

First option is cheaper ie nothing to purchase other than the drive itself.
 
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Fawnfire

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Thanks for the replies! Is it particularly difficult to make a backup image? I have an external hard drive where I have backed up previous laptops or stored photos and what not. Can I use this to create the backup image and reinstall even though it has other information stored on it?

Also, how is the new image installed on the new drive if the new drive doesn't have Windows already installed? I've restored a PC before, but one already had Windows installed and prompted me for information.
 

crjdriver

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I use acronis true image for this task. IF one of your drives is a WD, you can download the free [proprietary] version of acronis from the WD site.
Quite easy to make/restore the image;
1 Make the image and store it on your external drive
2 Shutdown and install the new drive
3 Boot with the acronis boot usb [your external must be ON prior to boot]
4 Restore the image to the new drive
Done. Note you must extend the existing system partition into the unallocated space on the new drive.
 

crjdriver

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There are a few free imaging programs that should do the job as well. Macrium free should be able to do this task for you. I have not used macrium in quite a number of years so I am not sure if it can restore to bare metal. Perhaps someone with experience using macrium will post.
 

managed

Allan
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I think Macrium free can do this :- https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

You will need enough room on the external drive to store the Image file it makes. There are 3 levels of image file compression, I use the medium one which will create an image file roughly 60% of the original, about
135GB for your drive.

You make a recovery Usb stick (or DVD) from within Macrium, then later you boot using that to restore the image onto the new drive. That way you don't need to have a working Windows already.
 

Fawnfire

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Sweet thank a for through responses. I'm going to try to do this today using Macrium.

I'm going to use my external drive I have at home, but it has a lot of information on it. It doesn't have to be blank in order for this work?

My final question is through size needed for the USB. I have a few eight gigs lying around, would one of these work?
 

Gr3iz

Mark
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Your external drive does not need to be blank, you will be creating a files. You make want to put it in its own folder. The boot USB does not need to be very large. I think mine is on a 2GB drive.. Probably doesn't even need to be that large.

Best of luck!
 

Fawnfire

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Alright I'm working on everything now. I'm creating the back up image of the hard drive, but how do I create the USB to boot from?

After I boot from the USB, how do I restore? Does it restore straight from the USB or do I need to access the external hard drive after I boot with the USB?
 

managed

Allan
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To make the Macrium USB stick any size above 250MB will do, the ISO file is only 180MB.
Plug the USB stick in then in Macrium click on Other Tasks > Create Rescue Media and follow the instructions, the default settings are fine. The whole stick will be used so backup any files you want to keep first.
Connect the external drive now.
I prefer to boot to the USB stick to make an Image as well as restore an Image, that way it's running outside of the Windows OS and I think that is safer.
To make the Image select the whole drive then click on 'Image this disk', then select the external drive to save the Image file to, you can create a new folder on it first for Images if you like, do that in Windows.
Now you can leave everything at default but I like to use the Advanced option to do a Verify of the Image straight after it's made.

Now swap the drives over and disconnect the power lead from all other drives (if any).

To Restore you boot to the same USB stick and click on Restore on the top menu then on Browse for image file then select the correct Image file from the external drive, then select the drive you want to restore to and accept the defaults. It's a lot easier than it looks the first time !
 
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Fawnfire

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Sweet thanks! So I've got everything done. It went surprisingly smooth. :)

There is just one more thing I'm working on that I can't quite figure out how to do. I'm having trouble extending the partition of the OS into the unallocated space on the drive. I tried to go through Disk Management but the option isn't available for the partition I'm trying to extend. Is there a way I can extend this partition through Windows or do I need an outside program to accomplish this?
 

managed

Allan
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You can extend the partition with this free program :- https://www.partitionwizard.com/free-partition-manager.html

Download and install it then when you run it click on the green Launch Application 'tile' to start it.

In the program Right-click on the existing partition > Extend
then drag the right end all the way to the right then click on Apply at top-left, it will probably ask you to restart the computer, do that and when it restarts it will do the extending then boot into windows.
 

Fawnfire

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Thank you! Everything is working great now. Thank so much for your help guys!
 

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