I have a DELL Desktop Computer XPS XPS8920-7581SLV-PUS Intel Core i7 7th Gen 7700 desktop running Windows 10 Pro with the Toshiba 250 GB M.2 NVme drive as the C: drive and a 1TB hard disk as the D: drive. I have installed a couple of games and applications to the D: drive due to the size of the install files.

I am now planning to replace the Toshiba 250 GB M.2 drive with a Samsung 500 GB 970 EVO M.2 NVme drive.

The procedure I plan to use is to:

  • clone the Toshiba drive to a new Western Digital SSD installed in a hard disk bay
  • replace the Toshiba with the Samsung
  • clone the new SSD back to the Samsung

At that point I should have a bootable C: on the Samsung NVme drive.

The next step would be to move the games and applications from the 1TB hard disk to the Samsung NVme drive since I now have the space for them.

However it is not really possible to just move installed applications due to all the Registry changes that would be needed.

The two applications are Visual Studio 2015 and 2017 (both Community Edition) and the games are World of Warcraft, Destiny 2, and Fallout 4 (the last being a Steam download).

So I am looking for advice on these changes.

Alternative approaches

It seems that I have a couple of options:

  • clone the 1TB hard disk to the new SSD and just use the new SSD as D:
  • uninstall the games and applications then reinstall them to the new C:
  • create a D: partition on the new NVme drive and copy the installation folders there

The easiest approach would seem to be to clone the 1TB drive to the new SSD as D: and move on. However I would be missing out on the NVme goodness with the games as well as the Visual Studio programming environment.

The most straightforward approach would be to uninstall the games and applications from the 1TB hard disk and then reinstall them to the C: drive.

The applications are Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2017, both Community Edition. These would both be straightforward to uninstall from D: and reinstall to C:.

The games are World of Warcraft and Destiny 2 from Blizzard and Fallout 4 from Steam. These games will require long download time probably two or three days over my internet access. And I would have to start Fallout 4 all over again.

Concluding thoughts

Perhaps the best option would be to combine the first two options.

Since the Visual Studio uninstall and install would be fairly painless I could do that while leaving the games on the 1TB drive and then do the clone of the 1TB drive to the new SSD. Then at a later date I could move World of Warcraft and Destiny 2 over to the NVme drive.

I would think that working with Visual Studio would be easier and quicker from the NVme C: drive while the games would be quick and responsive enough if the game assets are on an SSD.

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    I would like to point out, with regards to WoW and Destiny, that you will have no problems with moving them and pointing to the new directories. As for Fallout, you would have to initialize a Steam library in the new drive and then move the installation via the provided interface. – fragamemnon Nov 23 '18 at 7:50
  • @fragamemnon with WoW and Destiny and moving them, are you talking about using a symbolic link to redirect from the old location on the D: drive to a new location on the C: drive? – Richard Chambers Nov 23 '18 at 11:35
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    Blizzard's Launcher has the option to "Locate the game" if it is unable to find it by itself. For the record, symlinking will work, too. – fragamemnon Nov 23 '18 at 11:47
  • @fragamemnon thank you, I found us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/18300736236 and I found mmo-champion.com/threads/… both of which document what you are saying from other people's experience. – Richard Chambers Nov 23 '18 at 14:53

What I would do, is:

  • Clone the system to the new NVMe drive (keep the partition size) and boot off of it
  • Shrink the current D: partition to match the size of the unallocated space on the NVMe drive
  • Clone it over
  • Change letters and expand the hard-drive partition back.

This allows you to skip any reinstallation of software and license de-/reactivation hassles, too.

  • The reason that I did not originally install the applications and games to the Toshiba NVme drive, C:, was due to a fear of running out of room on a drive of 250GB with Windows updates and other application installs. Your solution puts me back to where I am now with a concern over drive space on C:. I am not sure how realistic is my concern over sufficient room for the future so perhaps you could address that? – Richard Chambers Nov 23 '18 at 11:21
  • I've been using a 50GiB system partition for many years now. I have moved my %userprofile% to another partition and with careful software installation management and no Hibernation, I am at 11 free GiB. Running Windows 8.1. This also serves the purpose of preserving user data in case of an OS reinstallation. – fragamemnon Nov 23 '18 at 11:45

What I have decided to do to replace the existing Toshiba NVme 256GB drive (C:) with a new Samsung EVO 970 NVme 500GB drive (C:). I also decided that I wanted only a single drive letter partition on this new drive.

Looking at the existing Toshiba NVme drive there were six different partitions on the drive which included the actual C: drive, an image partition and a couple of support tools partitions for Dell Support. I wanted to keep all partitions but to make the actual C: drive partition larger while keeping the other partitions the same size.

The procedure I used was to replace the 1TB hard disk with a new Western Digital 500GB Solid State Drive to use for the cloning operations. The procedure used was:

  • clone the Toshiba NVme drive to the WD SSD, adjusting the partitions as needed
  • replace the Toshiba NVme 256GB drive with the Samsung EVO 970 NVme 500GB drive
  • clone the WD SSD to the Samsung EVO 970 NVme drive, adjusting partitions as needed

The first problem I ran into was finding cloning software that would work.

I first tried using the Acronis tool available from the Western Digital website. However that tool requires a restart of the computer after setting the cloning parameters and during the restart the actual cloning is done.

However during the restart and cloning step an error dialog displayed indicating that a drive was not ready. The result was I was unable to complete the cloning operation from the Toshiba NVme drive to the Western Digital SSD. I had the option to ignore the error and continue but I elected to cancel out to be on the safe side.

I believe the problem with the Acronis tool was due to the necessary drivers were not available to the tool. This leads me to think that the Acronis tool is best for applications involving SATA drives such as one hard disk to another, one SSD to another, or between a hard disk and an SSD.

Next I tried Samsung Magician which flatly refused to even start since neither the Toshiba NVme drive nor the WD SSD was a Samsung drive.

Next I tried using Macrium Reflex trial version and that worked just fine. The Macrium Reflex does not do a restart and clone but does the cloning while Windows is running and I think that this allows Macrium to work since the NVme device drivers are available.

I found both the Acronis and the Macrium Reflex user interface a bit unintuitive in modifying the partition size for the C: drive partition. The interface is a kind of drag and drop however it appears that you can modify a partition size only on the last partition you dragged over. Otherwise partitions are just put in one after the other and there will be unallocated space at the end.

My actual procedure was:

  • install the Macrium Reflex application to C: drive, the Toshiba NVme drive
  • shutdown the PC, move the SATA and power connectors from the 1TB hard disk to the new SSD
  • power up the PC
  • run the Macrium Reflex to clone from the Toshiba to the SSD
  • shutdown the PC
  • replace the existing Toshiba NVme drive with the Samsung EVO 970 NVme drive
  • power up the PC which booted from the SSD since the NVme drive was uninitialized
  • run the Macrium Reflex to clone from the SSD to the Samsung NVme drive
  • shutdown the PC, move the SATA and power connectors from the SSD back to the 1TB hard disk
  • power up the PC which booted from the Samsung NVme drive

At this point I have the new Samsung EVO 970 NVme as drive C: and the existing 1TB hard disk as drive D:. I plan to clone the 1TB hard disk to the 500GB Western Digital SSD in the next day or so.

Before I started this process, I took a look at where things were and discovered that Visual Studio was already installed on the Toshiba NVme C: drive rather than the 1TB hard disk. What is on the 1TB hard disk are the games and source code of Visual Studio projects.

I plan to try moving the World of Warcraft and Destiny 2 games from the D: drive (1TB hard disk) to the C: drive (Samsung NVme drive) to test how that works out.

Probably I will just then clone the 1TB hard disk to the Western Digital SSD and not worry about any other changes since the WD SSD is fairly fast anyway.

The result will be a C: drive in a partition of some 450GB on the Samsung NVme drive and a D: drive in a partition of similar size on the Western Digital SSD.

Other notes

The Samsung EVO 970 did not have a screw however I used the screw of the existing Toshiba NVme drive.

On the Dell XPS 8920 access to the NVme slot requires that the power supply cage be swung out and the installed graphics card be pulled. I required a second device to access the Dell support pages to refer to the procedure for these actions.

I did have a bad moment after replacing the Toshiba NVme drive with the unintialized Samsung NVme drive when on restarting the PC, I saw a text message about correcting the power connectors for the graphics card on the monitor. It turned out that the connector to the graphics connector was not properly seated as the connector from the motherboard was actually two pieces and the second smaller piece which was not integrated into the main connector block had not been fully seated. Once fixed, the PC booted and displayed the Windows sign-in prompt.

As I mentioned, the user interface for both the Acronis and the Macrium Reflex are somewhat unintuitive and I had to redo the clone settings several times in order to get what I wanted.

Also the Acronis tool from the Western Digital web site did not work with the Toshiba NVme drive.

My experience with Windows 10 was that Windows seemed to be able to automatically adjust to the change in the boot drive as well as the change of the drives such as going from hard disk to SSD as well as changing out the Toshiba NVme drive for the Samsung NVme drive.

What took the most time was working with the cloning software itself both when setting up the parameters for the cloning as well as having to download and install different cloning utilities.

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