I just want to make sure I won't break things. So, basically, my old laptop decided to die a couple weeks back and so I promptly replaced it with a new one.

The problem is that I still have some valuable data for the University lying around and I failed to push recent changes to my github repo before everything died.

So now I want to extricate SSD (Samsung EVO 960) from the old laptop and temporarily insert it into the vacant m.2 slot in my new laptop.

Will the presence of Windows 10 on the second SSD cause any issues or conflicts? I'm not exactly sure how UEFI will react to this.

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    Not an answer to your question directly, but you can get a USB Hard Drive enclosure to pull your data off of. Something like this is cheap and effective: amazon.com/Sabrent-Tool-free-Enclosure-Optimized-EC-UASP/dp/… – WernerCD Apr 6 at 10:51
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    Should not be a problem. Just ensure that the boot selection points to the drive you actually want to start. But I did the same thing a while ago (with an HDD and an SSD with both windows), and it worked flawlessly – Hobbamok Apr 6 at 11:42
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    @WernerCD great idea, but it looks like theirs is an M.2, not SATA, so something like this would be more appropriate: amzn.to/3dGnS7P – Cody Apr 7 at 18:49
  • @Cody yeah, I should have amended my comment here with a pointer to the comment on the accepted answer as the same ideas are presented there (including a link to a random enclosure which would hold an m.2). not only didn't I read the answers before commenting but I also didn't circle back and fix my comment lol – WernerCD Apr 7 at 20:36

Assuming a different Windows license (old Windows license, new machine with new Windows License), there is not any issue.

Still, for clarity for you and for the longer term, install, get your data in a reasonable time and then remove the drive or format it.

The reason is (a) the old license may not run properly on the new machine and (b) if it was OEM, the license is not portable anyway.

You should not have any issue.

  • Some UEFI firmware throws a fit if it finds multiple EFI System partitions. – Ben Voigt Apr 8 at 21:07

You will not have any issues. UEFI is set to boot from the first m.2 SSD. The computer will not attempt to boot from the new drive. Windows will boot from the original drive, it will see the new drive and assign it the next free drive letter. You will then be able to copy any data you need from it.

Of course, all of this is assuming you didnt use any sort of encryption on the drive or its files.

Alternatively, you could put the m.2 drive in a USB enclosure like this.

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    UEFI is set to boot from the first m.2 SSD. The computer will not attempt to boot from the new drive, why? Shouldn't the OP check this instead of assuming it? – Muscicapa Striata Apr 6 at 9:07
  • ahh added a comment of my own about a USB enclosure. glad to see I'm not the only one to think of it. – WernerCD Apr 6 at 10:53
  • Thanks a lot for youranswer. One thnig to note about the enclosure - it doesn't support nvme drives which my SSD is. Anyhow, I was just trying to make sure because back in the days MBR boot could find a lot of problems with my proposed setup and I havent been keping up to date enough. – pavel Apr 6 at 11:45
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    @pavel many variations of SSD enclosures exist... here's a random one that does support NVME amazon.com/Enclosure-Adapter-Tool-Free-Thunderbolt-External/dp/… – WernerCD Apr 6 at 12:37
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    I was more concerned about the fact that fack in MBR age installing a drive that already had an OS on could lead to some difficulties, but thankfully this is past us – pavel Apr 6 at 16:05

UEFI, like BIOS, allows the user to choose which drive is the primary boot device. The boot partition on the 2nd device will be ignored. You can easily transfer data from the 2nd device to the new boot drive.

Be aware that Windows on the 2nd device will freak when you open the folders containing user data. It will know you are not the registered user and will attempt to block you from access to it. Your new administrator account will supersede the old one but will make the old account unusable if you decide to reuse the device as a boot drive. This will occur whether you install the drive internally or externally.

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    "Be aware that Windows on the 2nd device will freak when you open the folders containing user data." -- I think you meant to say "Windows on 1st device will freak when you open folders on 2nd device" .. Windows on 2nd device will be just lying there as executable / system files and have no control on the machine in any way. – Lukman Apr 7 at 0:54
  • > allows the user to choose which drive is the primary boot device In CSM (BIOS-compatibility) mode, yes. In native UEFI mode that's not quite the case: you're not choosing the drive but rather a specific boot entry which will include a volume GUID etc.. The only time you'd be picking at the drive level is if you're using the fallback boot. – Bob Apr 7 at 5:56
  • The difference is significant in that you'll likely have a Windows Boot Manager entry in a native UEFI boot environment, and this will always point to a specific volume/device as defined at the time the entry was added. You'd need to add a separate entry to boot from the other device (or use the fallback boot, which IIRC Windows does place into the ESP and will actually clobber other boot entries). – Bob Apr 7 at 5:58

As long as you still boot from your current drive and only access to the second to read/write data, you shouldn't be annoyed. Be advised that booting from the second drive might not work ; I experienced difficulties with my new desktop when using my old drive (not booting or blue screen) and had to format/reinstall Win10 to get it to work properly.

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