How to Install an NVMe™ PCIe® M.2 SSD
Installing a Crucial solid state drive is easy and will make your computer significantly faster. Follow the steps below to speed up your storage!
Looking for installation instructions for a different SSD form factor? Check here for instructions for all our drives.
Part 1: Prepare
Clearing your workspace helps prevent the buildup of static electricity that could damage your new drive.
- Gather supplies
You'll need your computer, a screwdrive, your new Crucial SSD, and your computer's owner's manual.
- Back up important files
Before starting the install process, save any important files on your computer to an external storage drive, a USB flash drive, or cloud storage.
- Go slowly and deliberately
The information you need is all here. Your computer will likely look different than the ones shown, but the process is the same. Read each step thoroughly and consult our Helpful Tips for more info.
NVMe SSD support and drivers are not available for Windows® 7. Your computer or motherboard manufacturer might be able to add support. There is also a hotfix available from Microsoft® that can be applied to natively support NVMe drives for Windows 7.
Part 2: Install the SSD
- Shut down your system
Turn off your computer completely.
- Remove the power cable and battery
Now remove the power cable and battery. The battery removal step applies only to laptops when it's possible to remove the battery. To see how to remove the battery, refer to your owner's manual.
- Discharge residual power
If your laptop has a removable battery, remove it, and hold the power button for five seconds to discharge any electricity left in the system.
- Open the case
How you do this will vary from system to system, so consult your owner's manual for exact instructions.
- Ground yourself
Touch an unpainted metal surface to ground yourself. This protects your computer's componets from the static electricity that's naturally present in your body - grounding is an extra safeguard.
- Locate the M.2 PCIe slot
This slot is usually easy to find in desktops, but in laptops the location will vary - it's typically under the bottom panel, or under the keyboard. Refer to your owner's manual for the exact location, as every system looks slightly different.
- Insert the SSD
Depending on your computer, there might be a heat sink or screw that needs to be removed prior to inserting your new NVMe PCIe SSD. To insert your Crucial NVMe PCIe SSD, hold the SSD carefully by the sides. Do not touch the gold connector pins. Align the notches in the SSD with the ridges in the PCIe slot, then insert at a 30-degree angle. Do not force the connection.
To secure the drive, it might be necessary to insert the screw into the provided mount on the motherboard. Do not overtighten the screw.
- Reassemble your system
After the SSD is securely seated in the slot, put your computer back together and reconnect the battery if it was removed.
- Turn on your computer
Turn on your computer. Unless you removed your old storage drive in a previous step, the computer is booting from the old drive. Part 3 will walk you through how to clone your data to use your new drive to boot up.
With some motherboards, you might see some messages about configuring to increase speeds of NVMe SSDs or about enabling and disabling shared bandwidth of SATA and NVMe ports. This is not a malfunction. You can configure your hardware for optimal performance and avoid malfunctions by obtaining detailed information about your motherboard from the manufacturer.
Part 3: Copy your data
The longest part of the SSD install process is copying everything from your old drive to your new SSD. Before you start, get a sense of how long this will take by referring to our chart below.
Amount of data on old drive
Estimated time to copy to new SSD
Less than 256GB
More than 1TB
- Download the cloning software
On the computer with the SSD, go to www.crucial.com/clone to download the software that will copy your old drive to your new SSD. This software comes free with Crucial SSDs.
- Install the software you downloaded
Open the file you downloaded and accept all of the prompts. A screen will then pop up. Click Install. After installation is complete, start the application.
- Prepare to copy (clone) your data
You'll now see several options in the software. Select the Clone Disk option. You'll then be asked to select a clone mode. If you've never done this before, we recommend the Automatic method, then click the Next button.
- Select source and destination drives
Your "source" drive is your existing drive (disk). Select it by clicking on it, then click Next. Now select your "destination" drive (your new SSD) and click Next. On the following screen, click Proceed to start copying your data.
- Wait for your data to copy
It'll take a while for everything to copy, but the Acronis software will keep you updated on the progress.
- Change your primary or boot drive
When everything has copied over, you'll need to tell your operating system to use your new SSD as the primary drive. This can be done by removing the old drive, which will force your system to use the new drive. Check your computer's owner's manual or contact the computer manufacturer for instructions on how to change the primary drive.
- Have some fun
See how fast your favoriet apps open when you click on them! Your SSD is installed, but you can make it even faster by enabling a special feature.
If your old storage drive is 128GB (for example) and you copy its contents to a 275GB SSD, the SSD may show up in your system as a 128GB drive, even though it’s actually the size that you bought. No need to fear – you can still store more on it, but you’ll need to make some adjustments to the drive’s settings. This doesn’t usually happen, but if it does, we want to let you know that it’s OK and that it’s based on your system, not you.
Part 4: Download Storage Executive
You can use Storage Executive to see how much storage you’ve used, monitor your drive’s temperature, and enable the Momentum Cache feature, which makes many SSD operations up to ten times faster.
- Enable Storage Executive
This free software enables your SSD to receive performance updates and to improve the performance of your new SSD by using system resources to increase performance.
- Click on one of the "Download" buttons
Download times will vary based on your internet connection, but average 1-3 minutes.
- Install and run Storage Executive
Click on the file you just downloaded. If it doesn't open right away, double-click on it, then save it to your desktop and open it from there. Follow the onscreen prompts and instructions and start using the software.
- Enable Momentum Cache and make your SSD even faster
In the left menu, click on Momentum Cache. Enabling this feature forces your computer to restart, which is normal. The feature doesn't work with RAID arrays.
Download the 64-bit version of the software if you have a 64-bit operating system (most users). Download the 32-bit version if you have a 32-bit operating system. Not sure which one you have?
Follow the steps in our chart below.
How to know if you have the 32-bit or 64-bit version
In the Start menu, type "This PC" into the Windows search bar, but don’t press Enter. Right-click on the This PC option that displays, then select Properties and your type of operating system will be displayed onscreen.
Move your mouse to the upper-right side of the screen and click on the search tool that appears. Type "Computer" into the search field, then right-click and select Properties. Your type of operating system will be displayed onscreen.
In the Start menu, right-click on Computer, then select Properties and your type of operating system will be displayed onscreen.
If you see anything other than 64-bit, download the 32-bit version of the software.
Now that you’re an expert installer, watch out!
Your friends and family might start asking you to do their installs ;)
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