Upgrading M.2 disk space on a laptop boot drive

14th May 2018 - developer, Development, hardware

I recently bought a development laptop and its great, fast processor, great GPU, nice resolution monitor.. Then I neglected to look at the HD space. 128GB simply won’t do for development with Visual Studio when you’re knee deep in cross-platform and multi-version development.
The laptop was using a M.2 slot for its boot drive and a 1TB hard disk for data. I could have just reinstalled windows on the 1TB drive, but I had already pumped Adobe and Android SDKs on there. And, it is possible to run a dev box on a 128GB C: drive, but in my experience it can easily go wrong as the .NET framework and the Windows SDKs are all based on C: and I’ve found that sometimes other software may allow for themselves to go on alternative drives but often haven’t been fully tested on drives other than the default.

Firstly, make sure you know which M.2 you will be upgrading, it needs to be the same (or compatible) size and type, so pop open your case and take a look/photo. My Laptop used a M.2 2288 format

So, My shopping list was as follows;

Once they came, I downloaded and installed some free SSD copy software, Macrium Reflect as well as EaseUS Partition Manager Free Edition. Then I popped the M.2 SSD into the Eluteng enclosure and plugged it into a USB 3.0 port.

Opening up Macrium, I click on the C: drive and click clone then select the M.2 drive plugged in. No need to create partitions or format the new drive. You should also make a backup of your M.2 disk, just in case.

Note: If you get a size error or similar, open up the enclosure again and ensure you slotted the M.2 card in correctly. Add it at a 45 degree angle and push in, like you would do with memory.

Once the drive is cloned, turn off the machine, and pop open the back. Remove the current card and replace it with the card from the enclosure.

Reseal the machine and restart. You will see the machine as it was, with some programs needing a login again as they will have detected a different ID on the hard disk (Adobe, etc).

Your C: drive will be the same as the previous smaller card, with a large unallocated space, in my case it was over 100GB.

Open up EaseUS and then select the disk with the C: drive on it and the unallocated space. You’ll notice you cannot immediately expand the C: drive and this is because the unallocated space is physically at the end of the disk so until the allocated space is next to the C: partition, physically, we cannot expand. We need to move the other partitions to the end of the disk and after you have applied the change, the C: partition will be to the left of the unallocated space.

Right click the C: volume and click resize/move partition Drag the slider to the far right to use all the unallocated space then click ok, and then Apply (in the main window).

The C: drive is now larger, and your laptop (apart from Adobe) is none the wiser.

Take Care,