I was thinking: let’s upgrade my PC (the one with the M.2 port containing an Intel AX210) to Windows 11, and see if it works then?

Easy, right? Apparently not…

A little bit of history: The PC in question runs some external disks, and some internal disks for my Chia mining project. No biggie just a little experiment.

My boot drive is an SSD (quite fast) and I also have an NVMe for minting the Chia files. (You need a good fast SSD for fast Chia mining – it really works the drives hard, so buy one that has a large write capability.)

I think, I can take out the SSD and keep it as a backup, buy a new huge disk, and mine a little more. Easy right? Apparently not…

So, first thing: how do I move the boot drive off the SSD? That’s easy! I remove the SSD and, with my disk cloner hardware (link below), I clone the disk over to 18TB disk. This works like a charm, and I set the SSD aside. Boot from the new 18TB disk, and it works. Yaay!

Inateck FD2002*

Of course, my 18TB disk now has a 1.8TB partition but, no problem, Windows will let me expand the partition. Apparently not…

After a little bit of research, I find that my Disk is in MBR mode, and needs to be in GPT mode. Oh, OK. I’ll convert it. That should be easy. Apparently not…

Windows 10 does not let you do that. One quick Google search later, and I find out that AOMEI Partitioner does. OK, I’ll download the free trial version. (I note the warning that the free version is limited, and continue with the download.)

Of course, the tool needs the full version to do this… so I buy it. I take advantage of the unlimited upgrade for an extra $10 and now I have the full version. (As a side note, it is licensed for 2 PCs and comes with a free PC backup utility for 1 PC for 1 year – a bargain!) When it loads, I see a little icon “Windows 11 compatibility checker”. I press it.

Oh. It seems as though my PC is not ready for Windows 11. The first problem is that my boot disk needs to be GPT. Well, I wanted to do that anyway, so let’s get on with it. AOMEI is really easy to use. I select to upgrade my Disk to GPT. It says “OK, but I have to reboot”. I am like, “OK!” It does, and it upgrades my disk. It reboots into Windows 10. I run the Windows 11 checker and I still have 3 problems.

Apparently, I do not have TPM running, or Secure Boot enabled, or have UEFI enabled. Hmmm…

Well, there’s a little button next to these problems entitled “Fix it”. Ok. Wish me luck! Here goes…

AOMEI takes me to a link explaining how to fix each of these issues. I follow the instructions one at a time and, about an hour, later (multiple reboots, and visits to my BIOS options) and I am looking good. No more outstanding problems for Windows 11.

Now I have to mention, here: be careful. Enabling TPM, UEFI, and enabling Secure Boot can have drastic consequences if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you upgrade your CPU or swap disks around you can lose data. The CPU is only really an issue here because, on my ASUS motherboards with AMD, they do not need a TPM module. Instead, they use a virtual TPM function built into the CPU. Intel motherboards work differently, and I know nothing about TPM on them. If you don’t understand what I just said in this paragraph, don’t go messing with these options until you have studied up on this and are sure you know what you are doing. It is very easy to mess with these options and have a PC that no longer boots. You have been warned. This is where the AOMEI backup utility comes in really handy. Also note that I am doing all this on the copy of my SSD that I made to the 18TB disk. If it all goes wrong, I can fall back to the original W10 on my SSD.

Right then, time to pull the trigger. Windows update says my PC is not ready for Windows 11. Oh… I do some Googling and I am told the best thing to use is Windows 11 Upgrade Assistant. I download this, to see what it says. It says, “Let’s go”, so I go.

A short while later I am booting into Windows 11 and have a smile on my face. I use AOMEI to use up the rest of my 18TB disk as a Z: drive partition, and we are good.

Now, I hit a problem, that 18TB disk is sloooooooow. Also, when I am mining with the Z: drive, and using it as a boot disk, it’s even sloooooooooooooooower.

Idea! Let’s move the boot partition from the 18TB disk over to the NVMe. It’s a fast SSD… oh, but how do I do that?

This is where the people at AOMEI deserve an award. I click on the button convert my disk to SSD, and AOMEI says it’s gonna reboot. I’m like, “OK”. I am a bit confused because AOMEI tells me the new drive will be Q:. Hmm… not C:. Hmm…

Anyhow AOMEI starts up in Windows PE mode, and nothing happens. So, I again say convert my disk to SSD, and off it goes.

I reboot, still using the 18TB disk partition, to make sure it boots. It does, I convert the NVMe Q: drive to D:.

I reboot again, go into my BIOS and select the NVMe as the boot drive, wondering how I am going to fix the fact that, when it boots, it will now be D: not C: and all my applications won’t work.

I reboot, in like 10% of the time the previous boots took. With a puzzled look on my face, I discover that my PC has booted into the NVMe partition, and renamed itself C:. The 18TB boot  partition is now D:

I am really super impressed. Got to give a shout out to the folks at AOMEI, the best $60 I spent in a long time.

So now I have a fast-booting PC (even faster than the SSD I had). These NVMe boots are fast as lightning). Still mining Chia, with Windows 11 and 6GHz support.

Awesome!!!

Please note: this is a story of my adventure. Take these actions at your own risk! I accept no responsibility for your actions or losses with your equipment.
I have no data on this PC, if I lost everything, I could rebuild it. My best advice is to always make a backup (or two) when your real data is at stake.
If you are unsure about any of this, be cautious and hire a professional.

* These links are in no way recommendations. They also may not be the exact products I bought. They may be links to show you products similar to the ones I used.