Ways to Add an SSD to Your Laptop

Martin Wilson

Aug 15, 2022

You can defragment your hard drive in Windows 10, but doing so will not enhance your system's speed as much as switching to a solid-state drive would. It should go without saying, but just in case the idea of reinstalling Windows 10 (together with all of your apps) and then adjusting the settings of each of them gives you the shivers, there's no need to worry about it. You can easily be up and running with a clone of your present system within an hour, but now your laptop will have blazing speed. This can be accomplished with relative ease.

Upgrade to SSD

If you have quick access to the hard drive via a panel that can be removed from the bottom of your laptop, changing to solid-state storage on your laptop should be a pretty straightforward operation. It's a different ballgame if you have an Ultrabook or if your laptop doesn't have easy upgrade access (for example, the bottom panel is sealed). In that case, you'll need to consult your laptop manual for instructions on getting to that drive and locating the appropriate replacement drive. If such is not the case, this guide will assist those whose laptops have a detachable panel in prepping your device, cloning your system, and performing the major switch.

Check Upgradability

The second thing you will want to verify before you go out and get a new SSD is the form factor of your current drive. It would help if you ensured the drive would fit the laptop before purchasing it. The disc size used by most laptops is 2.5 inches; however, certain ultraportable notebooks may have 1.8-inch discs. Also, even drives with a 2.5-inch form factor may have a thickness of 7 or 9.5 millimeters and a variety of interfaces (SATA or IDE, usually in laptops from 2008 or before). Most laptops utilize SSDs with a 2.5-inch SATA interface; nevertheless, you should verify the manual or specs of your laptop to ensure that you get an SSD of the appropriate size and with the appropriate interface.

What You'll Need

A solid-state drive (SSD), of course — In addition to acquiring a drive with the appropriate form factor and connectivity, you'll want to get an SSD with at least sufficient space for the Windows partition and any system recovery partitions. On Amazon, a Samsung solid-state drive (SSD) with 250 gigabytes of storage costs around $89 (opens in new tab), while one with 500 gigabytes costs approximately $120. (opens in new tab). The 250 GB drive should be plenty for most individuals, but the 500 GB drive provides additional versatility for only a little higher initial expenditure.

Prepare Your Current Drive for Cloning

To begin, some preparation work must be done on the drive you are currently using.

1. Create A Complete Copy of Your System's Backup

You may create a backup image of your operating system in Windows 10 by heading to the Control Panel (using the keyboard shortcut Win+X, then selecting Control Panel), and then going to the "Save backup copies of your data using File History" option (under System and Security). To generate a system backup on an external drive or a place on the network, go to "System Image Backup" in the menu on the left.

2. Move Large Folders That Don't Need to Be Kept On The SSD

There is a good chance that the storage capacity of your hard drive is more than that of the SSD you are migrating to (for example, moving from a 500GB HDD with lots of media files to a 120GB SSD). If this is the case, you will need to transfer bigger folders, such as those that hold your images, films, games, and personal papers, to an external drive or some other place before you can clone your data to the smaller SSD.

3. Clean Up Your Drive for Additional Space

This is also the time to remove any excessive files and uninstall any applications you are no longer using. If you do not want these things copied to your SSD, now is the time to do it. Run Windows' built-in disc cleaning utility, or at the absolute least, do one last pass over your computer using the freeware CCleaner (opens in a new tab).

Connect the SSD

Now it's time to prepare the solid-state drive (SSD) for the cloning operation.

1. Physically Connect The SSD

After installing the solid-state drive (SSD) in the enclosure or linking it to the USB-to-SATA converter, you can link it to your laptop via the USB connection.

2. Initialize the SSD

Head over to the Disk Management tool in Windows if the SSD does not appear on your computer with a new drive letter after you have installed it. Bring up Windows search once again, search for "disc management," and then choose "Create and format hard drive partitions" from the results. You should be able to view the SSD as a new drive below the one you already have when you go into Disk Management.

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