How to upgrade your hard drive to a solid state drive

In tonight’s post, I will walk you through how to upgrade your hard drive to a solid state drive.  Before I do that, I wanted to tell the story of how I restored my wife’s five year old laptop to almost brand new by upgrading the hard drive to a solid state drive.

My wife had an old Toshiba laptop that was dog slow.  It took her several minutes to boot up, log in and also minutes between launching applications.  She got so frustrated, I actually caught her before she bought a new laptop at Best Buy.  I promised her that I could fix her computer for less than $200.

The fix

You may be wondering how I could fix her computer for less than $200.

Here is what you need:

The first thing you need to do is find the current size of your hard drive.  You can easily do this by going to Start > Computer.  Your hard drive will be displayed as Local Disk C: and will display the amount of data and how much is remaining.  Add these two numbers together and then add about 5% to that total to get your size.  Likely this number will be in the form of GBs or Gigabytes.

Now go to the link above, (if you missed it, here it is again) and find a Solid State Drive that matches or exceeds the size of your hard drive.  For example, if you totaled 498 GBs of data in your drive, you will want to get a drive with 500 GBs of space.  (Make sure you get a 2.5″ SATA drive!)

Then go to the link above to purchase my recommended hard drive cloning dock.  Once you have the two items, it’s time to take your laptop/computer apart! (Don’t worry, it isn’t as intimidating as it sounds for the hard drive)

The teardown

All you will need to get the hard drive out of most computers is a philips head screwdriver.  Make sure you are in a room that is not carpeted and are working at a clean flat surface.  Flip your laptop upside down, remove the battery and look for the screw holes that have the icon that looks like a pop can.  (If there aren’t any, then chances are you will need to remove all of the screws.)

If you did find the pop can icon, remove only the screws next to them.  Once those are removed, the plastic cover typically is removable.  You should then see your hard drive.  It typically looks like this:

The hard drive will also have screws holding it down.  Remove those and carefully slide it out of the slot.  Hold onto this drive.  It holds your data, so precious cargo!

Set up your cloning dock

All you need to do with your dock is plug it into power and set it on a solid level surface.  Once it is set up, you will insert the solid state drive into Slot II.  Place your computer hard drive into Slot I.  Flip the switch in the back on, and then press and hold the tiny green button in front until all four LED lights blink.  Then release.  This begins the cloning process.  Depending on how much storage you calculated above, this process takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours+.  You will know when it is done when all four lights start blinking again.

Once the clone is finished, remove the solid state drive and mount it into your laptop.  You will likely need to remove a bracket from the old drive to place onto the new drive.  Once the drive is mounted, replace the cover and the remaining screws and hope you don’t have a left over or missing screw!

New machine

Replace the battery, and fire up your new laptop.  You will instantly notice a performance difference as it will likely only take seconds to turn on and be fast in other tasks as well.

So moral of the story, before you sink $500 into a new laptop that will get slow again in a year, consider upgrading your hard drive to a solid state drive.