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How to install or Upgrade an SSD in your Laptop

There’s no better way to speed up and upgrade a laptop than to replace its mechanical drive with an SSD (Solid State Drive). You can defragment your hard drive in Windows 10, but it won’t improve your performance as an SSD would. See how to install a solid-state drive (SSD) in your laptop, with step-by-step instructions to make the process easy.

Transferring Data to Your New Hard Drive

If you are replacing your existing drive, we recommend using data migration (cloning) software to move all the files from your existing drive onto your new hard drive.

To install an SSD in a Mac® system, the process is different.

Precautions Before Installation

  • Static electricity can damage the components in your system. To protect your system’s components from static damage during installation, touch any unpainted metal surfaces on your computer’s frame or wear an ESD wrist strap before touching or handling internal components. Either method will safely discharge static electricity naturally present in your body.
  • Do not touch the connectors on the drive to protect your new SSD.
  • Do not open the SSD. Doing so will void your warranty.

Laptop SSD Installation Instructions

  • Make sure you’re working in a static-safe environment

Remove any plastic bags or papers from your workspace.

  • Gather supplies
  • 2.5-inch SSD
  • Screwdriver

Your computer’s owner’s manual (which will specify the type of screwdriver you need)

  • Shut down your system

Disconnect the power cable and remove the battery. Refer to your system’s owner’s manual for how to do this.

  • Hold down the power button for 5 seconds to discharge residual electricity
  • Open your laptop’s case

Refer to your owner’s manual for how to do this.

  • Ground yourself by touching an unpainted metal surface

This extra safeguard protects your drive and components from static damage during installation.

  • Locate the storage bay

Refer to your owner’s manual for the exact location and note the size of the bays. Remove the old storage drive. Look closely at the old storage drive for any brackets, adapters, support frames, braces, pull tabs, or screws that might be attached to it. If anything is attached to the old drive, remove it and put it on the SSD similarly.

  • Plug the SSD into your system

Don’t force the connection – it should plug in quickly and fit snugly.

If the SSD doesn’t fit snugly, use the spacer that comes with your SSD and attach it to the SSD by peeling off the adhesive and sticking the spacer onto the drive. Attaching the spacer allows the SSD to achieve the same level of thickness as the existing drive you removed. Note: Many installations don’t require the spacer, so you might not need to use it.

  • Reassemble your laptop
  • Power on your computer

Your SSD is now installed on your laptop!

Physically Swap Your Current Drive with the SSD

Now let’s remove the old drive and install the SSD.

  1. Turn the computer off and remove the back panel. Turn your laptop off and disconnect the power cable and other cables, including the SSD. Then unscrew the back panel and remove it to access your hard drive.
  2. Look for any screws securing your drive to the laptop. You’ll need to unscrew those before you can remove the drive.
  3. Lift the old drive about 30 or 45 degrees and pull it out.
  4. In its place, install the SSD and put the back panel on. Install the SSD by doing the reverse of how you removed the HDD: Slide the drive in at an angle and push it firmly into place, so it’s fully connected to the interface. Then secure it with the screw you removed in the last step and, finally, screw the back panel covering the drive back on.
  5. Boot up with the SSD. Now for the moment of truth: Turn your laptop on. If your laptop boots as normal, and you see all of your programs and settings as they were before (except much faster), all went well.

Final Test of Install SSD in Laptop

For one final test to see if everything went as planned, let’s ensure Windows recognizes your drive as an SSD. Hit Win+S to search for “defrag” and select “Defragment and optimize your drives.” Your drive should be listed as a Solid State Drive in the Optimize Drives window. Mission complete!

(By the way, SSDs should not be defragmented. Windows 10 knows this. If it detects your drive as an SSD instead of defragmenting it, it will optimize it for the TRIM command, which improves the performance of your SSD. By default, your drive will be automatically optimized.)

You can now put your old drive in the enclosure and wipe it in Disk Management, perhaps moving your media files to this drive. Make sure your automated backup system (you have one, right?) covers your new and connected external drives.

Another way you can tell the migration worked? You’re now booting up, launching programs, and multitasking much faster than before.

Have some fun and see how quickly your laptop boots up and apps load! You can make your SSD even faster by downloading it.

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