How to replace your laptop’s old hard drive with a lightning fast SSD
It was once always generally believed that once you bought a laptop – that was pretty much that. The concept of upgrading your machine was only thought possible on more manageable and modular desktop computers. However, there is one easy upgrade that almost all modern laptops are equipped to make: the upgrade to an SSD.
An SSD (solid state drive) offers a significant improvement over traditional hard drives as it is able to load data significantly faster. It will also last a lot longer and will improve performance across the board.
But how to go about swapping your laptop’s dusty old hard drive for a lightning-fast solid state alternative? Read on!
The first thing you’ll need to do is check if your laptop is easily upgradable. Certain laptops (we’re looking at you Apple) are purposefully designed to be difficult to upgrade, but most Windows machines will include a removable panel on the rear of the device. Use a small screwdriver to remove the panel (remember to save those screws) and examine what you’re left with.
Before you purchase a replacement SSD you’re going to want to make sure it’ll actually fit in your laptop! Generally speaking, most modern laptops will use 2.5-inch drives, but small laptops might use 1.8-inch models. Whatever the size of your old drive, that’s the size of SSD you’re going to want to purchase as a replacement. Just as crucially, you’re going to want an SSD with enough storage space for your Windows partition and any other files you want to import over from the old hard drive.
Create a full system backup image in Windows before removing your current drive. This can be done in the Control Panel under “System and Security.” You can then backup your system to either the cloud or an external drive. Next, move any larger files you might not need on your SSD (games, video etc.) to external drives and do a little hard drive spring cleaning (getting rid of any unused files and programs).
Now that your hard drive is ready to be cloned over to your SSD, connect it to your laptop with a USB to SATA adapter or enclosure and format/initialize the disk in Disk Management. Whilst you are here, if your primary partition (generally the C drive) is larger than your SSD’s storage, shrink it to size by right-clicking and selecting the shrink option. Now restart your laptop and use whatever disk cloning software you prefer to perform the cloning operation.
Once the cloning process is complete, shut down your laptop and remove the hard drive from the back panel, ensuring that you’re careful and gentle at every stage of the process. Replace the hard drive with your newly cloned SSD and close everything up again. Now, when you turn on your laptop, you should notice it booting up MUCH faster and you’ll feel like your humble old machine has been given a brand new lease of life!