Installing an SSD in the notebook: This is how conversion and installation work

If you want to extend the life of your old notebook, installing an SSD (Solid State Drive) can make a difference. Because compared to the classic hard drive (HDD: Hard Drive Disk), SSDs offer numerous advantages: They consume less power, work silently and are significantly more robust because they do not require a rotating magnetic disk or read and write head. Even more important: Due to the much higher writing speeds, the modern storage units ensure a noticeable increase in speed. COMPUTER BILD explains how to install an SSD in your notebook in this step-by-step guide.

Important criteria when buying an SSD

Unlike the magnetic disk storage of conventional hard drives, flash components are used in SSDs. USB sticks also use the robust and energy-saving technology. Are you thinking about buying an SSD, but don’t know what to look out for? First of all: Despite the differences in speed between the models, they all provide a noticeable increase in performance compared to a hard disk. However, if you want to get the most out of it, you should use an M.2 SSD with a super-fast PCI Express connection of the 4.0 x4 standard. These models transfer data at up to 7,877 megabytes per second (MBps), while an SSD with the SATA specification manages a maximum of 750 MBps. You should first find out which standard your notebook’s motherboard supports by taking a look at the user manual. Accessories such as backup software or mounting frames are not always standard and, if available, add value to a product. For Windows and the installation of some programs, the SSD should be at least 120 gigabytes in size. Once you have decided on a suitable storage unit, it is time to install it. First, COMPUTER BILD explains how this can be achieved with a 2.5-inch SSD. If you have used the slim M.2 format, jump to the relevant instructions here.

SSD installation: This is how it works with the 2.5-inch variant

If you want to replace your HDD with a 2.5 inch SSD, you have to remove the old hard drive before installing it. This also separates the storage medium from your notebook, on which the entire system is stored. Before you remove your HDD, it is therefore advisable to first transfer the system to the SSD to be installed. To do this, you need a SATA-to-USB adapter (from 10 euros) and suitable cloning software. This is included with some SSDs. If this is not the case for you, MiniTool Partition Wizard application can help. Instructions on how to transfer the contents of your HDD to an SSD can be found in a guide. Then start the exchange, proceed as follows:
Step 1: Open the bottom cover

Step 1: First loosen all screws of the base cover.

Before you start opening the laptop, unplug it from the power supply and, if possible, remove the battery from the device. Place your notebook on a table with the floor facing up and examine it. Some manufacturers make it easier to install new hard drives by integrating maintenance flaps that only hide the storage medium. If you don’t find such a flap, loosen all the screws that fix the notebook bottom. As a rule, all you need is a narrow Phillips screwdriver.

Step 2: Separate the cover from the notebook

Step 2: Carefully remove the bottom cover.

Then carefully lift off the floor cover. If it is difficult to get a hold of, it is helpful to carefully pry it open with a flat object such as a slotted screwdriver. Once that is done, look for the built-in hard drive. Due to its size, it is usually hard to miss.

Step 3: Detach the hard drive cage from the motherboard

Step 3: Detach the hard drive cage from the motherboard. It is usually fixed with one to three screws.

In most cases, the hard drive is in a metal frame that is fixed to the motherboard with one to three screws. Unscrew all screws.

Step 4: Disconnect the old HDD from the SATA connector

Step 4: Carefully disconnect the old 2.5 inch hard drive from the motherboard SATA connector.

Now carefully lift the old hard disk and separate it from the SATA connection cable by carefully pulling it. Then detach the metal frame completely from the HDD.

Step 5: Attach HDD cage to new SSD

Step 5: Take off the hard drive cage from the old hard drive and attach it to the new 2.5 inch SSD.

Now throw on the metal robe of the new 2.5-inch SSD – after all, it also has to be attached to the notebook without jerking. You have almost done it. You are almost done.

Step 6: Plug SSD into SATA connector

Step 6: Plug the new SSD into the free SATA port. Then fix them to the motherboard.

Connect the new 2.5-inch SSD to the free SATA cable on your notebook and fix it to the motherboard using the metal housing. Finally, the bottom of the laptop needs to be reattached – done!

This is how the M.2 SSD can be installed

Unlike replacing the hard drive with a 2.5″ SSD, you don’t need an adapter to clone the old hard drive when installing an M.2 SSD. After installation, your system will automatically recognize the SSD and the cloning process can be started using the appropriate software. But let’s start at the beginning: we will show you step by step how to install memory in the form of chewing gum in your notebook.

M.2 SSD - Step 1: Find PCIe connector

Step 1 Find the appropriate PCIe slot for the M.2 SSD. Manufacturers often provide the motherboard with the words “SSD” or “M.2” in the appropriate place.

After removing the bottom of the notebook as above, locate the M.2 slot on your motherboard. Anyone who looks at the technical hustle and bustle for the first time is quickly overwhelmed. But there is strength in stillness. Take a close look at the mainboard, because many manufacturers will help you with signal words such as “SSD” or “M.2”. Otherwise, you can recognize it by its characteristic pin distribution. Look for a connector with a row of pins broken by a notch, as shown in the image above.

M.2 SSD - Step 2: Insert M.2 SSD into PCIe slot

Step 2: Insert the M.2 SSD into the PCIe slot at a slight angle.

Once you have identified the M.2 connector, insert the SSD at a slight angle – it may look slanted, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. Below the inserted M.2 SSD you should see three threads on the motherboard, one of which protrudes a little further and in which there is a screw: These are the fixing threads for your new SSD. There are several of these, since M.2 SSDs are available in different lengths: while they are always 22 millimeters wide, their length is either 30, 42, 60, 80 or 110 millimeters. You can usually tell the dimensions of your SSD from the name. For example, a widespread model with the number 2280 in its name measures 22×80 millimeters.

M.2 SSD - Step 3: Push down the hard drive

Step 3: Push the SSD down. The semi-circular cut-out should lie precisely on the fastening thread.

Gently press down on the M.2 SSD and note which thread the semicircular notch at the end of the SSD rests on. If it’s not on the one that sticks out further, you’ll have to help. To do this, unscrew the protruding thread and turn it into the one on which the SSD rests as soon as you press it down.

M.2 SSD - Step 4: Install the fixing screw

Step 4: Fix the M.2 SSD with the appropriate screw – done!

Finally, secure your new M.2 SSD to the motherboard using the small screw of the bracket thread. Now attach the notebook base – and you’re ready to go!

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