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How to Install an SSD for Your Laptop PC

This article shows how to install an SSD for a laptop. We cover two general installation ways: One is to replace the hard drive with a solid-state drive, and the other is to add SSD as a secondary drive.


Table of Contents

What You Need

1. Back up data.

Before you begin this installation, back up all your important programs and files into an external hard drive. You can see our article on creating a system image of Windows PC.

2. The product manual for your laptop.

Go to the laptop manufacturer’s website and download it for reference and for specific instructions on how to remove your laptop hard drive.

3. ESD wrist strap.

Wear an ESD wrist strap to protect against static damage during the installation process. If you do not have an ESD wrist strap, you should be sure that you touch something metal before touching and working with the hard drive.

4. An external USB drive enclosure, a USB cable, and data transfer software.

5. A non-magnetic tip screwdriver.

6. A solid-state drive.

Way 1: Replace the Hard Drive with a SSD

Find Product Keys fro Programs and Windows

Before starting a fresh install, you should find and back up the product keys for both software and Windows currently installed on your old hard drive so that you can install them again on your new SSD. If you have never made a backup of the product keys yet and you can’t find the keys right now, the best choice is using a special product key finder program to find and backup the product keys for all installed software and Windows.

Find product key

Clone your hard drive

You need deciding whether to clone your current hard drive or start fresh with new software. If you choose to clone, use a professional data migration software to make an exact clone of your current drive onto the new SSD. It is an easy and quick process. However, if you find your current drive is corrupted beyond repair with a virus or malware, or your hard disk has crashed and cannot be repaired, you can start with a fresh install, which will install all new operating system and software.

Tansfer data to a new SSD drive

Steps to replace you existing hard drive

Step 1: Shut down PC. Unplug power cable and remove battery.

Step 2: Locate and access the storage bay. Wear wrist strap to discharge static electricity.

You may need to unscrew panels on the back or side of your system to gain access to the storage bay. Before handing internal components touch an unpainted metal surface. If you happen to touch your owner's manual or other statically charged objects during the installation process reground yourself as necessary.

Step 3: Remove the existing storage device.

Remove any brackets or adapters and attack them to your new SSD. Remove the existing storage Bay refer to your computer's manual for how to safely locate and remove the existing drive.

Remove existing storage device

Note that some drive bays have a height of seven millimeters while others have a height of 9.5 millimeters depending on the size of your drive bay you need to use a spacer to make your SSD fit properly.

Step 4: Align the pins of SSD and SATA connector. Align the connector pins on the SSD with the SATA connector in the storage device bay. Slide the SSD into the drive bay. Do not force the connection.

Attach SATA connector

Step 5: Reassemble system and reconnect battery, power on your computer. Install OS, drives, utilities, and applications as needed.

Way 2: (Add an SSD)Replace Your DVD/Optical Drive with an SSD

If your laptop designed with a DVD drive bay, you can use this to expand your storage capacity by replacing your optical drive with an additional storage drive. Except for needed items above listing, you must have an optical bay "caddy' to hold the drive. Then, here comes a question: How to figure out the specifications of the optical bay caddy you need? This can be accomplished by checking the Device Manager.

1. Open the Device Manager by pressing shortcut keys Win+X, M.

2. Expand DVD/CD-ROM Drives selection to see information about optical drive's specification.

Optical drive's specification

3. Then you can search for the Internet to identify this information:

The height of the drive(9.5mm or 12.7mm).
The type of connection, either SATA or PATA.

Then, you can start looking for a caddy and SSD, for example, search for "12.7mm SATA optical drive caddy". Note that make sure it has a SATA connection when buying a storage drive. Watch for the height of the storage drive. Generally, the 12.7mm height caddies usually accept 12.5mm drives.

Installation Process

Step 1: Install the SSD in the caddy.

Step 2: Remove the optical drive from your laptop.

Unplug the laptop, remove the battery, hold down the power button for a couple of seconds to drain all excess electricity. Remove the screw and leverage the optical drive out.

Step 3: Transfer the faceplates.

Remove the faceplate from the optical drive and then install it on your SSD drive caddy.

Transfer the faceplates

Step 4: Install the SSD caddy.

When the installation is complete, slide the SSD drive caddy in and then replace the screw.

Step 5: Format and partition a new SSD drive.

The newly installed storage drive may not show up in The PC right away. It needs to be formatted before you can use it. To Do: Open Disk Management (Win+X, K), right-click on the drive and select the "New simple volume" option. Then the New Simple Volume Wizard will guide you through the process of making the drive usable.

New simple volume