How to Install a Solid State Drive in a Laptop

Our laptops, no matter how feature packed or innovative they are, are still susceptible to slowing down. Over time, our laptops carry tons of background data that it tends to reduce the quality of performance it once offered. Thankfully, we can always customize the hardware components of the laptop to enhance the return from the computer.

One of the simplest, yet most effective means of upgrading and improving your laptop’s performance is by installing an SSD. Contrary to the already old HDD, SSD or Solid State Drives offer better transfer speeds. Also, the performance of the laptop is also enhanced since the loading of apps and programs will be faster and without any hiccups.

Hard drive

In this article, we will teach you how to install a solid state drive in a laptop. We will provide you with a concise yet comprehensive tutorial on how to proceed with the installation.

When choosing to add an SSD for a laptop, one of the things you need to consider first is if your computer has support for it. Most laptops even the budget offerings can be installed with an SSD; however, older units have some compatibility issues regarding the installation of SSD. So before buying an SSD, you need to check whether your laptop supports it.

Installation of an SSD makes use of two possible routes. You can either add an SSD via the M.2 slot or via the SATA slot. In addition to this, you need to choose between a SATA SSD or PCIe SSD.

SATA vs. PCIe

One of the most popular types of SSDs is the M.2 SSD. However, this is further subdivided into two parts; these are SATA and PCIe. While these two SSDs have somewhat similar in terms of the hardware aspect, these two drives vary so much when it comes to how they function. Failing to tell the difference between the two and not knowing which SSD has support for your system, might lead to installation failure.

While the two SSDs have the same connector, these two types come equipped with support for the older SATA system as well as the latest PCIe interface. One of the benefits of using a PCIe SSD is that they are faster in terms of transfer and loading speeds. On the other hand, SATA SSDs work well with most laptops, even the older ones.

Another advantage of PCIe SSDs is the fact that they are equipped with newer and more robust security tools such as the Secure Boot. This feature prevents the SSD from being vulnerable to cyber attacks by requiring users to key in a password through the secure OS.

An advantage of SATA SSDs over the PCIe SSD is the fact that they are more affordable. However, you also need to take into consideration the storage capacity of the SSD. With this at hand, a 512 GB SATA SSD will be cheaper or be similarly priced like a 128 GB PCIe SSD.

In terms of performance, PCIe SSDs are significantly faster compared to SATA SSDs. Most reviewers claim that PCIe drives provide a 1.5 to 3x boost in performance compared to older, SATA SSDs.

How to install an M.2 SSD

Before proceeding with the installation of the new SSD, you need to back up all your important files to an external hard drive. Make sure that your external hard drive is equipped with enough storage to house all these files.

The next step is to navigate through the internal hardware of your laptop. This step will vary from laptop to laptop. Some laptops have a secure access door that will help you open the insides of the unit. Unscrew the back portion, and there you will see the inside of the laptop. It is worth noting that you should check the manufacturer manual before doing this step.

After revealing the back portion of the laptop, you then need to remove the screws from the standoff. This final screw is responsible for putting the SSD in place. When doing this step, always secure the screws because they can easily fall off and enter the innards of the laptop.

Most SSD slots come with a full 1-inch opening. Place the SSD in place of the slot, carefully, taking note of the different notches and nubs on the slot. Most M.2 slots come with only one notch, so this should be easy to do. These notches can be seen on the right or left side. These notches are also crucial since they indicate the B or M key drive.

A B key usually indicates the slot can function at the double the PCIe or SATA while the M key means that the slot can operate at a speed of four times PCIe or SATA. Currently, most slots that come with two notches require a SATA drive. However, to be more satisfied, you should check the laptop’s manufacturer manual before buying any trips. You do not want to end up buying the wrong SSD that is not compatible with your computer.

When it comes to the RAM, you need to insert and place the M.2 card seamlessly to the slot. This entails placement of a certain slight angle and then titled flat so that you can have a secure and safe installation. With the use of a magnetic screwdriver, you now need to put back the screws while keeping the SSD flat so as not to disrupt the installation.

Using the same magnetic screwdriver, return the screw from the standoff we mentioned earlier. At this point, you already securely placed the SSD on the intended slot. Put back the back cover, and then you are ready for the next steps.

After installing the SSD, the next step is to restore the backup of the system you copied on an external hard drive. With this, you do not need to repeat installing programs and you are assured that your files are still there.

Once the backup process is done, reboot the Windows system and wait for the programs to finish loading. At this point, you can immediately see the difference after installing the new SSD. You will see a massive difference in terms of speed and responsiveness.