Installing SSD is best option for speed improvement in laptops. Not only these Solid state drives (SSD) increase the speed (10X times) but also increase the battery backup of the laptop. You can notice quicker boot up time of laptop after installing SSD. And, prices of SSD have also been fallen greatly in recent years. You can buy a 120 GB SSD for a $ 50 or less. Before going to learn installation process of SSD in a laptop, you must first decide the size of the SSD.
Size of SSD for your laptop: Size vs Cost of Upgrade?
You have to make a good choice between the size of SSD and the price of the planned upgrade. If you want to completely replace the current HDD with SSD then it is going to cost you a lot. Replacing 500 GB Hard disk with a equivalent SSD, it will cost you about $150 to $160. If you are not tight on budget, you can go for complete replacement.
But if you have low budget, then the best option for you is to install a small size SSD (say 60 or 120 GB) for your operating system (C drive) and a external HDD for the data storage purpose. This is best suitable for the users who doesn’t need to access storage HDD so frequently. You can put the data which you access frequently (for example like images to be PhotoShoped ) on SSD, and other data like movies and videos on hard disk. This is best budget option for the upgrade without compromising with the performance of laptop.
What can tempt you to upgrade to SSD ?
Although SSD is our little costlier then HDD but the extra cost is justified due to –
- SSD are 10 times faster than HDD (Read Speed- SSD: 500 MBPS; HDD: 50 MBPS)
- Lower power consumption (SSD: 1W; HDD: 4-5W)
- Longer life of SSD (no moving components in SSD)
- Robust, silent and resistance to shock and vibrations.
5 Step Procedure to Install SSD in your Laptop
1. Check the compatibility of SSD with your laptop
You must check your laptop specification for compatibility with SSD before purchase. You should check following items of your laptop:
Operating system: You can’t get full benefit of installing SSD in laptop running with Windows XP or Windows Vista. Windows 7 or higher operating system like Windows 8 and Windows 10 fully support SSD. These operating system have TRIM functionality which enables the SSD to more efficiently handle garbage collection, which would otherwise slows down future write operations to the involved blocks.
Hardware: SSD is compatible with SATA I, SATA II and SATA III ports only, not with old PATA ports (2 inch ribbons). Check out your laptop specification sheet or install freeware like Speccy to know the type of ports in your laptop.
Although SSD can be run with SATA I and SATA II ports, but to have maximum benefit of speed, the laptop should have SATA III ports. SATA III ports are generally blue colored whereas SATA II are grey/white/black colored. Please check specifications of laptop motherboard for confirmation.
Today, most of the BIOS in laptops support SSD installation. To check out whether your BIOS support the SSD or not, First you need to know the version of BIOS installed in your laptop. And they are two way to know the version of BIOS:
- Restart your laptop and at the first screen, that blue/black screen, at the top, BIOS provider name like Phoenix, American Megatrends, is given. And right below this name, the BIOS version is given.
- Easy way to know the BIOS version is to install Speccy and and it will tell you all hardware configuration of your laptop.
After knowing BIOS, search Google with name and version and find whether it support the SSD or not. You can also upgrade your BIOS if a newer version is available.
Warranty: Warranty of your laptop may be void if you open up it for mounting SSD. Different brand of laptop have different warranty policies. Most of brand allow you to install SSD without voiding their warranty. Call the customer care of the laptop brand to know more about the warranty policies of the company.
2. Clone or Transfer the data
After making sure that your laptop is ready to install SSD, second step is to clone or transfer the data.
Cloning of data means transfer of data from one drive to another with exact file structure. This is just like transferring a house along with it foundations. In this case, you do not need to fresh install operating system. And cloning is different then simple transfer of data between drives. You can transfer a file group from your computer drive to USB pen drive using Windows Copy-Paste command but this is not cloning.
Disk cloning is done by software (completely different from Windows Copy-Paste command system) either supplied along with SSD or other third-party provider. Some of the popular disk cloning software are:
To start data transfer or disk cloning, connect the cable from data transfer kit (supplied with SSD) to the SSD and a free USB port on your laptop. If the data transfer kit is not supplied with SSD, you can buy a Hard drive Upgrade Kit for $15-$20 on Amazon. Install disk cloning software and follow step by step instructions for data transfer.
This is the easiest method of data transfer between SSD and HDD. You can also make a backup of your important data before cloning.
3. Install SSD in laptop
Once cloning is complete, it’s time to install SSD in a laptop. Shut down your laptop and remove battery, power cord and hard disk. In some laptops, there is a extra bay provided for installation of second drive. In that case, you do not need to remove old hard disk. You can use SSD for operating system and HDD for data storage.
If there is single bay, you need to remove old hard disk drive and mount new SSD. A caddy might be provided along with SSD for mounting purpose. Install SSD in the caddy and mount in the laptop. Plug in the SATA connector. Replace the cover and screws.
4. Install operating system (required if cloning step is not opted)
You can install a fresh copy of the operating system on your newly bought SSD, if cloning is not done in previous step. Installing a fresh operating system is good to get rid off old windows registry entries and other similar debris. This result into significant boost in speed of your laptop. After mounting SSD in laptop, format it with operating system i.e. Windows disk and install fresh operating system on it. You might need to set SSD as your primary boot device.
5. Boot up your laptop
After cloning or installation of fresh operating system, you can now boot up the laptop. You can format old hard disk and can use it as external hard disk. Now you can experience the speed of SSD.
If you have any question/problem regarding installation of SSD in your laptop, then please comment in comment box.