It is a pity that such a large percentage of laptops still have slow 5400 RPM mechanical hard drives. A solid state hard drive not only dramatically increases performance, but also improves battery life and system longevity.
You probably already know the advantages of an SSD , after all they are not exactly new.
A mechanical hard drive is usually the first bottleneck in a modern system, so replacing it with an SSD is the quickest way to increase your computer’s performance .
On desktops, this procedure is fairly simple as you have additional internal bays to which you can attach additional drives. In a laptop it is a little more complicated.
The process I will describe here has the following objectives:
Keep the data and software from the original drive.
Make a “factory” copy of the drive, including all partitions. (restore, etc.)
Option to choose a smaller unit size if needed.
Achieving these goals means that the end result will be to create a system image on a new disk. This means that your operating system will still be installed, activated and genuine. You will still be able to restore your computer as it did when it left the factory (if that option exists in the first place). All software and licenses will also be transferred. You won’t see any changes other than your incredible new speed.
The set up
There are 3 things you will need to accomplish this
An SSD of sufficient size. (at least the size of the space used on the existing drive)
An external container or dock for the hard drive
Bootable disk imaging software.
A flash drive to boot, if in case the laptop is missing a CD drive.
- An SSD of sufficient size
In my opinion, you can install a small capacity SSD (128 – 256 GB) and buy a quality model rather than getting a large one (500 GB +) and compromise on quality. You can then take advantage of cloud storage or external drives to save your large files, photos or backups. Just make sure the disk capacity will have the same amount of space used on your existing disk.
- An external container or dock for the hard drive
An external enclosure or dock is required to connect another drive to the laptop to clone the disk. I use a cheap dock, it allows me to easily connect the units to any computer without problems, there are various types around, choose the most comfortable one, but without spending much.
- Bootable disk imaging software
The disk imaging software varies from excellent to extremely dangerous. If you want a program to clone the complete and bootable disk, you will need software that has startup tools. If we want to use free software, we can take a look at AOMEI Partition Assistant . It offers support and a wide range of partition, cloning and disk migration features. A comment on Google+ recommended EaseUS as another good free option.
- Flash Drive
Many laptops omit the CD drive to reduce weight and size. If your laptop doesn’t have a CD player, you’ll need a flash drive to boot from how you would do with a CD.
How to install an SSD on your laptop without losing your data
This process may void the warranty. Proceed at your own risk.
With all of the above ready, it’s time to get started. I cannot describe a step-by-step guide to each laptop or disk imaging software you are using, but this is the basic process.
- Install the disk imaging software, on the laptop or another computer, and create the bootable media (flash drives or CDs we talked about in section 4).
- Use the disk imaging software to perform a full system backup and save it somewhere in the event of a problem (not on the original or new drive).
- Make sure you can boot from that media on the laptop, but do nothing.
- Open your laptop and locate the existing hard drive.
- Replace the hard drive with your SSD and remount.
- Insert the original hard drive into the external drive bay or dock and connect the USB cable.
- Start the laptop with the program to clone the disk.
- Clone the (original) external drive to your new internal drive (new SSD).
- When finished, remove both the external USB and the bootable media. (flash drive or CD)
- Start your laptop normally
- Are you done!
IMPORTANT: Note that steps 5 – 6 may seem counterintuitive, but they are necessary for the new drive to become bootable.
If something goes wrong, simply reinstall the original hard drive and the laptop should go back to normal until it fixes the laptop problems.