One of the most asked questions on the internet is, “How do I make my laptop faster?.” While you can tweak various things in the OS to make it slightly faster, nothing compares to hardware changes. One way to make it incredibly fast and responsive is by installing an SSD.
Modern laptops come with preinstalled SSDs, but if you own a laptop that’s more than two years old, chances are, it’s using a conventional type of storage medium called HDD (Hard Disk Drive) instead of SSD (Solid State Drive). Hence, in this article, let’s look at what SSDs are, how they’re better than HDDs, and how to install an SSD to make your laptop faster.
What Is An SSD?
SSD (Solid State Drive) is a modern and better solution to the old mechanical hard drives. Unlike HDDs that have fragile moving parts and have slow read/write speeds, SSDs are non-volatile flash storage drives that are compact in size, have faster read/write speeds, and are more durable.
Here is a simple analogy to understand it better: All your important stuff is scattered in different rooms in your home. Going to each room, searching, and gathering your stuff will take a lot of time. Similar is the case with HDDs, where the data is scattered across plates. The arm in the HDD would need to go to different locations to find and send back the data, which takes a lot of time.
Here is a better scenario: all your stuff is scattered but, you know exactly where everything is (DRAM keeps track of memory cells and their values). Hence, all you need to do is gather your things and get back to work. Pretty straightforward, right?
SSD Vs. HDD: Which One Should You Pick?
The answer is, you should pick both. While SSDs are a lot faster than HDDs, they have a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, they’re a lot expensive, and second, they have a fixed working lifespan. A typical QLC SSD (QLC SSDs are cheaper than TLC and MLC) will last for around five years, depending on the amount of reading and writing of data that occurs on the drive.
Whereas an HDD will comparatively last for a longer time given it doesn’t undergo physical abuse. HDDs are great if you have terabytes of data to store, which will cost you a lot if you try to do it on an SSD.
Enthusiasts suggest that you install the OS on the SSD and store your data on an HDD, provided you have a laptop that has slots for both SSD and HDD.
How To Install An SSD On A Laptop/PC?
Disclaimer! We’re not responsible for any damage caused to your machine during this process. Please do it at your own risk or seek professional help.
There are several types of SSD that you will find on the market, and M.2 is one of them. The M.2 SSDs also come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common size is M.2 2280 (22 mm wide and 80 mm long).
M.2 SSDs, in turn, are of two types – M.2 SATA SSD and M.2 NVMe SSD. It is important to check which connector type your laptop’s motherboard has before buying an M.2 SSD.
If your laptop is too old, it might not have an M.2 slot, in which case you might need to install a 2.5″ SATA SSD. We’ll be explaining the same later in the article.
M.2 SATA SSDs use the SATA interface and are usually slower than a typical NVMe SSD. Check if your laptop has a SATA or NVMe interface. You can also visit the manufacturer’s website to check the specs of your laptop. If there’s no mention of the SSD slot, try asking in forums.
How To Install An M.2 SSD?
1. Open up the backplate of your laptop using a Philips head screwdriver.
2. Search for an empty slot that looks something like this.
3. Inspect the slot closely. The NVMe slot will have two connector pin slots whereas the SATA will have three.
4. Buy an appropriate SSD. The right way to insert it is by aligning and inserting it correctly, pressing it down, and screwing it up in place (look at the image below).
Confused about which SSD would be the right pick? We’ve compiled a list of the best SSDs for gaming and daily usage. Make sure to check it out.
That’s how you can install an M.2 SSD drive/SSD in your laptop.
How To Install A 2.5″ SATA SSD Drive?
Another form factor of SSD drives, 2.5″ SATA drives, can replace a 2.5-inch HDD in laptops. If your laptop lacks an m.2 slot, you’re left with two options – replace your CD/DVD writer with an SSD (Yes, you can do that) or replace your HDD if it’s 2.5-inches in size.
You can also replace both of them with two separate SSDs if you want to. Let’s start with how to replace the CD/DVD drive with a 2.5-inch SATA SSD.
How To Install SATA SSD In Place Of CD-ROM Drive?
To replace a SATA SSD with a CD-ROM drive, you’ll need a disk caddy to hold the SSD in place and a 2.5-inch SSD drive itself. The good news is SSD caddies are pretty cheap and cost no more than 10$ or ₹300. The CD-ROM removal and the installation part could be a little daunting, so bear with us for a moment.
The CD-ROM removal process might differ on different laptops hence, we suggest you look at the manufacturer’s website or forums if you are having trouble following the installation process.
1. Remove the CD-ROM drive from the laptop. The removal process is usually pretty straightforward. You’ll either need to untighten a screw underneath your laptop or see if there’s a button beside or below, which you can press and pull to release the drive.
2. Align and insert the SATA SSD properly into the caddy and tighten the screws that hold it in place.
3. Insert the caddy into the laptop at the same orientation in which you removed the CD-ROM drive. If it doesn’t go, don’t apply a lot of force. Instead, try realigning and inserting it again.
That’s pretty much it. Now boot into the OS and see if the SSD is detected.
How To Replace HDD With SSD?
If your laptop has a 2.5-inch HDD, you can replace the HDD with SSD easily. All you need to do is.
1. Remove the screws on the backplate of the laptop
2. Find the 2.5-inch HDD and unscrew the screws holding it in place
3. Pull out the Hard drive from the SATA connectors
4. Insert the 2.5-inch SSD and screw it in place. Nimble and simple!
How To Install A Second SSD?
If your laptop has an SSD, but you’re running out of storage space, replacing that SSD isn’t the most viable solution. If you own a gaming laptop, chances are, the motherboard might have two M.2 slots. You can add a second M.2 SSD and enjoy the extra storage.
There are a total of three possible combinations to install a second SSD or have two SSDs for extra, faster storage.
1. Add an SSD to the second M.2 slot
2. If your laptop has both SSD and HDD, replace the HDD with an SSD
3. If your laptop doesn’t have an M.2 slot but a CD-ROM drive and HDD, replace both of them with an SSD.
Installing Windows On The New SSD
Reinstalling the operating system and restoring your data on to a new SSD could be tedious, but there are a lot of HDD cloning tools that you can use to clone your OS to your new SSD such as Macrium Reflect, Clonezilla, Mondo Rescue etc.
Of course, there are tons of paid and free tools that can help you with the cloning process. Choose the one that suits you the best. You can also clean install Windows on your new SSD for a refreshing experience.
So, that was how to install SSD on a Laptop. Installing an M.2 drive doesn’t require a lot of effort, however, if you’re puzzled about replacing your HDD or CD-ROM drive with SSD, you might want to take it to a computer shop.
SSDs are definitely one of the coolest pieces of technology out there. The prices have also dropped significantly over the past few years; hence, buying them shouldn’t be an issue.