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Thread: Putting an SSD in a laptop

  1. #1
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland

    Putting an SSD in a laptop

    I recently got a laptop for my wife. On the whole, it strikes me as surprisingly slow at times, though I'm thinking that this is mainly due to the HDD, as the install is relatively clean.

    From what I've read, there's a good chance that it'll perform more smoothly if I were to change the HDD for an SSD, added to which it should be quite easy to clone the current drive.

    My questions are as follows:
    1. I haven't found any specifics on the physical size of the HDD. Am I safe in assuming that 2.5" is the go-to size?
    2. Would I need to think of anything other than a SATA-to-USB adapter and an SSD of the same capacity as the HDD?
    3. If I did all of this, put in the SSD and it didn't work, I should just be able to put the HDD back in without losing anything other than the half-hour it took to do everything?

  2. #2
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Qantas
    2.5" drives are most common in medium to full size laptops. 1.8" drives are most common in ultrabooks. 2.5" drives range in thickness from 5-15mm, with 9.5mm being the most common size. Most 1.8" drives are 5mm thick, but some run thicker. So before you buy a new SSD, open it up and check the size of the current drive. Also take the opportunity to check the mounting and confirm the connection type.

    If you plan on imaging the HDD and transferring the image to the SSD, it will be easier if you buy a SSD with larger capacity than the HDD. Some disk imaging tools, such as Microsoft's, require the destination drive to have free space equal to or greater than the size of the image. But if you have a large HDD and don't want to spend the money for a large SDD, you can get third party imaging tools that don't have this limitation. About 7-8 years ago I purchased Acronis True Image for just this purpose. I'm not sure what alternatives are out there now. If you can perform a clean install, then obviously you don't have to worry about this.

    The computer might also be slow due to anti-virus software or bloatware. Most consumer laptops seem to be preloaded with lots of bloatware you don't need or want, and a lot of this software launches unnecessary background processes at startup. The first thing I do with a new laptop is remove all the software I don't want, which usually improves startup time, and sometimes responsiveness as well. Anti-virus software can also be a real pig, and with Windows 10 it's arguably not necessary to install 3rd party anti-virus software.

  3. #3
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Thanks, I'll keep those things in mind.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2012
    Location: ontario, canada
    Putting an Ssd drive in my laptop was the easiest and best upgrade I ever did! Boot times were more than halved, load times are way better and the system is just way snappier. I liked it so much I did it for my wife and and a couple of others.

    A good cloning program I found is called Macrium Reflect. Works good and is free of charge. I have used it a bunch of times without issue to backup, clone, and restore computers. I honestly would recommend this program to make a backup of your system anyway just in case you blow a hard drive or something.

    good luck!

  5. #5
    Registered: Sep 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by heywood View Post
    Most consumer laptops seem to be preloaded with lots of bloatware you don't need or want, and a lot of this software launches unnecessary background processes at startup.
    yes, and getting a clean iso of whatever os you want to use, installing it and loading just the necessary drivers and tools can do wonders.

  6. #6
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I've put in the SSD now and everything seems to work okay. I might do a clean install of W10, but as we're about to go on holiday in a couple of days it's not at the top of my list of priorities. In any case, so far everything seems to run smoothly.

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