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Here’s how you can upgrade your laptop’s hard disk drive to an SSD


Y’know what tech enthusiasts say when a gadget starts dying? Every dying component is a reason to upgrade to a newer, less dead, and much faster version of that component. Smartphone feeling a little sluggish? Buy a new one! Gaming laptop fan getting too loud? Buy a new one! Did one of the rubber feet on your RGB keyboard fall off? Buy a new one!

So guess what we did when the hard disk on our Dell Inspiron 17 7000 2-in-1 started failing? Yep, we bought a new one. But, we also went one step further and wrote a comprehensive guide on how you can swap out your painfully slow mechanical hard disk drive for a newer, less dead and much faster solid state drive!

Jokes aside, I had a little bit of a crisis this year. My laptop, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 that has been my main workhorse since I started working here, began to show the first signs of its death.

At first, I thought there was no saving it but then I found out that the only thing that was dying was the hard disk. It is a slow mechanical hard disk drive so considering the beating it took every day, I guess I wasn’t too surprised. So, we ordered a brand new SSD and began surgery on the Dell.

Before we get started with the guide, though, do note that although I’ll try to keep this guide as “generic as possible”, I’m writing this based on my personal experience when swapping out the hard disk on my Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1. Your experience may vary based on your laptop. That said, the steps are generally pretty universally applicable so you can still use this as a general guide.

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Of course, if you do attempt a drive swap, we will not be held responsible for any problems that may occur during your swap. Proceed at your own risk.

First off, here are the tools you need:

1. A laptop with a hard disk problem

I think this is pretty self-explanatory.

2. A screwdriver

Getting a screwdriver that matches the screws on your laptop is a big plus. Alternatively, you can get a screwdriver set like this sick one from Xiaomi which has interchangeable tips that are also MAGNETIC. Everything is better when it’s magnetic.

3. A replacement drive

It’s 2017, so we’d recommend that you get a solid state drive (SSD) for your primary boot drive. Having a hard disk drive on a device that you bring with you on the go is really not ideal. Not only are they usually more prone to shock damage, they’re also far slower than speedy SSDs.

We got the 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD which has pretty good reviews online. It’s got standard SSD speeds of about 500MB/s for both read and write which should give you noticeably faster performance than your bog-standard HDD. Most SSDs should work fine, just make sure do your research online and hunt for the best prices from reputable retailers.

4. A sturdy, static-free workstation

Static electricity and electronics don’t go together. The last thing you want is to zap your brand new drive or all the internals in your laptop. Things to avoid: Carpets, overly dry atmosphere, and/or cats rubbing themselves on you. It also helps if you can ground yourself (touch something that’s already grounded) before you begin work.

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5. You might want to back up any important data from your old drive

Again, pretty self-explanatory — things you want to keep, back them up either to the cloud or a separate flash drive/external hard disk. If your hard disk is already dead and you need to recover data from them, you will probably need to get help from professional data recovery people.