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How to Speed up Your Computer with an SSD Drive

Posted by: on Feb 28, 2015 | No Comments

 

How to Speed up Your Computer with an SSD Drive or Add a Second Hard Drive to Your Laptop

Do you feel like it takes longer for your computer to boot up than it took to watch the Star Wars Trilogy? Upgrading to an SSD drive is a simple and cheap way to speed up your laptop and make it run better than new. In fact, the difference will be so noticeable that you won’t even think it’s the same computer.  Why is an SSD so much better than the traditional HDD?  The traditional HDD (short for Hard Disk Drive) has been around since 1956, ancient by modern standards. It uses spinning platters to store and access data. While HDDs are cheap nowadays (~$100 for 3 terabytes), they’re substantially slower than SSDs (short for Solid State Drive). SSDs rely on flash memory, like the memory found in USB flash drives. Unlike their HDD predecessor, they’re not prone to damage by magnetism or physical shock.

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Photo by Alex Washburn/Wired via Wikipedia

A $100 SSD can triple your computer’s speed. You might also see an improvement in your laptop’s battery life! The Samsung EVO SSD can be found on Amazon starting at $79. There are several SSD brands to choose from, but from our experience, Samsung has proven to be the best balance between value and performance. You can clone your laptop drive and keep your files and applications, but you’ll get the best performance improvement by doing a clean installation of Windows.

 

 

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Estimated time: 3 hours (allow more time if reinstalling Windows)
Things You’ll Need:
1. Phillips Screwdriver (precision screwdrivers work well)
2. External USB Hard Drive enclosure ($6.99 on Amazon)
3. USB flash drive
4. SSD drive
5. Windows installation disk* (optional)
*Windows 7 users will need an installation disk. Users of Windows 8 and newer can use the ‘Refresh my PC’ feature. If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, we’ll cover it in a future tutorial.

Steps (if you want to reinstall Windows, skip to step #7):
Locate the hard drive compartment by examining the bottom of your computer. The compartment is usually marked with a symbol that looks like 3 stacked circles. If you don’t see the symbol, you can find the technical documentation on your laptop manufacturer’s website.

1. Note the type of screws securing the panel to ensure that your screwdriver will work

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2. Boot your computer up, with the existing drive, and install the Samsung Migration software that came with your SSD drive. If you didn’t purchase a Samsung drive and your SSD didn’t come with cloning software, there are a number of free alternatives you can use such as: EaseUS and Clonezilla

3. Insert your new hard drive into the external USB enclosure. You’ll likely see a SATA connector on one end of your hard drive. It has a Tetris-like shape that’ll match up with your enclosure’s connection. If you’re having trouble, check both connectors to ensure they’re facing the right direction.

4. Plug your enclosure into your laptop. If you’re prompted to format your disk, choose file type NTFS and be sure that ‘Quick Format’ is checked. Give your new SSD a distinct name so that you won’t accidentally delete data on your existing drive.

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5. Carefully follow the prompts on your cloning software’s screen. You’ll want to clone your existing drive to the new drive. This may take a while, so leave it running, and just check back every 30 minutes or so.

6. Shut down your computer. Disconnect the power cable and remove the battery.

7. Be sure that you have a clean area to work and somewhere to set the laptop screws aside so that they don’t get lost. Avoid working on carpeted areas, because static electricity can damage your computer.

8. Remove the panel covering the hard drive compartment of your laptop. You may have to gently pry the panel off if it’s being held in place by plastic tabs.

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9. Your hard drive should now be visible. Examine how the hard drive is secured to your laptop. Most laptops have a tab or ribbon for you to gently lift one end of the drive and wiggle it out at a 45-degree angle.

10. Your hard drive might have a bumper or cage attached by 4 screws. Go ahead and remove the old hard drive and replace it with the SSD.

11. Reassemble your laptop and boot it up to test your installation. If everything works, congratulations, you’re done! If you’re reinstalling Windows, then proceed with reinstalling Windows and your applications.

What about the extra hard drive?
Now that you have an external USB enclosure, your old hard drive can be used for external storage.
However, if you like the idea of adding a second hard drive in your laptop, you can replace the optical drive with a hard drive caddy. They’re inexpensive on Amazon and Ebay and are a great way to get extra storage without forking over the cash for a larger SSD.

I hope this article was helpful.

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