Welcome to the Solid State

Welcome to the Solid State


This is a step-by-step guide to upgrading a computer to a solid state drive (SSD). For computers with a standard mechanical hard drive (HDD; spinning platters) this is by far the most effective upgrade in terms of performance gained and out-of-pocket costs.

1. Purchase an SSD

Ideally with storage capacity greater than or equal to current drive.

Example: 500GB Samsung 860 EVO

Keep in mind that many of the merchants from the above link will price match the others if item is available for lower price. This won't be automatic but ask at checkout if buying in-store and show a link to the lower price.

2. Clone or Clean

Option A - Clone current hard drive to the SSD

  • Not always possible with laptops since this typically requires a computer that supports a second hard drive. External enclosures are an option but connect via USB and may cause issues with the cloning process.

Option B - Reinstall operating system on SSD

  • Ideal option but requires an additional few steps.

3. Create Windows Install USB & Backup Files

  • Download Windows Installation USB Creator and Create an installation USB.
  • Backup any important files (documents, pictures, music, etc.). - Screenshots of you desktop, list of installed programs, and start menu layout are also useful.

4. Install SSD

  • Open computer and find the existing hard drive which should be the same dimensions as the new SSD. Unplug the two cables from the old drive, unscrew any screws, remove old drive, insert SSD, replace screws, reconnect the cables to the SSD.
  • Power on computer with USB inserted and follow the on screen instructions to install windows.

5. Uses for old hard drive

  • Use as External backup drive. Obtain a drive enclosure and put the drive into the enclosure. This is also a great way to reduce the stress from backing up files since you can access everything on the drive, assuming you haven't wiped it, via the external USB enclosure.
  • Coaster. Because water stains on wood are a terrible thing.