How to install a new solid state drive (SSD) hard drive

I recently have more time on my hands, and decided to try out a long-awaited computer project – installing a solid state drive (SSD) into my computer.

SSDs are built like the flash memory in thumb drives and iPhones. Unlike conventional hard drives, there are no moving parts. This means much faster transfer speeds, lower failure rates, and greater energy efficiency.

Unfortunately, SSDs are still very expensive. A typical 1Tb external hard drive can now be had for less than S$99. Instead, I bought a Crucial M4 64Gb SSD drive for USD99 from Amazon.com.

Gb for Gb, the SSD is about 20 times more expensive. That’s why I bought such a small-capacity SSD, to be tried out on my spare 11.6″ HP dm1 laptop.

Here’s how I did it:

1. I removed the existing hard drive from my laptop.

2. Using a ThermalTake dual slot hard drive dock, I connected both hard drives to my computer.

I bought the USB3.0 version which allows for much faster data transfers. The dual slots makes cloning a new hard disk totally painless.

3. I used Easeus Todo Backup software (you can download it for free – I also use this software for my daily backups) to clone the main disk partition from the existing hard drive to the SSD drive.

4. I then installed the SSD drive into the laptop.

5. Upon booting up, I received a bootup failure error message. After a bit of digging on Google, I realised that the Easeus cloning function only copies the files but not the Master Boot Record (MBR).

6. So I created a Windows 7 system recovery disc and used it to boot up. After fixing the MBR, I restarted the computer and it worked perfect then.

So, did the SSD live up to its claims? Here is my experience so far:

Bootup times has improved from an average of 2 mins to around 50 seconds.

I didn’t notice any dramatic change in the start-up times of programmes, but my computer is probably experiencing a bottleneck in the weak CPU (AMD E350 chip).

The Windows Experience Index score for the hard drive increased from 5..7 to 7.8. It feels great seeing it.

The SSD will probably be a better match for my main laptop (a quad-core i7 Sony Vaio) but I’ll wait till the price drops much, much more before getting a 512GB model.

If you ever try installing a SSD, do let me know your experience. 🙂

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About Hun Boon

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
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