How to replace HDD with SSD in a laptop

If the laptop starts to boot slower, one of the most effective solutions will be to replace a regular hard drive with an SSD-drive. The speed of the computer will increase, but how can the important data remaining on the hard disk be transferred along with the system? In this article I will talk about the software and hardware methods for cloning drives and copying data.

First, let’s talk about the purely technical differences and advantages of solid state drives. The first is significantly higher read / write speeds, which, depending on the type of SSD, can be 20 times higher than that of hard drives. As a result, very fast loading of the operating system and instant activation of application software, reduction of loading time between locations of even the most demanding games and the disappearance of “freezes” caused by pumping textures into RAM or video memory from a slow drive of the old type.

The second point is that the SSD is completely quiet and heats up less due to the absence of mechanical elements and reduced power consumption. And for a laptop, these criteria are especially important.

The third advantage of an SSD-drive comes from the second – there is no mechanics in it, which means that it is not afraid of vibrations and does not create them itself.

500 GB 2.5 “SATA drive Samsung 870 EVO [MZ-77E500BW] 6 550 *
How to choose an SSD?
When choosing a solid-state drive, you need to consider whether there will be only an SSD in the laptop or whether you need to leave a hard drive for large data, and whether it is possible to install both drives. The most common option if there is a DVD drive in a laptop, which, given the digital realities, is probably not used, is to replace it with a special optibay adapter – in terms of form factor and connection interface, it coincides with the drive, but in fact is a “slide” that allows connect the hard drive.

Connector compatibility also needs to be borne in mind – for the past ten years, all laptops have connected hard drives via the second and third generation SATA interface, and if the laptop is relatively fresh, then there is a chance for a free NVMe slot.

The question of the volume of an SSD-drive is a purely individual matter. If you have an approximate idea of ​​the size of your personal and work data, add to it the capacity of the system partition, which today is 40-50 GB, plus or minus 15 GB for the paging file. In general, it is worth considering solid state devices from 250 GB. But there is never too much memory – here the more, the better. If you need to store really large volumes, the option with the use of an optibay adapter will suit you: instead of the old HDD, we put an SSD, instead of a drive, a new hard disk with as large a volume as required. Yes, it is advisable to install a new hard drive – it will work faster than the old one, and you can choose the appropriate capacity.

500 GB SSD M.2 drive Samsung 980 [MZ-V8V500BW]
5699 *
1000 GB SSD M.2 drive Samsung 980 [MZ-V8V1T0BW]
10,599 *
There are laptop models in which there was no DVD drive initially, and in some there is not even an interface connector for it, that is, you cannot install an optibay. Then, to transfer data, you will need an external USB box for a hard drive, or a system unit, to which you can connect both an HDD and an SSD at the same time.

Preparing for data migration
It is better to copy the most valuable information to an external hard drive or cloud storage – this is both a guarantee of data safety and an additional backup. The second step is to clear the browser cache and delete unnecessary files – this will reduce the amount of transferred data, and therefore speed up the process of cloning the system.

There are essentially two ways to switch from HDD to SSD. The first is a complete system installation. To do this, you will need to prepare an installation flash drive, download all the necessary drivers from the laptop manufacturer’s website, install the operating system with all updates and copy your data from the cloud or external hard drive back to the laptop.

The second way is direct cloning. Technically, it is a little simpler, and we will dwell on it.

1000 GB SSD M.2 drive A-Data XPG GAMMIX S11 Pro [ AGAMMIXS11P-1TT-C] 10,499 *
Disk cloning
To make a complete transfer of data from one drive to another, both drives must be connected to the same computer – either directly via SATA or via an external box via USB. In the case of a laptop, the hard drive remains inside, the SSD in the external box.


There are quite a few programs that allow you to create clones of either entire disks or individual partitions. They can be paid, completely free, or free with limited functionality, but the principle of operation is the same. First, we indicate the source disk from which you want to make a copy, and the target disk to which you want to write this copy. Most often, by default, programs offer to do one-to-one cloning, which in the vast majority of cases is the right choice. The duration of the cloning process depends on the speed indicators of both drives and on the amount of data copied.


When the cloning process is completed, you need to turn off the laptop (do not send it to sleep or hibernation, namely turn it off), disconnect the external USB box, remove the battery (if it is removable), remove the hard drive from the laptop, install an SSD instead, put the battery on place and turn on the laptop again. If the cloning process passed without errors, then the operating system will boot correctly, and you will immediately feel all the advantages of working with an SSD: faster loading, instant response of the device to your actions and increased performance in general. Even a browser with a lot of open tabs will run faster.



Hardware cloning
There is a way to clone drives without connecting to a computer – some docking stations allow you to do this. A docking station is essentially the same external HDD box, only with the ability to quickly replace drives and with a more “smart” filling. In the first slot we put the original source disk, in the second – the destination disk, in this case the SSD. It remains only to press the clone button and wait. The data will be copied in a sector-by-sector mode, and a special indicator will notify you of the end of the process. Be prepared, it will take longer than using a computer, but the process is completely autonomous – docking stations for cloning disks do not need to be connected to a PC.


Using a docking station for cloning disks undoubtedly has its advantages, but it also imposes certain requirements, however, absolutely logical – the volume of the receiving drive must be no less than the volume of the source. Sector-by-sector copying is done one-to-one, so if the receiving drive is larger than the source, there will be unallocated space on the disk after the cloned partitions. It will have to be marked up manually – either by creating another logical partition, or by attaching it to an existing one.


If you want to significantly speed up your laptop without losing important data, programs and settings, buy an SSD drive and clone a familiar working environment adapted to your needs. Full data transfer is not a complicated process at all, you just need to follow basic safety precautions and make a preliminary backup of the most valuable information.