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There are several benefits that come with having your laptop equipped with a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a mechanical hard drive. Improved responsiveness is the first thing you will notice after upgrading to an SSD. You enjoy quicker boot times and speedier application loading. These drives are also significantly more resistant to shocks and damage than regular hard disks. In the past, many people were reluctant to get an upgrade for cost reasons. Prices of SSDs have become friendlier on the pocket, so much so that you can now more easily pass up hard drive to have one.

SSDs are quite easy to install – you need not be a techie to set them up. They offer you the best means of improving performance, especially when you consider that it is virtually impossible or highly complicated to replace motherboards, processors and certain other internal components. Here are simple steps you can follow to install an SSD in your laptop.

Check compatibility and warranty information

Before you rush out to get yourself a spanking new SSD for the upgrade, you first need to ascertain if your laptop qualifies for an upgrade. Your laptop needs to have a SATA hard drive. This is because modern solid state drives require an internal SATA connector. Your machine probably qualifies for an upgrade if it was manufactured not earlier than 2008. For best results, it helps if your laptop supports SATA 3 standard which delivers speeds of up to 6 Gbps. SSDs work better with Windows 7 OS and newer versions. It is advisable to put off an upgrade if your notebook is still under warranty as going ahead will automatically void it.

Prepare for the installation

Some items are going to be needed for the upgrade process to be successful and to ensure you do not damage anything. You will need to have the user manual for your laptop handy – you can download a copy from the manufacturer’s website. A screwdriver, data transfer software, an external USB drive enclosure, and a USB cable will also be required for the process. To protect your drive against damage by static electricity, you are also going to need an ESD wrist strap, unless you know how to earth yourself adequately. It may also be needed to update your laptop’s BIOS for compatibility with an SSD.

Back up or clone

The next step will be to ensure that your data are kept safe before proceeding with the upgrade. There are two ways you can go about this: normal backup or clone. The backup route is a tortuous and time-consuming one. It involves re-installing your operating system all over again. You can save yourself from unnecessary stress by cloning your hard drive. Insert the new SSD into the USB drive enclosure and connect it to your laptop using a USB cable. Launch the software for data transfer and start the cloning process. Everything you need for the process may come with the SSD or you may need to get them separately.

Remove hard drive

Power off your laptop and unplug from power source when cloning is done. Remove the battery and follow the instructions in your laptop manual on how to remove the hard drive. Ensure you note the orientation of the drive as you will need to fit in your new SSD same way. All through this process you should have your ESD wrist wrap on, if you are unsure of how to properly earth yourself.

Fit in the SSD

Now, insert the new SSD in the same orientation as your old hard drive, ensuring it slots well into the SATA connector. Replace the storage drive panel and tighten the screws. You can then replace the battery, connect your laptop to a power source, and boot.

Installing an SSD in your laptop is that simple. If your machine fails to boot after installation, check BIOS setting to be certain the new SSD is set as the primary boot device. You will have to re-install your OS if you chose the backup option instead of cloning.

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