Installing an SSD drive into your laptop is an easy way to boost its performance, isn’t it?
A new SSD drive will make your laptop faster than a traditional HDD drive. This is why many people (with an older or cheaper laptop) decide to switch to an SDD from the preinstalled HDD.
There are many types of SSD drives you can choose from, and the M.2 type is an SSD connector that is compact in size compared to traditional 2.5-inch SSDs.
The M.2 SSD gained popularity due to its use in Ultrabooks and tablet PCs because of its form factor. This is the reason why many users do choose an M.2 SSD over a standard version.
So, how can you install this type of SSD into your laptop? This is what we’ll cover right now.
Before moving on; do make sure that your laptop has an M.2 SSD slot available. You can check your laptop manual to know more about it.
What should you know before buying M.2 SSD?
There are 2 types of M.2 SSDs: One is a SATA M.2 SSD that offers up to 550MB/s Read-Write speeds, whereas the other one is NVMe M.2 SSD that offers around 3000MB/s Read Speed and 1500MB/s Write Speed that makes it 3-6x faster than SATA M.2 Drive.
To more about this; please do check the video embedded below.
If you’re still not sure what M.2 SSD to buy; then it is advisable to get a SATA M.2 SSD because it is compatible with M.2 NVMe slot, whereas the opposite is not possible.
You should know that installing a new M.2 SSD into any laptop is an easy task. You’ll see exactly know why right now:
The first thing you need to do is to take off the back cover of your laptop. Depending on your personal laptop, you might need to unscrew the entire back panel or just a portion of it.
You’ll see this for yourself. To be sure though, you could just take off the entire back from the beginning, and then put it back when you’re finished with the whole process.
Now, if you successfully removed the cover, look for the M.2 slot where the new SSD will fit into. A screw will already be in place; make sure to remove that screw.
Since you bought the one that works with your laptop, it should perfectly slide into the port. Be careful though, to match all the pins correctly.
Note: As I mentioned earlier; if you’re not 100% sure what M.2 SSD your laptop supports; it’s better to go with SATA M.2 SSD
Once you’ve installed the SSD; make sure to screw the SSD in place with the screw you just removed before installing the SSD.
That is all. Now, check if you’ve done everything by the book, and if you’re sure it’s alright, just put back your cover, and the laptop should be ready for use.
Now, I think you know why I said that this is an easy and straightforward process.
But there is one issue that could come up depending on your own situation. If you install a new M.2 SSD into your laptop, that SSD will be empty (of course).
You’ll need to re-install the operating system if you want to use it. Or do you?
If you want to have your previous Windows version with all your data stored safely on this new SSD, read on to know how you can migrate your previous Windows OS from the old HDD to the new SSD.
How to Migrate Windows from HDD to SSD without Reinstalling
There are multiple ways you can do this, but I’ll only talk about the most popular and simple method. This consists of cloning your previous drive onto the new SSD. To do this, you need to make the following things happen:
1. Download a reliable disk cloning software. You could choose AOMEI Backupper or Macrium Reflect (the free version). It doesn’t really matter which one you want, any one of the 2 should work fine.
2. Connect the old HDD to your laptop (3.0 USB is best for speed) or the new SSD, if you haven’t swapped yet. It’s better to do this while the old HDD is still inside.
3. Now use the software of your choosing to clone the existing Windows OS to the new SSD. This could take some time depending on the amount of data and your connection (that is exactly why a 3.0 USB connector is most favorable).
4. When it’s all finished, you have a perfect clone of your existing Windows OS on the new SSD. You’re all set to use it.
Watch the video guide below for demonstration on How to Migrate Windows 10 from HDD to SSD without reinstalling.
Best SSD drives
To help you choose the best M.2 SSD for your laptop, let me list 4 of the most popular and efficient candidates:
- WD Blue 3D NAND 500GB
- Crucial MX500 500GB 3D NAND SATA
- Samsung 960 EVO Series 1TB PCIe NVMe
- Samsung 970 PRO 512GB NVMe
All the items listed above are M.2 SSD drives.
They are some of the most widely used drives. But you should know that there are other types of SSDs you can buy as well. For instance, besides the M.2 type, you can also choose among the traditional SATA, or PCI2, U.2, mSATA, and SATA Express.
Even though there are so many options you can choose from, the most popular SSD drives are the M.2 and standard SATA drives.
M.2 is really good in the case of smaller (maybe newer) laptops that have an M.2 slot ready for usage. Above, we’ve seen how you can install such a drive in your personal laptop.
The standard SATA SSD drives are mostly used by older laptops and desktop PCs that don’t have a more modern, M.2 slot created to work with ‘card’ type drives. But a SATA SSD will work just as well as an M.2 SSD.
In this article, we’ve seen how an M.2 SSD can be fitted into a laptop, and how you can clone your existing drive to migrate Windows without the need of re-installing it. I even gave you 4 of the best M.2 SSDs that you could buy.
All in all, installing an SSD drive, be it an M.2 type or a standard SATA drive, can be one of the best and easiest ways to make your laptop work faster and more efficiently.
So, do not hesitate if you feel you can do this upgrade yourself. It will be worth your time.