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Notes for upgrading laptop to SSD drive

This is geared toward my replacing the HDD on my Asus laptop (Asus ROG GL551JM-DH71)
I'm thinking of doing a clone, with a fallback to a complete reinstall if the clone isn't successful or of enough benefit.

Install to New SSD

What I did 12/12-13/2019

I wanted to have a fresh, SSD-based Windows 10 system on my laptop.

  1. I visited MicroCenter and bought a 1TB SSD for $110 plus tax.
    1. They have 500GB SSD's and larger ones than 1TB, and even 240GB SSD's for $25. This as of 20191212.
  2. Installed it physically into the laptop:
    1. Remove existing HD
    2. Replace with SSD
  3. Make a bootable USB drive
    1. Microsoft Store said they'd do this
    2. You'll need a USB that's 8GB or larger (ISO image today was 5.4GB)
    3. But I installed it myself by visiting and following instructions to burn a bootable USB drive.
  4. Set laptop to allow boot from USB (in BIOS)
  5. Insert USB and boot laptop
  6. I needed to delete existing partitions [as I had installed Linux to test the SSD in the laptop].
  7. Annoying: the Windows 10 installation process didn't tell me to remove USB – so it kept looping and asking me to install (again). So, after you see install complete and a reboot, pull out the USB stick.
  8. You then have a fresh Windows 10 install and get to shut up Cortana and answer all of the questions MS asks you.
  • Note that I did not need to have my Windows 10 license. Microsoft Store guru said that the license was linked to my PC's MAC address and would automatically apply (note: laptop had previously had Windows 10 installed.)
  • I've put my old HD into a case so I can access its files as an external hard disk – so no need to clone except now I have to load all the software!
  • I'll be using LibreOffice in place of MS Office.

Notes for Cloning

I did NOT do this, info comes from web sites.

Before getting started

  • Call Microsoft and get the license for my Windows 10
  • Back up my system
  • Figure out how to clone.
    • Acronis?
    • Other software?
  • Make sure SSD will fit into laptop and whether rails are needed
  • Does SSD come with USB connection?
  • Does SSD come with cloning software?


  1. Connect SSD to computer
  2. Clone HDD to SSD
  3. Change partitions on SSD as needed
  4. Physically remove HDD and replace with SSD

Questions needing solution

  • How to connect SSD to computer for cloning
  • Best software to use for cloning

Disks to consider using

Samsung 860 1TB SATA III SSD

Software Tools to consider

Docking stations

Use to connect 2nd drive to computer for fast data transfer

Process Notes

  • You may need a bracket for the drive - some include them - but all SSDs are 2.5” form factor so you will likely need to mount accordingly. [jht]
  • You can if you try it on your existing computer and it makes your computer faster then you'll be doing better than most. Often there is no way to significantly speed up Windows without doing a clean install; registry cleaners and extra file cleaners help a little bit but a clean install help A LOT. If you're going to the effort to purchase a new hard drive and extend the life of your computer and make it faster it makes more sense to do clean install. [dk]
  • I have used the Crucial website to pick memory and an ssd for my computers. I bought ssd and memory on Crucial website. SSD arrived with case, dongle for USB port. Excellent support service. [alp]
  • I did buy a Samsung and I find it is not as fast as the Crucial. My Samsung is an ssd 840 EVO 500 gig [alp]
  • I have been doing fresh installs with Linux, then attack old op system and copy home directory which includes docs and downloads which is all my data. A typical install is less than an hour. [alp]
  • As an alternative to cloning the drive: assuming you have Windows, and you have the installers for your programs, you can likely just copy over everything from your user directory to keep all of your documents and settings (located in {Windows Drive}\Users\{UserName}\AppData, or enter %userprofile% into Explorer's address bar). Be sure to also capture the AppData folder, since it's hidden by default. It won't be an exact duplicate of your existing computer, but you'll keep the vast majority of your settings and probably all of your documents. [cdc]
  • Whether you go the manual copy route or the full clone route, one option to temporarily connect your new SSD or old HDD to the system is the Thermaltake BlackX, which is around $20 at Newegg. I have an older version of it that has served me well for reading 2.5“ drives (they read 3.5” drives too, but I doubt a laptop has one of those), but I'm sure there are lots of other inexpensive options as well. [cdc]

Good Summary [jri]

The process to migrate from a “spinning” hard drive to a Solid State Drive (SSD) is a relatively easy one, however you will need a special cable and the right software.

For the cable, you would need something comparable to this item, as you will need to physical attach the SSD to the computer using a USB port. Then once you have cloned the hard drive to the SSD, you will need to put the SSD inside the computer.

For software, you can use the product that comes with the SSD or spend a few dollars and upgrade to an Acronis software product. Directions on software to clone a disk: We use an Acronis

After you install the new SSD in your computer, and you log in, you may need to extend the volume. Go to Disk Management and right click the active volume and choose “Extend Volume”. This will maximize the SSD to its full capacity.

If installing in a desktop, you will need a mounting bracket.

For the hardware, we just recently upgraded 22 of our client’s laptops to a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB hard drive, with a current cost of $169.99 at


upgrade_to_ssd.txt · Last modified: 2021.12.22 13:51 by