How to Replace a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) with a Solid State Drive (SSD)

If your computer is slow but has medium-good specifications elsewhere, adding an SSD is an easy way to speed up your PC.

Prerequisites: Have a computer with an HDD

Difficulty Level: Member • Nerd • Platypus

Estimated Time: 30 Minutes + time to transfer data (This depends on how much is there)

Expected Outcome: Your SSD with Windows 10 will be installed, recognized, and running

Tools Required: a .2 Philips Head Screwdriver (Normally the standard for computer screws)

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Note: These steps are from a general perspective of the process. It is HIGHLY recommended that you find a teardown tutorial on YouTube to see the process first, especially if you are upgrading a laptop. 


Steps to Perform 

  1. Identify whether your computer uses a regular SATA HDD, if so you can upgrade to an SSD.
  2. Open up a new browser tab to and search SSD. The choice is yours: Samsung, SanDisk, Crucial, and Toshiba are all popular SSD makers. Just make sure it has more storage than your current Hard Drive if you are wanting to Clone your current drive to the new one, and if this is for a laptop make sure the drive is compatible with its physical dimensions, it will usually have to match the current HDD in physical size.
    1. SSDs will generally come in 2 form factors, 2.5" and M.2, make sure to purchase the correct type, as not all computers can support an M.2 model, and this Guide is built for the installation of a 2.5" drive. 
  3. If you are installing windows new the first step is to install windows 10 Media Creation Tool on a flash drive, follow steps 1-4 on this Gizmo Guide (How to Install Windows 10 on an Empty Drive) and once you have it on your Flash Drive come back here.
  4. IMPORTANT: Turn off your computer's power supply and unplug the power from the wall entirely, forgetting to do this could cause damage to the device, as well as bodily harm from electrocution
  5. The next step will be to remove your old HDD, to do this you will need the Philips head screwdriver
  6. If there are screws on both sides of the PC Remove the left side panel from your PC by removing the screws on that side panel, if there are no screws on the left side panel remove the one with screws, or if it’s a laptop remove all the screws on the bottom making sure to check under removable screw covers/rubber grippers.
  7. From this point you should be able to see the hard drive, the placement varies depending on the layout of your case/laptop but it will have two black connectors on it, a SATA Power and a SATA Data connector that look like this.
  8. If it is a laptop you will want to remove the screws from around the HDD and then disconnect the cables once you have better access, if it is a desktop the order may vary, it may be impossible to pull the drive out of HDD Bay before removing the cables, or it may be impossible to remove the cables before taking the drive out of the sled/bay, it may not matter at all which you do first, just use your best judgement.
  9. If you are cloning data continue to this Gizmo Guide: How to Clone a Drive in GTC (GCI Internal) ( , if not Continue to Step 10.
  10. After your Drive clone has completed (or if you plan to install a fresh copy of Windows) you can begin installing your new SSD, SSDs are not as fragile as HDDs so unless you move your computer a lot you can install it very easily. You will take the two cables you removed from the HDD and plug them into the SSD.
  11. Once you plug in the two cables, if it's a laptop you will need to screw it back in and put it in the same frame the HDD came out of, if it is a Desktop you can put it in the case where the hard drive was, leave it in the bottom, etc. You may have places to mount it and screw it in you may not, you can use double sided adhesive or Velcro to secure it, or even leave it unmounted if your computer doesn’t move often. Unlike a HDD, an SSD doesn’t have moving internal components so securing it isn’t always necessary.
At this point if you cloned your drive you are finished, it should be ready to plug in and power on, if you are installing windows from scratch follow this guide here: How to install Windows 10 on an empty Drive (