Do you want to upgrade your laptop from HDD to SSD? Are you still hesitant about replacing hard drive just because you don't know the detailed replacement method? If so, you should read this post. This post will tell you how to upgrade to SSD with MiniTool Partition Wizard, a cable, and a screwdriver.

Compared with HDDs, SSDs enjoy lots of outstanding features. For example, SSDs have access speeds of 35 to 100 micro-seconds, which is nearly 100 times faster than those of HDDs. Therefore, more and more people tend to upgrade their HDDs to SSDs.

However, some people dare not replace laptop hard drive to an SSD, because they are afraid of troubles caused by the lack of general notices during the replacement. If you are facing the same situation, read this post to get a step-by-step tutorial on upgrading your laptop’s hard drive to an SSD.

Tip: In this post, I will mainly focus on how to upgrade laptop HDD to SSD. As for desktops, upgrading to SSD may be very easy because they have more than one hard drive bays.

Preparatory Work

In this part, I mainly show you what tools you’ll need for laptop SSD upgrade.

A Suitable SSD

Generally speaking, the size of HHDs in laptops is mainly 2.5 inches, but some ultraportable notebooks may use the 1.8-inch disk size. In addition, even the 2.5-inch drives can have different thicknesses- 7 mm or 9.5 mm. Hence, you should check HDD information before buying an SSD, so that you can get an SSD with the right size.

There is another point you should pay attention to when you decide to upgrade to SSD. That’s computer hard drive interface. Although Laptops most widely use SATA interface, you should check the hard drive interface type of your computer to make sure you buy an SSD with the proper interface.

If your computer is very old and only supports IDE interface, you’d better not upgrade to SSD. If your computer only supports SATA interface, it’s not worthwhile to buy any other faster SSDs like M.2 SSD.

M.2 SSD vs. SATA SSD: Which One Is Suitable for Your PC?
M.2 SSD vs. SATA SSD: Which One Is Suitable for Your PC?

This article explains deeply what SATA SSD and M.2 SSD are. It touches upon SATA Bus standard, PCI-E Bus standard, AHCI protocol, and NVMe protocol.

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How to check the above information? You can check them by disassembling your computer, or utilizing the laptop manual or a reliable software.

A SATA to USB Adapter

Because of interface, the SSD can’t connect to your laptop directly for disk clone. You should buy a SATA to USB adapter or other devices like that. This kind of devices can connect your SATA SSD to your computer through the USB port.

SATA to USB adapter

In addition, this adapter can not only connect the SSD for the cloning process, but also can turn your current HDD into an external storage device for other use. Of course, some people may like to buy a hard drive mounting bracket for CD-ROM bay, so that they can mount the HDD in CD-ROM position.

hard drive mounting bracket for CD-ROM bay

Finally, you also need a high-quality small-head phillips screwdriver to help you disassemble your laptop smoothly.

Tip: If your laptop has two or more hard drive cabins while only one HDD is installed in it, you can just install the SSD into your computer and then clone HDD to SSD. You also don’t need to buy these cables or brackets.

Clone HDD to SSD

Since most laptops have only one hard drive bay, you should clone HDD to SSD or migrate OS to the SSD first lest your computer can’t boot up after upgrading to the SSD. That’s why you need a SATA to USB adapter. As for the free disk clone software, you can choose MiniTool Partition Wizard.

Tip: If your HDD is old or the new SSD has enough space, you can choose to clone HDD to SSD. However, if your HDD is relatively new or the new SSD has a relatively small size, you can choose OS migration.

Of course, if you want to perform a clean installation of Windows after upgrading to SSD, you can skip this step.

New SSD, Clean Install or Clone Disk or Migrate Windows OS?
New SSD, Clean Install or Clone Disk or Migrate Windows OS?

This post shows features of clean install, clone HDD, and migrate Windows to SSD, which can help you choose the most proper way to create new Windows.

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Here is the tutorial on cloning HHD to SSD.

Step 1: Connect your SSD to your laptop computer through the SATA to USB adapter.

connect the SSD to the laptop

Step 2: Buy MiniTool Partition Wizard and launch it to get its main interface. Then click on Migrate OS to SSD/HD Wizard on the action panel.

click on Copy Disk Wizard on the action panel

Step 3: Click Next button to continue and then choose the system disk to copy. Then, click Next button again.

choose the system disk to copy

Step 4: Select the target disk (SSD) to clone HDD to and click Next to continue.

Note: MiniTool Partition Wizard will format the SSD and remove all data saved on it automatically. In addition, MiniTool Partition Wizard allows you to copy the HDD to a smaller SSD as long as the SSD and hold the content of the HDD.

select the target disk

Step 5: Choose right copy options and adjust the target disk layout. Then, click Next button.

  • Fit partitions to entire disk: All the partitions on the HDD are shrunk or extended by an equal proportion to fill the entire SSD.
  • Copy partitions without resizing: All the partitions on the HDD are copied into the SSD without changing size.
  • Align partitions to 1 MB: It is 4K alignment, which is good for improving computer performance.
  • Use GUID partition table for the target disk: If the HDD is an MBR disk while the SSD is a GPT disk, you should choose this option, otherwise your laptop can’t boot from the SSD. This feature is not free. Click MBR vs. GPT to know more about them.

choose right copy options and adjust the target disk layout

Step 6: Carefully read a popup boot note and click Finish button to go back to the main window of Partition Wizard.

Step 7: Click Apply button to make all changes finally performed.

click Apply on the toolbar

How to Install SSD

After completing the above works, you can start on replacing laptop hard drive and installing the SSD. Please follow the steps below to upgrade laptop HDD to SSD.

Here is the tutorial on how to upgrade laptop to SSD.

Step 1: Prepare a workplace and deal with power problem.

  • Transfer the computer to a clear, flat, and stable work surface over a non-carpeted floor.
  • Make sure the laptop is unplugged and the battery has been removed. Actually, we’d better press on the power button of laptop for several seconds to remove any residual charge.
Tip: If you are not very clear about each part of laptop, please video the disassembly procedure or take photos of each major step to show where the screws and parts belong to. This method will be useful when you set about reassembling your laptop later.

Step 2: Remove hard drive from laptop.

Firstly, you should locate the compartment for hard drive. Most laptops’ hard disk is located under a removable panel like this:

compartment for hard drive

If your laptop hard drive is also positioned like above, it’s very easy to take hard drive out. Please carry out the following actions:

  • Use screwdriver to remove screws that fasten the removable panel and take the panel away.
  • Remove the screws that secure the hard drive to laptop,
  • Slightly detach any retaining clips and cables, and then take the hard drive out.
  • If there is a frame or carrier to fix hard disk, remove it and take out the real hard disk.
Tip: Take care of any screws, frames, rubber grommets, etc., because you will reuse them to mount SSD.


Don’t try to force things apart, because there might be hidden fasteners, screws, or cables. If you have to exert more force to remove or separate parts, stop immediately and then check whether there is such a tiny thing to block the disassembling, for any force could damage your computer.

Further Reading:

Some of you might be unable to find the hard disk even after removing all removable panels from the bottom of the laptop. That is because some designers hide hard disk under keyboard or motherboard. In this case, the disassembly procedure seems much more difficult and should go like this:

  • Remove the screws that hold the keyboard deck.
  • Detach any snaps that connect the lower portion of the case and keyboard deck.
  • Remove the keyboard deck.
  • Remove the keyboard and other parts that hide the hard disk or prevent you from taking away motherboard, after taking out screws and detaching cables.
  • Take the motherboard away if the hard disk is located under motherboard.
  • Remove screws, cables, and any other things that fasten hard disk to laptop, and take out the hard disk.
  • Remove the frame mounted on hard disk.
Tip: During this step, a card or spudger might be needed to detach things.

Kindly Reminder:

Don’t try disassembling blindly if you think it’s difficult and dangerous to remove hard drive from laptop, because you may ruin your computer. The best choice is to ask professionals for help, or turn to your laptop manufacturers.

Of course, if you have confidence to do this, just do it by following our steps or other tutorials on the internet, but keep in mind: DON’T FORCE THINGS!

Step 3: Hook SSD to laptop. In this step, you just need to reverse the procedure to insert the SSD and reassemble the laptop.

Step 4: Power on your computer to see whether it can boot from the SSD. If the computer can’t boot, you may click Top 5 Solutions to Fix SSD Won’t Boot Windows 10 to get solutions.

Step 5: Adjust your computer to make it more adaptable to SSD.

How to Get Best Performance from SSD in Windows 7/8/10/11
How to Get Best Performance from SSD in Windows 7/8/10/11

Want to get best performance from SSD (solid state drive) in Windows 10/8.1/8/7? You can find step-by-step tutorials from this post.

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Tip: After all of these steps are completed, you can enjoy the high speed from the SSD. Nevertheless, SSDs are different from HDDs. SSDs have limits on wiping and writing number, which is related to SSD life. Get solutions from How to Know Your SSD’s Lifespan and How to Increase Its Life?

Upgrade Laptop HDD to SSD FAQ

Can I change my HDD to SSD?
Of course you can.  It is one of the best things you can do to dramatically improve the performance of your older computer. However, when you change your HDD to SSD, please make sure that the size and interface of the SSD is suitable for your computer.
Can I move Windows from HDD to SSD?
You can do that certainly. But you may need third-party software to help you migrate OS. MiniTool Partition Wizard is one of the best choices for you.
Is it worth upgrading to SSD?
In general, if your computer’s interfaces are SATA III or other faster interfaces like M.2, etc., it’s worth upgrading to SSD. However, if your computer’s interfaces are slow interfaces like IDE, SATA I, or SATA II, I recommend you not to upgrade to SSD.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to replace laptop hard drive to an SSD without reinstalling OS. I have tried it and I successfully replace the hard drive with SSD. Just follow the guide and you can upgrade laptop HDD to SSD easily.Click to Tweet

Bottom Line

Do you have any problem about SSD upgrade after reading this guide? Do you have any other ideas on how to upgrade laptop HDD to SSD or on how to utilize the old HDD? If so, please leave a comment below to give us feedback or to share your thought.

Of course, if you have any problem in performing the above SSD upgrade steps, please also leave a comment or email us at [email protected]. We will reply to you as soon as possible.

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