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How to install a mSATA SSD into a laptop or Ultrabook


Tablets, thin laptops and ultrabook's are one of those great computing miniaturisations that have revolutionised how we use computers. They have made computers cheaper, and easier to use and basically brought computer power to the masses. However one of the sacrifices has been storage capacity. To make that competitive price manufacturers have had to use smaller mSATA drives (the hard drive/storage space of the the device). It is not all the makers fault, the technology has been playing catch up, developing ways to create bigger capacity at cheaper prices. The good news is that higher capacity has arrived at the price you want. Installing a mSATA is the easiest way to make your device more usable, with a bigger drive you can store more.

This guide covers a general installation. To make it more specific, please consult your device's user manual. I know, many never ship with a user manual, so try the brand's website, it usually can be downloaded or search user forum's for people that have done the upgrade before.

There is a little bit of research you will need to do before venturing into an mSATA upgrade. If you need more detailed advice, please consult our chat service (bottom right of your screen) or send us an email or give our friendly support team a call (we love hearing from customers)

What type of SSD?
In the tablet/ultrabook world there are many standards and many proprietary products. Also many brands do not want you to upgrade because the device was sold as a sealed unit not to be upgrade. Sort of a disposal computer, out grow the device...buy a new one. It seems such a waste, why buy new if you are happy and just need a bit more capacity? We hear you, and we are here to help.

For many, the hardest part of this journey is to identify which mSATA part you need. We have a guide for that problem (coming soon). In this guide we refer to the most common mSATA products.

What type of SSD installation?
You need to decide if you want to clone your current storage or start fresh with a new software.
Most people choose to clone, because it is easy and quick. Cloning is using software, such as Acronis that comes with our cloning kit, to make an exact clone of your current drive onto the new SSD.
Starting with a fresh install is installing all new operating system and software. You must have all this software available, it is not provided with the SSD. People choose this method if they believe their current drive is corrupted beyond repair with a virus or malware, or their hard drive has crashed and can not be repaired.

Before you start installation
You will need tools. The Upgradeable tool kit has all the tools required for a memory or SSD installation. Typically you will need a #00 Phillips head to remove the back panel securing the storage drive. If you are not sure, buy our complete cloning kit, it will have all the tools you will need. ALSO please note some tablets will require a spludger device to pry open the device (also contained in our cloning kit)


Precautions
Static electricity is our enemy, please be careful. Make sure your work environment is static free, remove all plastic and paper from your work area.
Ground yourself by touching something metallic before you pick up a static sensitive item, such as the SSD.
Don't forget to reground yourself. Rookie mistake is holding something, like your user manual that can hold a static charge, and not reground yourself. (Upgradeable pro tip)

When handling the SSD, please hold it on the sides using your thumb and index finger. Avoid touching the chips as a small spark of static and cause damage.


Some systems require you to remove the keyboard to access the mSATA SSD. Ribbon cables will attach the keyboard, please be careful not to damage these components. Many times the keyboard can be leaned against the screen.


Cloning your drive
If you are cloning your current hard drive, now is the time to start that process. If you need help with that, here is our PC cloning guide. We also have a Mac cloning guide


Installation Step 1
Did you ever think we would get here? Finally we can start the install.
You should have cloned your drive by now, or made sure you have your system disks ready for a fresh install.
Shut down your laptop.


Unplug your power cable


Remove your battery. To do this consult your user manual to find out the correct procedure.


Hold the power button down for about 5 seconds. This will drain any residue power from the computer


Installation Step 2
Use your user manual to locate where the mSATA drive is located.


This is when you start to handle components or the SSD, please discharge any static electricity by touching an unpainted metal surface.


Installation Step 3
Remove your current mSATA drive.


Installation Step 4
Align the notch on the mSATA drive to the ridge on the mSATA motherboard socket


Insert the drive at a 45 degree angle, do not force the connection


When it is seated correctly the mSATA can now be gently pushed down


To secure it in place your motherboard will use either clips or screws.


Installation Step 5
Once the mSATA is securely fastened, re-connect the battery.


Now reassemble your system.


Power on your system


If you did not clone your drive, you now have to reinstall your operating system and software


If you DID clone you can restart your laptop and there is nothing more to do. You laptop will start as normal, it will now be faster and more reliable!


This link goes to our range of mSATA SSD drives we stock in Australia.

If you want to buy direct, this link goes to the Crucial.com. Consider Upgradeable for your SSD purchase, we are an Australian company, you are protected by Australian Consumer Laws, we charge in Australian dollars, we have a local office for returns, we have a local phone number, and we operate in the same time zone for technical support. If these value added services are not worth paying extra, please consider us for your next upgrade.