How to upgrade your laptop HDD to a SSHD in 30 minutes

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By Team Digit Published Date
21 - May - 2014
| Last Updated
18 - Aug - 2014
How to upgrade your laptop HDD to a SSHD in 30 minutes

You now know the benefits of picking an SSHD over a normal HDD but what if you’ve already got a laptop or if you are about to buy one and your seller isn’t giving you the option of a SSHD over the HDD? No worries, upgrading your laptop to an SSHD is one of the easiest things you can do. And in this article we’re going to be walking you through the entire procedure.

Things you’ll need
1. Your laptop
Obviously, you are going to be moving from an HDD to an SSHD. However, if you’ve already got an SSD but want more storage capacity without compromising on performance by a wide margin then you too can get a SSHD for your laptop. You need to check if your laptop can support a hard drive that is 9.5 mm in height. A slim notebook might have one of the thin hard drives which are 5/7mm tall. In this case it might not be possible to hook up the SSHD in your laptop unless you get the SSHDs which are of the appropriate dimension. So do your research, and get the SSHD of the proper dimension before you proceed any further. To figure out the dimensions of the hard drive that you currently have use a tool like Speccy to find out the model number and then Google the same to figure out the dimensions.

2. A Seagate Laptop SSHD
You have two variants available with regards to capacity. The details mentioned below are accurate as of the time of writing this article.

Model No.CapacityHeightPrice (in Rs.)
ST1000LM0141000 GB9.5 mm7800
ST500LM000500 GB9.5 mm5800

Pick whichever model you want, a higher capacity drive is advised if you are going to be storing a lot of multimedia content on your laptop. Needless to say, games take up a lot of space as well and it makes sense to opt for a higher capacity drive in the longer run. The SSHD capacity should be of a higher capacity than your existing hard drive if you wish to clone the drive, otherwise you’ll have to make a clean install.

3. Your laptop manual
Read it! Twice if need be and figure out how to open up your laptop and access the hard drive. Some laptops might require you to twist one screw and the hard drive will pop out instantly while some might require you to remove a few components till you get to the hard drive bay. Also, the disassembly manual is preferred for this purpose since it has detailed instructions as well as information regarding what tools you’ll need for the operation. Searching on youtube for your laptop model might get you a video of someone carrying out a similar operation.

4. Tools
Once you’ve gone through the manual you’ll know which tools you’ll need and you need to keep them at the ready. Do not under any circumstance opt for screwdrivers of improper dimensions since you’ll erode the contact surface and the screws won’t be serviceable.

5. Software
You’ll need to clone your hard drive onto the SSHD and for this purpose Seagate provides their own software. It’s called DiscWizard and can be found here. The software is supported on all major operating systems except linux. For that purpose you can refer to our article on using CloneZilla to clone your existing hard drive onto the SSHD. The CloneZilla article can be found here. It would be best to clone and get your SSHD working in proper condition before wiping your existing hard drive. Or you could keep it aside as a backup which is also a prudent move.

6. Cables
When you are about to clone your drive onto another you’ll need an adapter (USB 3.0 to SATA III) or you’ll need an external hard drive of equal or greater capacity. If you chose to get the external hard drive then you’ll have to create an image onto the external and then restore that image back onto the SSHD later. You have the option of picking whatever method you find most convenient.

7. A Geek (Optional)
If you haven’t fiddled with computer components before then it is always good to have an experienced individual to guide you through the steps and provide their own insight on the subject.

Disclaimer: Opening a laptop on your own might void your warranty in certain cases, do read your warranty agreement beforehand and proceed only if the outcome is agreeable to you.

Let’s begin
Step 1: Ready everything
Time: 0 minutes
Hopefully, you have read through all the literature and are ready with all the required tools. Also, you must have the image (backup) of your existing hard drive on the external by now.

Step 2: Access the hard drive on the laptop
Time: 5 minutes

This step usually involves getting a few screws out of the way but if there are some components that need to be removed then take your time and be careful so as to not damage any of them with static discharge. Remove the battery and the power jack before opening your laptop.

Step 3: Swap the drives
Time: 5 minutes

Take your existing hard drive out and remove the power and data cable if there are any attached to the hard drive, sometimes there is a simple connector that pops out. The hard drives may have an extra metal casing which you’ll need to swap out onto the SSHD.

Step 4: Put it back together
Time: 5 minutes

Once you have your SSHD back inside your laptop, start putting the laptop cover back on and secure it with all the screws. It is common to miss out on a screw or two, simply redo the step and ensure all screws are in their proper slots.

Step 5: Boot up test
Time: 1 minute

Stick your battery in and connect the power jack. Boot up and go into the BIOS to check if the SSHD is detected or not.

Step 6: Restore image(backup) back onto the SSHD
Time: 10 minutes - 1 hour

Restoring your backup can take a lot of time depending upon the amount of data that needs to be transferred and on the mode of transmission as well. USB 3.0 is obviously faster so that will take lesser time than transferring over a USB 2.0 port.

That’s it! Boot up after your clone image has been restored onto the SSHD and you should have no problems getting into your operating system. You now have a powerful SSHD and you’ll notice the difference in performance right away.

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