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Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

Reading time: 8.5 minutes

The most common reason people have changed their hard drives in the part is to add storage memory to their PC. Today, with the advent of SSD, you can also add much improved performance.

Choosing a New Drive for your ASUS computer

Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

First, you will need to decide whether you would like to stick to the traditional mechanical hard disk drive, or if you would like to migrate over to a solid state drive (SSD). You can opt for both.

What Is a Solid State Drive (SSD)?

Solid State Drives have no moving parts and are faster than mechanical hard disks. This means they will load your operating system, applications and media files much faster. They take up less physical space, and use less battery power. So why aren't all drives SSDs then? Well, they are more expensive than your traditional Hard Disk drives. If you need terabytes of storage you may want to stick with the HDD that offer huge amounts of storage relatively cheaply.

Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

If your PC can hold both, then it is recommended that you use a combination. The SSD can be used for your OS (operating system), applications, and essential files. The HDD can be used for storage. Since, you probably already have an HDD, adding an SSD to your system and moving the OS (operating system) over to it while demoting your HDD to a secondary hard drive simplifies many of the steps below.

Be aware of the Physical Size of the Hard drive

The physical size of the Hard drive is important whether you are adding a traditional HDD or an SSD.

Desktop Hard drives are typically 2.5” or 3.5” (inches). Most desktops have room for more than one of these.

Laptop hard drives are bit trickier. First they are usually 2.5”(inches). However, the larger disk drives may be too thick for your slim laptop.

Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

Some SSD’s may need a mounting bracket depending on your set up.

If you need assistance determining which HDD or SSD is compatible with your specific device (desktop or laptop) please don’t hesitate to ask us at the address below:

What Is the M.2 Expansion Slot?

If your PC has an M.2 slot, you will be able to use an M.2 standard SSD. This hard drive looks like a RAM memory card. You will not need a SATA cable to connect your hard drive. It connects directly into the M.2 slot.

If you do not know if your ASUS PC has an M.2 slot don’t hesitate to ask us at:

What Connection Do I Need if I don’t have an M.2 expansion slot?

If you’re installing the drive into a desktop PC or laptop, you will need a SATA power cable that runs from your PC’s power supply and the SATA data cable. Each computer has a specific cable with different number of pins, format, shape and length. If you are working on your laptop, it is imperative that you select the correct cables, since there is limited room.

Some Models have easy access and a connector that you can easily connect the hard drive into. This will avoid disassembly/reassembly issues and requires no cables.

What Connection Do I Need if I don't have an M.2 expansion slot?

If you’re installing into a laptop that allows user access, things are easier. You’ll usually be able to plug the drive right into a slot that already has the power and data connections ready—no cables to connect.

We are not going to cover the different SATA standards but you should know that the newer standards work with older standards.

If you have specific questions about compatibility of a part with your ASUS PC just ask us:

How Much Storage Do I Need?

First, assess what type of files you will be storing. If you are manipulating media files (images , videos, schematics, etc.), you will need a large amount of storage. If you are a gamer and want to have all of your games on hand, again you will need a large storage capacity. Office files are usually smaller and do not take up much space.

How Much Storage Do I Need?

The limiting factor is your budget. Evaluate what you need carefully.

What speed do you need?

The speed of Mechanical Hard drives (HDD) is measured in RPM’s. Since the data is stored on a disk within the drive, the faster the drive spins, the faster the access to the information. Typical speeds are from 5400 to 7200 RPM. A few HDD have exceeded 10 thousand RPM.

Solid State drives (SSDs) are much faster but much more expensive.
So you will need to weigh the cost versus your need for speed.


Before you install the physical hard drive, you need to decide how you will transfer or install your operating system onto the new drive. You will also need to back up the files from your current hard drive. Even if your PC does not have room for both the new and the old hard drive, you may be able to use the old drive as an external drive using a specific external docking station.

Transfer Your Operating System or Perform a Clean Installation

Transferring your operating system or installing anew is the critical step in this process. Both take time and can be tedious.

Transferring Your Operating System

Transferring your operating system (and all your data and installed apps) allows you to avoid setting up Windows again and re-installing all of your applications one by one.

You can also purchase a migration kit that has all of the hardware and software needed to help you transfer data from the HDD to the SSD (or newer HDD). Otherwise, free cloning programs exist and simply need to be pre-installed on your pc, like Macrium Reflect Free or HD Clone by Miray. Once installed, simply plug in the SDD and launch the software.

Transferring Your Operating System

How to Upgrade to a Larger Hard Drive Without Reinstalling Windows

First, if you are installing a new hard drive in a desktop PC, we recommend that you install the new drive in the open slot. Once installed, transfer your operating system directly. You will be able to use your old Hard drive as a secondary storage disk.

For laptops, you’ll need to use a USB-based SATA adapter or enclosure to have both drives hooked up at once. Again, there are kits and application that can help you with this process.

USB-based SATA adapter

Performing a Clean Installation.

While you are at it, why not just perform a clean install. If you can reinstall your OS and all of your software on your new SSD (or HDD), you should do a clean install. You will be eliminating much of the clutter that is presently slowing down your PC, and the improved performance will be noticeable.

This sounds like a lot of work. Usually, the hard part is locating all of the programs (along with any necessary activation keys) that you want to re-install. Believe it or not this process is much quicker (and cleaner) than transferring your Operating system once you have located everything. But if you have an old game you love that you will not be able to install again, well you will have to do the transfer. Remember to back up all of your personal files so that you can restore them later.

Installing Your New Drive

The steps for installing (or replacing) a drive in laptop is a little different than for a desktop.

Installing Your New Drive In a Laptop

Obviously, your laptop is unplugged. You will avoid static by grounding yourself before touching any electronic part.

Guide to Upgrading and Installing a New Hard Drive or SSD

First, each model of laptop is different. Most hard drives will be installed from the bottom. Some laptops have easy access with an easy-to-open hatch (usually a single hex screw will allow access). With other models, you will need to remove the bottom case. There are some that require the removal of the keyboard. You will need to get some information (schematics and specifications) about your specific model.

You should disconnect the battery, and in many cases you will need to remove it to access the connector.

Removing the hard drive

1. The drive will be held in place by a caddy with one or more screws. Remove the screws.
2. The Hard drive will need to be disconnected from the SATA connector. Pull in straight line away.
3. The Hard drive is most likely in a bracket/caddy. You will need to remove the bracket to use with the new drive.
4. Place the bracket/caddy on the new drive
5. Insert the new drive into the SATA connector
6. Screw the frame back into place
7. Replace the cover or hatch.

Installing Your New Drive in a Desktop PC

The advantage here, compared to a laptop drive upgrade, is that you have more space to work with inside of the enclosure. The disadvantage is that you probably need a larger area to perform the upgrade.

As always, turn off the computer and take all precautions against static (ground yourself).
Remove all cables and connections to your peripheral devices.

Let the computer cool down

You can start with the PC in an upright position. Depending on your specific model, you may find it easier to access and manipulate the drive from the side.

You will have to remove the hood or simply a side panel (maybe two). A Philips screwdriver will do the trick. DO NOT MISPLACE THE SCREWS or you will need to purchase a new set.

You can use the SATA cable that is in place if you are doing a straight replacement. If not you will need to have a SATA cable to use with the new drive.
Locate the power supply and the power cable. This cable should have a free SATA power connection.


Remove the access panel (usually the left panel). Sometimes the Hard drive is on the opposite side.

Locate the power supply (in the back, usually on the bottom – but sometimes on top)
You will notice the hard drive near the front of the PC
Locate the SATA cable which runs from the Motherboard to the hard drive.
Locate the SATA power supply cable that runs from the power supply to the hard drive.

To remove old drive completely:

1. Unplug the data and power cables from the back of the old drive. You may find that the cables have a little clip that you need to squeeze to release the cables. Leave the cables to connect to the new drive.
2. The drive may be on a caddy that is itself screwed into place. Remove the screws holding the caddy and the drive in place.
3. Set the old drive to the side.
4. Place the new drive into the caddy
5. Reverse the process – place the caddy and fix the new drive back into place.
6. Plug in the cables onto the new drive.

To keep the old drive and add a new drive :

1. You will need an extra caddy and additional cables.
2. You will need to mount the drive with its new caddy into an open slot (usually just below the old hard drive).
3. Plug the SATA cable (data) into the hard drive and the other end into the motherboard. The slots are generally on the side closest to the front of the PC on the motherboard, usually in a cluster of two to six. Any slot will do.
4. Plug the SATA power connection from the power supply into the new drive. If your power supply doesn’t have a free SATA power connector, you’ll need to use an adapter or a splitter or purchase a new SATA power cable.

Final verification:

Check that the cables are properly connected
Check that the cables are not hindering the fans or touching the heatsink
Check that the hard drives are properly screwed into place.

Reassemble and start it up

Our team hopes that this article was helpful. We are here to help you find the correct hard drive solution for your ASUS computer and any part you will need to have a successful installation.

Here are a few links to our online store, where you can find many genuine Asus components at great prices:
Hard drive caddy:
You will also find screws, SSD enclosures, and more!

If you have any questions, just ask us at:
News added at : December 04, 2020 at 03:36 AM
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