We’re happy with the Toshiba Z830 that Intel sent to us for a long-term loan. It’s a fast, lightweight and well-connected Ultrabook. We’ve already dropped in a 4GB RAM module to take it up to 6GB but there’s one more thing we can do to pimp it out – upgrade the SSD.
We contacted MyDigitalSSD with the plan and they kindly sent us a 256GB BulletProof mSATA SSD with SATA III interface. Not only are we going to see over double the usable space on our drive, we’re going to be upgrading to a drive that in theory can push 500GB/s through the bus.
This article will show you how to upgrade an existing SSD but before you start, here’s your checklist.
- External USB HDD with enough space to store the used space on your laptops SSD
- External CD/DVD Writer (if none built-in) for creating the boot/restore disc
- New SSD (For the Toshiba Z830/Z835 an mSATA SSD)
- Small cross-head screwdriver. PH1 or similar
- Torx screwdriver T-7
Clean your SSD to speed up the process. Remove unwanted software, games, videos and other large files to speed up the imaging and restore process. In this text we removed a large number of video files from our travels and removed three games that were, in total, taking about 40GB of SSD space.
***There’s always a risk that something will go wrong so back-up your important files before imaging the disk.***
***Opening your laptop casing can void the warranty***
The actual SSD upgrade on the Z830 is very easy and can be done in 10 minutes but imaging and restore can take 30 minutes each.
This is a non-destructive process. Your original SSD will be left in it’s current state and can be swapped back in at any time.
The whole process is shown in a video below.
Part 1 – Imaging the existing disk using Windows 7 Backup and Restore
On your Windows 7 Ultrabook run ‘Backup and Restore.’ The easiest way to find it is to press the windows key and type ‘backup.’ You’ll see it listed as a program so just hit enter to start the program. Select “Create a System Image”
Select the external hard drive and “Next”
After that process is complete (expect 15-60 minutes depending on how full your SSD is and how fast your external drive is) select “Create a system repair disc.” This will allow you to burn a restore disc to the USB CD writer.
Before you swap the SSD, just try and boot from the USB CD/DVD drive by pressing F12 a few times after the power button and selecting ‘ODD’ as the boot drive. If it boots into the recovery program everything should be OK to progress to swapping the SSD.
Note: I’m using a new Samsung SE-208 USB2.0 DVD writer here. It was cheap (€34), it is powered from the USB ports and it looks good!
Part 2. Upgrade the SSD.
The process here will vary depending on the laptop but the Toshiba Z830 is an easy Ultrabook to upgrade. 11 short cross-head screws, 2 longer cross-head and one torx screen in the middle underneath the plastic cover.
You’ll find the SSD on the top-right. Undo the two screws, pull the SSD out and push the new one in. Screw the SSD down. Note: Ideally you should use anti-static protection at this stage but briefly touching the rear casing of a desktop PC or any grounding point should minimize the risk.
Part 3 – Restore the image
Re-connect the mains power, USB CD/DVD and USB HDD and power-on the Ultrabook. On the Toshiba Z830 press F12 to access the boot menu and select the ODD (optical disk drive) as the boot drive. You should hear the CD spin-up and see “Windows is loading files…” on screen.
When you get into the restore program, select “System Recovery Options.” The restore program should detect the image once you select the default “Restore your computer from a system image you created earlier.”
The image will be detected on the C: drive (the USB HDD) and you can select the default options to format the SSD, create the matching partition sizes and start the restore…
The restore process takes roughly the same time as the image creation process from part 1 and if left, will reboot the Ultrabook into the new SSD. At this stage the restore is complete. Log-in and you should see everything just as you left it.
You won’t see the additional SSD space until you enable the new partition…
Add the new partition using “Computer Management” (press the Windows key and type “manage” and you should see it in the list. Select Disk Management and you’ll see an unused partition on the new SSD drive. Right click to create the partition and format it. With seconds the new drive will appear with all the unused space on the SSD.
At this stage you have a restore image on HDD and the original SSD. You can choose to delete the original restore partition if you wish but we recommend leaving this for a full factory reset if needed at a later stage.
Clearly there are options for moving files, changing the home directory drive and re-partitioning the drive if you have the tools.
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