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Toshiba R830 laptop SSD retrofit upgrade

August 20, 2012 3 comments

My Toshiba R830 laptop weighs 1.43 kg. Pretty good mobile laptop with an i5 processor. The specs are pretty decent, with 6GB of RAM, a decent video card and more importantly a CD drive at that weight!!! Full HDMI, VGA and USB 3.0 ports. My only gripe was that the hard drive was a bit of a let down with only 5400 RPM. Furthermore a friend of mine dropped my laptop and it was acting up. Instead of buying a new laptop with a new HDD. I spent £130 to get a Samsung SSD 830 with 256GB capacity.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samsung-2-5inch-Notebook-Accessory-Norton/dp/B005OK6VLS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345484724&sr=8-1

It is the standard 2.5-inch SSD that will fit most laptops. Double check first if in doubt. The Samsung SSD comes with a USB transfer cable and Norton Ghost to mirror your existing hard drive. As with good practice, I restored my HDD to its factory setting. It is never advisable to replace your HDD by just copying it as a mirror image to a new HDD and swapping it out. Your operating system will be unstable. However, my laptop did not come with a Windows installation CD. Most laptops now ship with a hidden restore partition that is not accessible and which contains all your installation files. In order to get around this problem of having a fresh Windows installation on my new Samsung SDD, this is what I did:

It is advisable to backup all your files or just use Dropbox!

Step 1: Restore my laptop to factory setting from its original HDD.

Step 2: Use Norton Ghost to mirror the entire HDD (together with the restore partition) onto the new Samsung SSD using the USB cable provided.

Step 3: Replace the HDD with the SSD. And power up. This is relatively simple, just unscrew the back panel of laptop. Unscrew the HDD and remove the cable. Replace it with your new SSD and reattach the cable and screw everything back.

Step 4: Power up with your new SSD and Windows 7. Mine loaded fine, I could proceed to reinstall all my software and Office suite. But using the restore partition, I again reinstalled a fresh copy of Windows 7. This will create a stable system as the OS is installed on a fresh location in the SSD.

Now it takes me seven seconds to boot up Windows 7 and even less time to shutdown. Everything is a breeze. I can now open multiple applications and windows with no noticeable delay. Everything is instantaneous. My battery life has also improved, albeit marginally. I also do not have any problems with sleep, and hibernation with this new solid-state drive. I cannot imagine going back to a normal HDD.

Lastly, what do we do with our old HDD? I got myself a USB 3.0 HDD housing/caddy

http://www.amazon.co.uk/IB-231StU3-G-External-Enclosure-inch-SATA/dp/B004OXY1TU/ref=sr_1_1?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1345485601&sr=1-1

Put the original HDD inside it and connect the USB 3.0 cable. Since my laptop already has a USB 3.0 port. Now I have the original 320 GB HDD as an external drive with USB 3.0 support. Even at 5400 rpm, transfer of huge video files is extremely fast.

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