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Saturday, 12 March 2016

Fitting a Samsung 850 EVO 250Gb SSD to the Inspiron 1525 Laptop

So last time I told you about increasing the size of the RAM. Now to actually fit the SSD.

Again there are Youtube videos which show you how to do this on the exact same model of computer so there is little point in me going into great detail about that here:
Youtube video showing how to change the Hard Disk
The computer guy is fitting an EVO 840 SSD, but it seems identical to the Samsung 850 EVO 250Gb SSD I bought from Amazon.

If you watch this video you will see that the guy making it has problems getting the connector on the hard disk to make proper contact with the socket in the computer. The problem is that the SSD is slightly slimmer than the old hard disk and the SSD needs to be lifted slightly when you slide it into the slot. It is confusing because when the SSD misses the connector it still slides fully home and almost feels as if it has plugged-in. When you power-up the computer you get a message saying "No boot device available".
Our solution was cheap and simple and required a small piece of cardboard cut from the Amazon carton that the disk arrived in ... and some sticky-tape. See photo below ...
The cardboard has been folded over so there are two layers.
The photo also shows the Samsung SSD mounted in the tray which is part of the computer. It is necessary to take the tray off the old disk and fit it to the new one. There are just two small screws holding it on.
The photo below shows the disk ready to be refitted to the computer, you will see that the cardboard is on the bottom, so it lifts up the end of the disk as it slides into the slot.

The two black screws in this picture are the ones which secure the tray into the computer after you have fitted back in the slot.

So really the mechanics are very simple. However I should emphasize the need to SHUT DOWN the computer before changing the disk drive (or the memory) - don't just hibernate it. And take out the battery too - some parts of the motherboard could still be powered and also the computer could be started accidentally if a button is pressed when handling it.

The other part of the process is the "cloning" procedure. The Samsung SSD comes with a CD or DVD of software to do this, but we used some other program that my son had already used to do clone his laptop disk.  It is called Macrium Reflect Free and is a free trial.

Before doing any cloning, it is a good idea to uninstall any unused software and do a Disk Cleanup. In fact we managed to free up about 50Gb of disk space (a big chunk of that was FlightsimX which was no longer used).

We plugged the laptop's old disk and the SSD into a desktop machine that had several spare SATA interface sockets. Our attempt at using a USB to SATA lead (bought from Ebay) failed part-way through the copying procedure, we are not sure why, but it is much quicker to use a direct SATA connection anyway. So that is what I would recommend if you can get access to a suitable desk-top PC.

The performance is greatly improved - particularly the time taken starting applications. Windows Mail is on of the applications that is most transformed - I'm not quite sure why, but it checks the E-mail much faster now. (This might be related to Kaspersky Internet Security checking all the E-mail).

The computer is almost silent for much of the time ... only the fan running. It was the noise of the fan which prompted me to investigate why Windows Update used so much system resources ... but perhaps I will tell you about that on another occasion.

Hugh M0WYE

P.S. After fitting the SSD go into the Defragmenter and turn off any scheduled defragmentation. A Solid State Disk doesn't need defragmenting, and it may actually reduce the life of the disk. Plus ... it will be one less thing that the computer is doing "in the background"!

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