Upgrade your computer by installing a new SSD

Upgrading your computer with a new solid state drive can be one of the best ways to improve overall performance. SSDs offer significantly faster read times than hard disk drives, giving you a positive impact on almost every element of computer use. And installing a new SSD is definitely something you can do on your own.

Any time you work on your computer, make sure the machine is powered off and all plugs going into the back of the device are unplugged. From there, opening the case is the first thing you should do when installing a new SSD. At first glance, this seems quite simple. Most cases come with a tool-less entry system or a simple way to open that involves just a couple of screws. However, uninstalling the previous drive and installing the new SSD will require access to both sides of the computer. As a result, you will also need to take off the second side of the case. In most cases, this will require you to unscrew more hardware and carefully remove the panel. Be careful though, most computers are not built to have this panel opened frequently. This means that the part of the case you are taking off will not be treated for handling and could have sharp edges.

Once both sides of the case are off, it is time to remove the HDD. To begin, identify where the HDD is and disconnect it from the power supply by unplugging the wires going into the back. The HDD will usually be in the lower half of the computer in a 3.5-inch drive bay. Typically, there will be two cables attached to the HDD, one for power and the other to attach the device to the motherboard. You will probably be able to use the same power cord to connect to the SSD, so keep that one handy. However, the SSD may not use the same interface to connect to the motherboard, so you might as well remove that wire from the computer altogether to make more space.

You should notice two rails running on each side of the HDD, and they will probably have two screws inserted per side. Simply remove the screws, take the HDD out and dispose of it properly. Now that the HDD is out of the way, all you have to do is put the SSD in its place, secure it with the screw you just removed, plug the power cord in the correct slot and use the included wire to connect the SSD with the motherboard. See the instructions for your motherboard or the SSD to identify the correct place to plug everything.

If you are using the SSD in a RAID establishment, where it couples with the HDD in a dual-drive setup, the process is basically the same. Instead of taking out the HDD, identify an open space within the column of 3.5-inch bays and add the SSD. Then find a spare power cord available from your power supply and plug everything in. Ideally, you would leave at least one empty bay between the HDD and SSD so heat has space to dissipate.

Installing your own SSD may seem intimidating when you first open the computer and notice all of the wires and components already in place. But the physical act of installing the new component is actually quite simple and can be accomplished by just about anybody. However, it is important to consult the manuals for both the motherboard and SSD no matter how easy the installation may seem.

Check out the Crucial SSD installation video.

For more information on SSDs, visit our RAM and SSD news and information page. If you have additional questions on SSDs, RAM memory, performance memory, and gaming, visit our product information section or contact our support center. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can use our Crucial Memory Advisor™ tool or Crucial System Scanner tool.