In the last week I decided to exchange the hard disk of my Toshiba Satellite R630 against a solid state disk and use the old disk as external drive. Made a few pictures of the physical exchange and wrote some sentences about what I did to get the thin working. That’s the content of this short article.
Only to mention in advance: It is really a performance boost to use a SSD instead of a tradition hard disk in the R630. So in case you are thinking about to replace it because of speed – Just do it, I think you want regret it. It’s really blazing fast!
Before getting to the details. I do own a Toshiba Satellite R630. The R630 is quite similar to the Portege R700/R705 as well as the Dynabook R730. So in case you own one of this devices this manual shall be applicable too.
I was not really annoyed by the performance the laptop offered, but from time to time I wished that starting Firefox & Co you be a little bit faster. In addition and this was annoying before turning the notification off was the Toshiba software which is monitoring the HDD. Every time working with the laptop on my knees the notification popped up that the device was moving and the hard disk was sent to park position. => To make it short: I wanted to get rid of the moving parts.
In addition I had the idea to continue using the old 320GB hard disk as an external drive.
At the beginning I was thinking about tranfering my current Windows 7 installation to the new drive by making a disk image. I dropped the idea an decided to go the easy and straight way and using a fresh installation.
What do you need to do the replacement?
- A SSD: I got the 128GB version of the Crucial RealSSD C300 (SATA). The drive is a little bit different compared to the drives from OCZ etc.. First it support SATA600 already. Second compared to the most mainstream drives it is instead of being based on the SandForce controller like the most drives are (except the ones from Intel), based on a controller using a fast ARM CPU which is delivering a even better performance than the SandForce 1200: For more information you should check out this link: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/corsair-crucial-intel-ocz-ssd.html
- A screw driver: The tip needs to be for recessed heads and very thin
- Toshiba recovery media of your laptop: You can create this media by using the “Toshiba recovery media creator software” or you can order it via the Topshiba website
- External hard disk case: In case you want to continue using the old disk drive as external disk and maybe to copy you old data to the new drive.
What to know before doing the replacement?
This short manual does not describe how to get your current software and operation systems installation including all your data on the new drive. This manual is performing a new and fresh installation! You data will remain on the old hard disk and you can copy your data from the old disk to the new one later on. This does not cover any setting or installed software!!
As usual: I guarantee for nothing 😉
Exchanging the drive
To gain access to the current hard drive you have to remove two panels/covers from the downside of the notebook. I made a picture of every step which can be found below of the enumeration.
- Before you begin to open the case of the notebook you should power it down and remove the battery.
- Than you can remove the first panel which is the one covering the memory banks. The panel is secured by two screws as you can see on the pictures.
- After removing the cover of the memory bank you can see the screws which are securing the panel/cover of the hard disk bay. Remove both screws and the cover. You shall see the hard drive now.
- Look for a transparent piece of plastic on one side of the hard disk. Grab it and by pulling at it the hard disk can be moved upwards a little bit. Lift it up until you can grab it by hand. But be careful the wire which is used to connect the drive is very thin.
- Lift the hard disk up and disconnect it by pulling out the SATA-Plug.
- After removing the drive connect the SSD with the SATA-Plug and push it into the hard disk bay carefully. The Crucial RealSSD should fit perfectly into the bay. At least my did.
- Put everything together again: Simply follow steps 3 down to 1.
Reinstall Windows 7
After putting everything together again, it is time to reinstall Windows 7. As I mentioned before, I did not try to make an image of the old installation to migrate it onto the new SSD drive. Reasons for that is that I wanted to keep it simple and by the fact that a SSD is working quite different than a normal hard disk it can be necessary to adapt the filesystem. Not doing this adaptations can have negative impact on the life time and performance of the SSD. Therefore to stay away from this kind of issues I recommend to do a fresh install.
Rolling out a fresh installation is quite easy by using the recovery DVDs from Toshiba. Just put the first Recovery DVD into the DVD drive turn on your computer and press the “F12” key while the the “Toshiba Leading Innovation” logo is displayed. A menu shall be displayed where you can select a CD symbol by using the cursor keys. Hit the “Enter” key to boot from the DVD drive.
Now you Toshiba Satellite R630 or Portegé R700 shall boot from the Recovery DVD. The last things you need to do is to follow the Recovery Assistant which will start after to boot ends on at the graphical user interface of the Recovery DVD.
Optimizing Windows 7 for SSD
Basically Windows 7 is able to work on a SSD but in the most case the configuration is not really perfect and can harm the performance a durability of the SSD. Therefore I recommend to read the short guide and follow the instruction in it to setup Windows 7 the way it should be setup when using an SSD. It basically describes which drivers shall be installed, which type of SSD to use and all different tweak option.
Before I start to reinstall all the applications I need on my laptop I usually get rid of all the “Bonus software” Toshiba preinstalled on the device. In addition I do uninstall some Toshiba tools too. For example all the recovery stuff. I created the recovery media straight after the first boot after I initially received by laptop. So why shall I need to recovery tools anymore? When you decide to uninstall the recovery tools from Toshiba you should also delete the partition D: and resize drive C: to 100% space of your SSD. You can do that via the “disk drive manager of Windows”.