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Swap a Laptop Computer Drive the Easy Way

RT Cunningham | February 16, 2021 (UTC) | Computers

swap a laptop computer driveThe hardest way to swap a laptop computer drive is to open it up and replace the internal drive. There’s a much easier way if your laptop computer has a DVD drive available. You know, that drive you never use?

Use the DVD Drive Connection For Something Else

I replaced my DVD drive with a Highfine universal 9.5 mm SATA to SATA hard drive caddy that I ordered from Amazon.com for about $9.00 USD. The PNY SSD that I put into the caddy cost me around $20.00 USD. I wrote about it in my post about all the laptop computers I’ve ever owned.

I only had to remove one screw from the bottom of the laptop computer to remove the DVD drive by pulling it straight out from the side. I removed the plate the screw attached to and placed it on the caddy, so that the caddy could be secured in the same way. It really isn’t necessary when the caddy is pushed in all the way.

For one reason on another, I now have two solid-state drives waiting for me at my house in the Philippines. I have one extra caddy there as well. Because I have another laptop computer waiting for me, an older one, I’m not sure if I’m going to do the same thing with it. Regardless, I’ll have one extra SSD to use for something. Perhaps I’ll replace the internal hard drive on this one with one of them and use the hard drive for external data storage.

It’s Easy to Swap a Laptop Computer Drive Using a Drive Caddy

For a while, I tried to optimize the solid-state drive usage, writing as little as possible to it, to make it last longer. It really isn’t necessary. At $20 a pop, it’s worth it to replace the SSD when it needs to be replaced. The hardware is going to be better and more efficient each time.

If I put an SSD in another tray, and keep a copy of an installable Linux distribution on a USB flash drive, it wouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to make a faulty laptop computer fully functional again. Even less time if I keep an up-to-date distribution on the SSD. Since solid-state drives now last nearly as long as hard disk drives, my current SSD may last longer than my current laptop computer.

Newer laptop computers contain a type of solid-state drive (please don’t ask me to clarify that) with or without an additional internal drive. You can still replace the DVD drive if you want more “internal” drives. While you can use an SSD with an external enclosure, it’s never going to be as fast as an internal drive.

Drive Priorities

The last time I installed Linux Mint, I noticed my internal hard drive was designated “sda”, with the first partition as “sda1”. My new internal SSD, the one in the drive caddy, was designated “sdb”, with the first partition as “sdb1”. I don’t think there’s any way to change them and changing them will probably never be necessary. Luckily, every Linux distribution I’ve ever installed let me choose where to install it.

The only real issue I ever dealt with was when I was dual booting Windows and Linux. I no longer dual boot anything. Windows 10 now resides in a VirtualBox virtual drive, along with other operating systems.

Photo Attribution: Free-Photos from Pixabay

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