How To: Install a Solid State Drive in Your Laptop (Asus Q551L)

This how to will run through swapping out the storage device in an Asus Q551L laptop, but the process must be similar on many machines.

SSD
The Goods. . .

SSD stands for Solid State Drive. According to this article from PC World upgrading to an SSD from an HDD will provide “massive” performance improvements that are immediately noticeable. I would have to agree with that especially in terms of time to boot!

Today I’m going to walk through replacing the storage on an Asus Q551L laptop with a Samsung 860 EVO with 1TB capacity. The process is probably similar on many laptops though. Here is what you will need:

Ok, Let’s Get Started with the Data Copying Process!

First, since I am using the Samsung drive, I went ahead and downloaded the Samsung Data Migration software from here. The software is pretty straight forward once you’ve got your target SSD into the drive enclosure which you can see a picture of below.

Remove the two screws on the side with the USB port.
Plug in to the ‘target’ SSD, then plug in to your computer using the provided USB cable.

Once you’ve done that, the migration software will just take a few clicks to get the cloning going on.

Click ‘Start’

It took me about 1 hour to copy 450GB. Your mileage may vary! Once your migration is complete, time to start the fun stuff!

Out With the Old, in With the New

Now it’s time to take your laptop apart 😨 . . . Just kidding, it’s not that bad 🙂

On my Asus Q551L, I had a bunch of small torx screws on the bottom, so I went ahead and removed them.

Yes, my laptop has seen battle and is hardened! It deserves a medal of honor. . .

I always like to keep a magnet around, so I don’t loose any screws. See below:

Here’s a quick video on how to magnetize your tools, which comes in really handy. As I’m doing that scraping motion, I’m turning the screwdriver to get all sides of the bit.

The magnetization won’t last forever, so you will need to do this again from time to time.

Now, in order to pry the bottom part of the case off, I like to use a guitar pick so I don’t damage anything inside. Here’s a quick video of that:

Now that we’re inside the laptop, go ahead and ground yourself by touching some unpainted metal. I’m also working on a hard surface, in bare feet on hardwood (which I won’t show you LOL). You could definitely use a grounding strap or something like that if you want to go full A+, but be careful about what you touch and everything should be fine.

Don’t stand on carpet in your socks while wearing a wool sweater, basically.

The next step is to remove the battery power connector, just to be sure nothing is getting power while we work. I also use a guitar pick to do the prying here.

I really need to blow the dust out with compressed air… don’t judge me!

After you’ve got the power disconnected, go ahead and begin removing the disk caddy by taking out these four screws:

I promise I will blow this dust out with compressed air 😛 It’s an old laptop ok?!

All you need to do is lightly pull back on the drive at this point, and it will pop out. Once you’ve got the caddy out, remove the four screws on the sides:

Keep these screws separate, because they are shorter than the others.

Once the screws are out the drive will come out, but first take a look at its orientation so you can lay the other one in there the same way before you screw it down. Once you’ve figured it out, put your four screws back in, and slide the caddy back in place on your machine, making sure everything goes nice and smooth so no connectors are damaged. Put the screws that hold the caddy back in place.

Side note: one of these ‘pick up’ or ‘grabber’ tools can come in handy, but isn’t fully necessary:

Urologists use a similar tool for removing stints. . . Try not to get kidney stones! 😭 😭 😭

At this point you are almost ready to rock and roll, baby! Don’t forget to reconnect the power to the battery, and then put your case back on. I like to power up without the charger connected to make sure the battery is working correctly, then I go ahead and plug in.

Also, at this point you can go ahead and put the old drive into the caddy you bought to do the data copy. Now you’ve got an awesome external drive you can use for whatever!

Mission: Successful!

YES! We did it, and nothing blew up or caught on the fires. I suggest keeping the original drive untouched for a week or two, in the rare event that there is a problem with your new SSD. That way you won’t loose everything forever and ever (and ever). You could even keep the old drive as a backup of your system if you don’t want to use it for other things.

😀 Congratulations, you did it 🙂

Final Thoughts

So it’s actually a pretty easy job, and not counting the time it takes to copy your drive it only takes a half hour or less. This laptop started with 8GB of RAM which I upgraded to 12, but let me tell you the difference in going from HDD to SSD was what I noticed the most improvement from. If you don’t have an SSD already, get one today. If you have one already, get a bigger one! (lol)

Consider using the links at the top of this page and buying through Amazon, as I will earn an affiliate commission if you do so which helps me keep the site running.

It also might help me buy an ice cream or a beer 😛

Other than that, let me know what you think in the comments below, and until next time:

I hope you have an awesome day, and good luck in your endeavors!

-A. Gray

Alex Gray

Author: Alex Gray

Aspiring IT professional focusing on networking, network security, advanced troubleshooting, web development, consulting, and more.

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