A time existed when your netbook’s portability was enough to get you excited about computing. But your mini-notebook’s lost some of its original luster; the sluggish hard drive opens applications too slowly, and it’s just too small to hold all your music and videos. Fortunately, it’s easy to put some spice back in your relationship.
If your netbook uses a standard 2.5-inch, 5,400-rpm hard drive, as the Toshiba mini NB205 and most netbooks made in the past 12 months do, it’s easy to replace that lethargic drive with a larger, faster SSD.
But what if your older netbook—such as an ASUS Eee PC 901 or Dell Inspiron Mini 9—uses a small SSD chip? Never fear. There’s an upgrade disk available for nearly every make and model of netbook on the market today, making it easy to increase the size and speed of your storage. For this how-to we used the 32GB Super Talent FPM32GHAE, which costs $83 on www.newegg.com.
Step 1: Get the Right Upgrade for Your Netbook
Start by checking on the exact type of storage your netbook uses. CrystalDiskInfo, a freeware application, can help.
- Download and run the application.
- Look at the interface column. If it says Serial ATA, you have a standard 2.5-inch notebook hard drive. If it says Parallel ATA, you’re going to need an SSD made specifically for your netbook. Note: In some ASUS Eee PCs, such as the 901, there are two SSDs: a C and D drive. In those cases, only the D drive can be replaced.
- Find the right SSD upgrade for your model. Several memory manufacturers—including Patriot Memory, RunCore, and Super Talent—make SSD upgrades for specific netbook models. You can also search for SSDs and your model name online at sites such as www.newegg.com. Prices range from $48.99 for a 16GB upgrade for the ASUS Eee PC 901 to well over $300 for a 128GB chip.
Step 2: Back Up Your Data
Before you install a new SSD, save a complete disk image of your operating system, programs, and files so you can later restore onto your new disk. You will need an external hard drive, a USB flash drive (to use as your recovery disk), and a copy of Macrium Reflect Free Edition.
- Create a USB rescue disk.
a. Launch Macrium Reflect and insert a blank USB key you can use to create a rescue disk.
b. Select Create Rescue CD from the Other Tasks menu.
c. Select Linux as the type of CD, then click Next.
d. Choose “Create ISO image file.”
e. Run UNetbootin (unetbootin.sourceforge.net).
f. Select DiskImage, the path for the rescue ISO, and the drive letter for your USB key. Your USB key will now be a bootable Macrium rescue disk.
- Connect your external hard drive.
- Select “Create Image from the Backup Menu” in Macrium Reflect, then click Next.
- Select the disk(s) you are replacing, then click Next.
- Select the drive letter for your external backup drive. Click Next > Finish. When the imaging process is complete, you’ll be ready to power down your netbook and install the new SSD.
Step 3: Install Your New Drive
The drive on a few netbooks—the HP Mini 1000 and Dell Inspiron Mini 12, for example—is under the keyboard. But most drives can be found beneath an upgrade panel on the bottom of the chassis. For the latter, follow these steps to install a new SSD.
- Flip the system over and locate the upgrade panel on the bottom of the chassis.
- Unscrew and remove the panel.
- Remove the screws holding the original SSD in place; the chip should pop up.
- Gently pull the original SSD out of the slot.
- Take the new SSD and insert it into the slot. Make sure the connectors on the chip line up with the grooves in the slot.
- Screw the SSD chip into place.
- Replace the panel and screw it back in.
- Boot off your rescue disk (with your external hard drive attached) and use Macrium Reflect to restore the disk image to your new SSD.
- Once the image is restored, you should be able to boot your netbook and enjoy the additional capacity and speed of your new drive.