How to Install an M.2 SSD in the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

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M.2 SSD

When you think of notebooks with two storage drives, you probably imagine a bulky 17-inch system you can barely carry. However, a number of lightweight laptops, including the 14-inch, 3.6-pound Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, have M.2 (formerly known as mSATA) slots which can be used to install a tiny SSD on a chip. You can pair this second drive with the 2.5-inch hard disk or SSD the T440s came with and even transfer the operating system to it so you can use it as a boot drive. Here's how to install an M.2 SSD in your Lenovo ThinkPad T440s.

Before You Begin

If your ThinkPad T440s has a built-in 3G/4G modem, then the M.2 slot is already occupied and you can't perform this upgrade. If you don't have a modem, but do have a hard drive, you may have a small, 16GB Flash cache chip in the M.2 slot, and you'll need to remove it as part of the installation process. 

When buying an SSD, be sure to purchase an M.2 drive that is exactly 42mm long, the only length that will fit in the ThinkPad T440s's narrow slot. Though M.2 is the next-generation of mSATA, it is not backward compatible so you need to make sure the drive is listed as M.2, not mSATA. We used a MyDigitalSSD 128GB drive, which costs $79.99 (Buy at Amazon), but you can also find 64GB or 256GB drives for more or less money. We recommend going with at least 128GB (see our favorite SSDs here). You'll also need a small Philips-head screwdriver.

MORE: How to Upgrade the RAM on the Lenovo ThinkPad T440s

How to Install an M.2 SSD in the T440s 

1. Enter the BIOS setup program by hitting Enter repeatedly when the notebook boots. If Windows loads, you'll have to restart and try again.

ThinkPad Logo

2. Select Power under the Config Tab.

Power

3. Select Disable Built-in Battery and hit yes when asked to confirm. This will turn the computer off.

Disable Built-in Battery

4. Place the T440s upside down on a table, with the power off and cord unplugged.

T440s Upside Down

5. Remove the battery by pulling aside the clips. 

Remove Battery

6. Unscrew the 8 screws on the back using the Philips head screwdriver. 

t440s screws

7. Pry the bottom off, starting at the lower left  corner,  pulling up the bottom, right side, left side and top. Be very gentle, and, if you feel resistance, make sure all screws are completely loose. 

Pry up bottom

8. Locate the M.2 slot on the left side of the system, just above the hard drive bay, and fold back the plastic strip on top of it, without removing it permanently.

M.2 Slot

9. Remove the current Flash cache chip, if there is one, by unscrewing it and sliding it out of the slot.

10. Slide the M.2 SSD into the slot, aligning the teeth on the chip with the grooves on the receptacle.

Install M.2

11. Put a screw in the hole just below M.2 stick and tighten it so that holds the SSD in place. If you don't already have an appropriately-sized screw, your SSD should come with one.Screw in SSD12. Put the back cover back on and tighten all screws.

 You should now have an additional drive, but you'll need to either format it to use it for data or copy your entire Windows operating system to it so you can use it as a boot drive.

MORE: Windows 8.1 Tips and Tutorials

How to Copy Windows to the M.2 Drive

If your 2.5-inch drive is a mechanical hard drive, the M.2 SSD will be a lot faster so you may want to use it as your boot drive. In order to do that, you'll want to clone your  original drive so that Windows and all your programs get copied over. Before you do, you'll want to make a full system backup, just in case something goes wrong.

1. Install EaseUS Todo Backup Free and EasyBCD.

2. Reduce the amount of data on your 2.5-inch drive to 128GB or less, depending on the size of your M.2 SSD. Since you will be cloning the whole drive, you need to make sure you don't have more data on the source drive than the target. So backup media files until after the cloning. Alternatively, you can put all your media files on an alternate partition you don't clone, but that adds some complexity.

3. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup.

4. Click the Clone button in the upper right corner of the window.

Hit Clone

5. Select the source drive by checking the checkbox near Hard disk 0 (zero), which will choose all partitions on the 2.5-inch drive, and click Next. There will be a number of recovery and other small partitions that you may not recognize but you should leave those checked. If one of the partitions has nothing but your media files on it, you can skip it, but otherwise we recommend letting the program clone all of the partitions.

Select Source

6. Select the destination drive, Hard Disk 1, and click Next.

Select destination disk 

 7. Click Proceed.Click Proceed

8. Click OK when the software warns you that you'll lose data on the destination disk. The cloning process will begin and could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.

Click OK

9. Close EaseUS Todo Backup after the cloning is done.

10. Launch EasyBCD.

11. Choose Select BCD Store from the File menu. 

Select BCD Store

12. Navigate to the M.2 Drive (A: in this example) and select the BCD file  from the /Boot folder. If you can't see the /Boot folder, make sure to enable "Show  hidden files, folders or drives" in Folder options under the Control panel. The program will load the settings from the M.2 Drives' boot file.

Select BCD

13. Click Add New Entry.

Click Add New Entry

14. Enter a name for your M.2 drive (ex: "Windows 8.1 M.2"), select drive letter and click Add Entry.

Add Entry in BCD

15. Select Edit Boot Menu, make sure your new entry is set as default and click Save Settings. 

Click Save Settings

16. Enter the BIOS Setup program after rebooting the T440s.

17. Select Boot from the Startup tab.

Select Boot from the Startup Tab

18. Move the M.2 Drive to the top of the boot order. The drive is usually labeld as AT HDD1. You can move it up by highlighting it and hitting the + button. 

19. Hit F10 to save and exit.

Your ThinkPad should now boot off the M.2 drive. You should be able to erase the Windows folder from your original drive or even reformat it.

 

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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21 comments
  • Gabr Bre Says:

    Used trascend 128 - amazing results, fast, responsive, and battery lasting improvement

  • Gabr Bre Says:

    IMPORTANT! For cloning use minitool partition manager
    Does everything for you. No need easybcd
    Windows 10, boot wont work with easeus, minitool works flawlessly

  • JD Powers Says:

    I installed the 256 GB MyDigital drive in the 2nd m.2 slot on my Lenovo T440s (its under the built-in battery). Now it boots Windows 10 in under 8 seconds and I still have another m.2 slot left... Maybe its time to move OSX running on the 2.5" SSD to another m.2 drive.

  • Daniel Says:

    Successfully done in Windows 10 with Transcend 512gb M.2 2242 SSD. (smallest form factor with largest disk found in the market) Startup time drop from 2 minutes to 8 second!

  • Nonerer Says:

    @Ron JR - been working on PCs for years never wore gloves, never grounded myself, also never broke anything.

  • Joan Bells Says:

    Has anyone tried this with Windows 10?

  • jamie Says:

    Can I take out the wlan card and replace it with a ssd?

  • Ron Jr Says:

    Nice article. Good screenshots and steps. One extremely important step I must emphasize when performing this action. Do Not touch the circuit board or components on the board in any way (unless you are correctly grounded against static). It is guaranteed that damage will occur, regardless as to whether the signs are obvious or not. It is a complete misconception that you can handle (bare) touching any circuit board / component in a PC / Server / System without causing static harm. At absolute minimum, ground yourself (and remain grounded) and handle the components with conductive material. Static is the silent, unseen, undetected killer that most times the damage can only be seen under electron microscope. Be safe first.

  • Tom Says:

    i found that bcd file already. but a now problem comes in.

    My m.2 ssd was detected in bios but not showing up in the BOOT ORDER..
    can someone help me with this?

  • Tom Says:

    I open easyBCD and select the bcd store, but i cannot find BCD file under windows\boot

    im running window 8.1
    Asus ROG
    M.2 256 SSD

  • JennyM Says:

    I'm searching for answers, want to buy the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga (12.5", S1 series I think), with a 256 SSD. But I want to install 1 TB HDD just for storage.

    Does anyone know for SURE if it has 2 drive slots? Lenovo chat won't commit to an answer. But I saw on some review video that you could add another drive. (2.5" 7mm).

    Any help is appreciated!

  • MJ Says:

    What drive letter did your M.2 end up having after the procedure above? I think I was having some issues similar to Spiral. What to do with the original drive?

  • Spiral Says:

    I followed this instruction to install m.2 ssd and transfer windows 8.1 from 2.5" HDD to T450S. I have no problems in hardware and software procedures. However, after I set the M.2 as the boot drive and boot, the m.2 drive label changed from "A" to "D", which is very strange. Also, the boot up speed is slow, and windows freezes frequently. The files on the desktop is still linking to C drive, but I believe the OS drive is D (M.2 SSD) since it has a windows logo on top of it. Can someone help me on this?

  • Emeric Says:

    I forgat the following precision :
    In Windows 7, the /boot folder don't appear, even after selected "Show hidden files".
    The solution : search "bcd" in the windows under new drive, and the folder appears.

  • Emeric Says:

    Thank you very much.
    For me, i don't modify nothing with the second soft (easy bbc). I only change the boot order in the tp boot.

  • Dennis Says:

    I ended up re-installing from the factory recoover partition in the end.

    I think my mistake was at step 1. I installed EasyBCD but did not execute until after I had already cloned my hdd to the ssd. Maybe that's why I did not find a boot folder to configure at step 11???

    Everything is working well now with the m.2 ssd as boot, and the entire 1TB HDD as a storage drive.

  • Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director Says:

    Hmm. The goal is to add the M.2 installation as an option on the Windows boot menu and name it "M.2" so you know you are running the OS off of the M.2 drive rather than your original SATA installation. I found, in my installation process, that the system still tried to boot off the SATA drive even when the boot order was changed. I wouldn't recommend reformatting the SATA drive entirely b/c the laptop may still look at the boot file on it and if that file isn't there, you may not be able to boot.

  • Dennis Says:

    Hi, I followed your excellent instructions but I am confused at steps 11-15 when using EasyBCD.

    I do not see a folder on A: called BOOT ( I see other hidden folders). You switched to "/BOOT" in the text. Is it a hidden partition rather than a hidden folder?

    Can you explain a bit what result you want to achieve with easyBCD? Why shouldn't I just switch the boot drive order in the BIOS and reformat the old C: drive (HDD)? Are you trying to maintain a dual boot option?

  • Bytesize Says:

    Incorrect location to install the M.2 provided

    under the battery is the correct location.

  • Alex Says:

    Hi,
    I got a Lenovo, which however has the 3G/4G modem. In the post is said that having that means we can't use the slot for an SSD. My question is, isn't it in fact possible to remove the modem (which disables using a SIM card) and still upgrade to an SSD, or is in fact having a modem means that it is no longer a proper M.2 slot?
    Happy holidays!

  • BT Says:

    Can I not use the M.2 to boot and use it as an extra storage device?

    I heard that M.2 is slower than an SSD in the 2.5 slot. is that true?

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