Traditional hard drives or HDD (hard disk drive) have been with us for many years but, lately, another type of storage technology is winning the battle, solid state drives (SSD or solid state drive).
Today we have all heard about SSDs and their advantages over “traditional” hard drives : faster loading of applications and the operating system, less boot time and shutdown, and even better autonomy . We are going to see how to correctly change an HD disk for an SSD to give new life to our computer. But, first, let’s see its main differences.
Hard disk vs. SSD
The well-known hard drives are data storage devices that use a magnetic recording system to store files, composed of one or more plates (hard drives) .
The SSD disk, on the other hand, uses flash memory and does not carry mechanical parts but several chips, which has two basic advantages: faster access to data and greater resistance to shocks.
In terms of capabilities, the HDD has reached 2 TB, although the most widespread size is 500 MB. SSDs, on the other hand, tend to be somewhat more expensive (although their prices have dropped a lot), with 256 MB as the most used. However, the advantages noted above tip the balance to the SSD clearly .
Choosing the SSD disk
The choice of what type of SSD depends on several points to consider: the type of computer where we will install it, capacity, computer connections, etc.
A disk for the laptop is not the same as for the desktop computer. In this second case we could install the SSD as a disk for the operating system and leave the old HDD as the second disk for data. Normally we will not have this option on a laptop (although there are models that do allow it).
On the other hand is the detail of the capacity: depending on the operating system, we might need more or less memory . For example, for a good use of Windows 10 we recommend a disk of 250 GB or more.
Finally we have to take into account if the disk that we are going to buy comes with a case to install it or we will have to buy an additional installation kit . As a general rule, all current SSDs come with this kit, although it does not hurt to make sure.
Installing the disk
We have already chosen the disk. If it does not come prepared, we’ll just have to mount it in the box that comes in the kit. Once ready, we will connect it to the computer and, depending on the use we are going to give it, we have two options:
- If we use it as a single disk we will have to clone the old HDD disk if we want to keep everything as it was. For this, obviously, we will need an SSD of a capacity equal to or greater than the HDD that we are going to replace.
- If we are going to use it as a secondary disk, we will only have to connect it and move the files.
SSD as a single disk
We connect the disk to the computer and use a program to clone the content , such as AOMEI Backupper , for example. It is simple and intuitive to use and will guide us step by step. There are many options such as Macrium Reflect Free or GParted , among others.
Once the process is over, which will last a long time depending on the size of the disk, we can proceed to the physical installation .
SSD hard disk as auxiliary or system disk
Some laptops come with two hard drives: one SSD for the operating system and another physical one for data and programs . We gain speed in the initial load and in the start of the computer. We can do the same, if our computer has a place for it, a desktop will not give us a problem because it usually has several bays for several discs.
In the case that we want to use the new SSD disk as a system disk , where we only install the OS of our computer, we will only have to connect it to it. Once our computer has recognized the disk and it works without problems (not yet formatted), we turn off the computer.
To install the operating system on the new disk , we must start the computer to recognize our original unit of that program (either on CD or USB) and follow the instructions.
Then we would proceed to the installation of the operating system as we have said before.
Once all the software is correctly installed, we will check the huge difference in performance and speed with the previous physical disk (which, by the way, we can continue to use as an external disk just by buying a box ).
The ideal is to use the SSD for the programs that we will use the most and the most quickly, the operating system, games, etc. We will give new life to our computer in a simple and economical way.