You might be a gamer who wants to try all the new stuff on their PC, or you’re a graphic designer who does heavy work on their desktop.
No matter how hard you try, sooner or later, you’ll probably have a full drive.
You might have already faced this problem, so you know and appreciate SSDs and their high speed.
You most likely already have one installed on your computer.
However, installing a second SSD is slightly different, especially if you’re using a laptop.
Continue reading to learn how to install a second SSD and set it up.
Before Getting Started
You might need a new SSD, but it doesn’t mean you can definitely add it to your system.
There are a few things that you need to consider before you go about installing that second drive:
- Does your PC have enough physical space?
- Can your motherboard support the new SSD?
- Can your power supply unit (PSU) power the drive?
Before buying your new SSD, you need to find answers to these questions.
If you use a desktop, you should first check if it has an available drive bay for a second SSD.
SSDs are usually 2.5 inches, compared to HDDs, which are often 3.5 inches.
If you don’t have a 2.5-inch bay, you should buy a 2.5 to 3.5 adapter, also known as a caddy.
It’s rare to find a PC case without any slots for a second SSD, but it might happen if you have too many disk drives.
In that case, you need to consider removing one of the drives you don’t often use and replacing it with an external counterpart.
The story is a bit different with laptops, though.
Laptops are built without extra space for add-ons.
A workaround in older models is to take out the optical drive and install an SSD in its place.
However, that might not work with newer models, which have already eliminated the optical drive.
In this case, a second SSD might not be an option unless your motherboard supports an M2 SSD.
Check your motherboard’s specification to make sure.
2. Data Connection To Motherboard
You can’t install a second SSD if your motherboard doesn’t have an empty Serial ATA port.
Again, it’s rare—but not impossible—to find a desktop with all the data connections occupied.
However, the chances of that happening on a laptop are much higher.
If you have no way of freeing up a SATA connection (e.g., replacing your current SSD with a larger one), your only option will be an M2 SSD.
On the plus side, depending on the actual port type, M2 drives tend to be much faster than SATA-based drives.
3. Power Connection
Finally, just like your first SSD, the second drive needs to get electrical power from your PSU, which requires a cable connecting the two.
Make sure your PSU isn’t overloaded and has the capacity to handle an extra drive.
As with the previous requirements, M2 drives are an exception because they connect directly to the motherboard.
How To Install A Second SSD On Your Desktop
Once you’ve made sure your computer can support a second SSD, here are the things you need:
- An SSD drive
- A screwdriver for opening the case
- An open drive bay (and a caddy if you’re drive’s dimensions are smaller than the bay’s)
- An open SATA on your desktop’s motherboard
- A SATA data cable
- A power connector
Caddies have different shapes and connectors, so make sure you get the right size for your specific case.
Some caddies come with a SATA cable, which makes your job easier.
Once you get all the items, you’re ready to go.
However, there’s a remote chance that the installation might damage your data.
Therefore, please back up your information before doing anything.
Then follow these steps:
1. Turn off your PC and unplug it.
Then, open your computer case.
You might experience discharging static when you’re working with your computer case.
To avoid that, use an anti-static wrist strap.
2. Find an available drive bay.
If you don’t see a free 2.5-inch drive bay, you need to buy a 3.5-inch adapter for your SSD and a 3.5-inch bay instead.
3. Take out the drive caddy and install your SSD.
Your system may not have a drive caddy.
In that case, you should put your SSD inside the bay and secure it in place.
Some models have built-in fasteners that you can twist or flip.
4. Put the caddy back into your case.
Your caddy might snap into its place without any problems, but you might need some kind of fastener.
It depends on your computer case.
5. Find an available SATA cable port on the motherboard and install the cable
Then look for a SATA power connector.
If you don’t have an available SATA power connector, you need to use a Molex or a power splitter.
6. Plug the SATA data and power ports into your SSD drive.
Pay attention to the orientation of connectors, so you install them in the right way.
7. The physical installation is almost done. Just close your case, plug in your PC and turn on your computer.
How To Install A Second SSD On Your Laptop
Those instructions were for desktops and laptops with a built-in drive bay.
These are the steps for laptops without a drive bay:
1. Turn off your laptop. Get access to the laptop’s HDD.
2. Switch the HDD with the new SSD you bought.
3. Now, put your HDD in your caddy and place it back there.
How To Set Up A New SSD In Windows
Now it’s time to turn on your PC and see if everything works fine.
Your Windows might not recognize your drives, so just turn off your system and look for any problems like loose wires.
When Windows recognizes your drives, you still can’t use the SSD.
First, you need to format it.
Then you can save files or transfer your data to the new drive.
Follow these steps to initialize the new SSD:
1. Go to the Control Panel and find Disk management.
Alternatively, you can press the Windows key + R.
Then type diskmgmt.msc and select OK, now the Disk management opens.
In Windows 7, press the Start button, right-click Computer and click on Manage to find Management.
2. A window opens to initialize the disk.
Select GPT (GUID Partition Table), and then click on OK.
In Windows 7, go for MBR (Master Boot Record).
Then click Next.
3. If you could select the GTP automatically, skip this step and go to the next step.
Look for the new SSD.
It’s easy to spot because it’s the only unallocated drive.
Now, right-click and choose New Simple Volume.
Then click Next.
4. You have two sets of numbers.
They should match.
Then select Next.
You may want to create multiple partitions on your new SSD, so enter partition size instead.
5. Now you see your drive letter, which you can change if you don’t like the default one.
Then click Next.
6. Here, you probably don’t need to make a change.
Enter a Volume Label—a name of your choosing. Then click Next.
7. Once you verify the information, click Next. Your SSD is ready to use.
Should I Partition My SSD?
Most people don’t partition their SSDs, since large-capacity SSDs are expensive, and many just buy the small-capacity drives.
If you have a high-capacity drive, it’s best to partition it.
There’s always the risk of catching a virus or system crash.
It’s best to protect your data files by keeping them separate from your program files.
Partitioning doesn’t affect SSD’s performance but benefits its lifespan because of the concept of hot and cold data.
When you partition your SSD, you separate these two data types and reduce the data processing flow.
Therefore, you help the SSD live longer.
However, too many partitions can affect the SSD negatively since your system loads more slowly.
Can You Use SSD And HDD At The Same Time?
The answer is a big yes.
Using dual storage is often the first choice for many people since it increases the PC’s speed.
Here are some tips for using them more effectively.
1. Run the operating system and programs on your SSD since it’s faster.
Large programs like Photoshop and games need this speed.
2. Save your personal data and large files on your HDD.
HDDs are usually fast enough to read large files like videos.
Plus, since you won’t access those files regularly, a small delay (about a second) isn’t likely to bother you at all.
3. Use the TRIM feature.
TRIM is one of the reasons that SSDs are faster than HDDs.
If you want to move or delete a file, TRIM finds the data location and makes the drive remove the file from the sectors.
How do you enable TRIM?
First, press Win + R keys to open Run.
Then type “cmd” and press Enter.
In the Command Prompt, type “fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify” and hit Enter.
If you see “NTFS DisableDeleteNofity = 1” TRIM is disabled.
So just type “fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0” command, and now it’s enabled.
If you see “NTFS DisableDeleteNotify = 0”, it means it’s already activated, and you’re good.
4. Use external storage devices.
External storage is an ideal way to back up your data to prevent losses.
It also helps maintain your system speed because you don’t have to use your internal storage fully.
Also, it won’t cost as much as an SSD.
5. Only defrag your HDD.
HDDs divide files into small sections and save them in different locations.
As you use your HDD, it’ll take more time to locate files.
You can defrag the drive to increase your system’s speed.
However, an SSD’s structure is different.
Defragmentation doesn’t work for SDDs and negatively affects their lifespan.
Read the following section for some other tips on how you can optimize your SSD.
Tips For SSD Optimization
Windows 10 offers many beneficial features for SSDs, but there are still things to do.
1. Disable Fast Start-Up
It might sound a little odd because the name suggests an increase in boot speed.
It’s helpful for HDDs, but SSDs are fast enough and don’t need it.
Just go to Settings and find Power & sleep.
Then choose Additional power settings.
Next, select Choose what the power buttons do.
If that option is grayed, click Change settings that are currently unavailable.
Then uncheck Turn on fast start-up.
2. Keep Your SSD Firmware Updated
Your SSD runs better if it’s updated, but the process is complicated and irreversible.
Each company offers its own way of updating the firmware.
Just check your SSD manufacturer’s website and follow the instructions.
3. Enable Advanced Host Controller Interface
The Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI) guarantees Windows supports all SSD features on your PC, especially TRIM.
You can’t find it in your computer settings and need to enter BIOS.
It’s often enabled in newer computers.
4. Check That System Restore Is Enabled
People used to recommend turning off System Restore.
SSDs were less durable and more fragile, but things have changed.
Now you can ignore that advice and keep System Restore activated.
Click Start, type “restore,” and choose Create a restore point.
Find your SSD drive on the list.
Right-click on it and choose Configure in the new window.
Now, select Turn on system protection.
5. Configure Write Caching
User-level write caching sometimes damages some SSDs, so you need to check its effect on your drive.
Disable this option and watch the SSD performance.
If it didn’t work well, just enable it again.
Go to Start Menu, right-click and choose Device Manager.
Expand Disk drives, right-click the SSD, and select Properties.
Locate the Policies tab and find Enable write caching on the device.
6. Set Your Power Options To High Performance
After a while, you feel a slight lag in your SSD because it powers on and off a lot.
Go to the Control Panel to change the Windows Power Options.
Select System and Security, and then click Power Options.
Choose High Performance.
If you can’t find it, just click Show Additional Plans, and you can see it.
7. Disable Indexing Service/Windows Search
Your Windows stores an index of file locations so that you can search files faster.
This feature was designed for HDDs, but you don’t need it for a faster SSD.
Click Start and open Computer.
Right-click on your SSD and select Properties.
Uncheck Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties.
SSD For Gaming Systems
Many users buy SSDs for a gaming system.
That’s because when installed on an SSD, video games tend to run much faster.
The boot time depends on your PC and the game, but an SSD usually opens a game twice as fast as an HDD.
Just remember, installing an SSD won’t change your frames per second (FPS).
For that, you need to invest in a new graphics card and CPU.
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