Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Upgrade Your Laptop, with a bonus

My daughter Dallas recently bought a laptop that came with dual SATA hard drives; a 120 GB and an 80 GB. Shortly after buying her laptop, she realized that she didn't have near the space she needed, so she purchased a 250 GB Western Digital Portable USB Passport. While surfing around Youtube I discovered you can take apart the USB Passport, remove a small board, and it becomes a SATA drive... follow the instructions to see what I did.

These are great little drives. You simply plug them in USB with the supplied cable and it's instantly recognized. Power is supplied via the USB so no separate cable is needed.

Long story short, I took apart the Passport, popped it into her new laptop replacing the small 80 GB secondary drive. She went from 200 GB to 370 GB of space, an increase of a whopping 170 GB!

What did I do with the 80 GB hard drive I removed from her laptop, you ask? I put it into the Passport so she still has a small portable USB drive. Why would a person do this? It's better to have a large amount of space available in the laptop than to pack around an external drive, and USB transfer rates are much slower than SATA. The nice thing is nothing is wasted, most people would toss the smaller drive into a drawer and forget about it. A big benefit is the cost of a 250 GB hard drive is pretty close, and sometimes a bit more, than the Passport, and it doesn't come with the USB/SATA converter board.

It's fairly simple and I've posted instructions.

BEFORE you do this make sure there are no operating system files on the drive you are replacing!!
If there are files, you can clone the drive BEFORE making the switch.

There's no screws but you'll need a screwdriver to pop apart the Passport. Run the screwdriver around the edge of the Passport "popping" the plastic clips that hold it together.

Inside you'll find the SATA drive.

There is foil wrapped around one end and also four rubber pads in each corner. Save the tinfoil and pads to put on the drive you will take out of the laptop.

Under the tinfoil you'll see a small board that converts the SATA to USB.

The board pulls straight out. The drive is now a regular SATA drive ready for the laptop.

Insert the larger drive into the laptop. Dallas' had a small case attached to the drive inside that I had to take off and put on the Passport drive, four small screws so that was pretty easy.
The Passport comes default as FAT32, you'll probably want to format it as NTFS. Please make sure you have transferred any files off the drive before formatting!!

Dallas went from this:

To this:

Remember to take the hard drive you removed from the laptop and:
Insert the SATA/USB board into the old drive, place the tinfoil on, and then the four small rubber pads.

Put the drive into the Passport case and snap together. You now have a small portable USB hard drive (much better than throwing it in a drawer).

Western Digital is now selling a larger 320 GB Passport for even more extra space, but even if you didn't have dual drives you could upgrade your single drive and still have a portable USB drive using your old hard drive.

My only question: Who was the person that was sitting around and thought to take apart the Passport in the first place?

Update: Use your old hard drive hooked up to your USB DVD player and watch movies on your TV! If it doesn't work when you plug it in check out my tutorial to easily make a cord so it will.


TadMack said...

It's Tech Woman Tuesday, and Kansas is taking apart another appliance...

You're SO TOTALLY IMPRESSIVE with this, you know!?

Kansas A said...

Thanks Tadmack :)
I can't really take credit for this one tho' as I saw it on youtube first but then it was a guy who did the video ;)

Anonymous said...

Is this something like the dishwasher. Amazing...

Kansas A said...

Unfortunately there's more to the dishwasher saga and I'll probably be posting about that next week :)