My old Windows laptop had finally reached the end of its useful life as a laptop, the trackpad had stopped working and compared to my work MacBook Air it was heavy and clunky.
So I looked around for a new laptop and ended up choosing the Asus X200 because it was on special offer and had a touchscreen. I was intrigued to find out if Windows 8 worked better with a touchscreen. The answer turns out to be “Yes, and touchscreens on small laptops work surprisingly well. But, I still use Start8 and ModernMix to make Windows 8 work like a fast version of Windows 7.
The Asus is light and nice but horribly constrained by an achingly slow hard drive. It only has 4Gb of RAM which is soldered to the motherboard so there is no way to up the RAM.
So instead I replaced the 500GB drive of sloth with a 128GB Samsung 830 SSD.
The original drive was partitioned in two with the C:\ drive holding the system files and the larger D:\ drive empty.
My first challenge was to clone the C:\ partition to the new SSD. The Samsung drive came with a copy of Symantec Ghost but no licence key! More usefully it came with a USB connector so one could plug one end into the drive and mount it as a bus-powered USB drive for installation.
I initially thought about following the suggestions I found on Lifehacker but then I discovered Paragon Migrate OS to SSD. It costs £15 and will only copy the system partition to the SSD but it handles everything else itself.
So I connected the new disk to the connector and plugged it into the laptop. I then ran the Paragon software which spent ages “preparing” and then when it started it reported errors on the disk. I restarted the laptop and ran the software again and this time it worked without problems, taking about 30 minutes to complete.
Once it had finished the software recommends changing the BIOS settings to boot from the USB drive to test that it has worked.
And of course *cough* *cough* I did that.
The Asus has 9 screws holding the underside in place. The 4 at the front are short screws, the remaining 5 are long. Once you have removed the screws, the underside is held in place by plastic clips. I used a slim, flat piece of metal to pop the clips and then I could remove the underside.
The hard drive is held in place by three screws although there are four holes. This will be important later! I removed these screws and could then pull out the hard drive. I removed the rails from the side and attached them to the new SSD. I then slotted the SSD into place and replaced the screws.
I then clipped the bottom back in place and put the screws back. Unfortunately I ended up with one left over. Remember the missing screw from earlier? It turns out that if you put a screw in the top right of the disk holder it stops you from replacing one of the base screws. So, don’t do that.
I then rebooted the machine and it is day and night in comparison. It now flies. I downloaded and installed the Samsung Magician software and configured the drive. I also ran Windows Experience which tells Windows it now has an SSD.
So for half the price of an equivalent MacBook Air, I have a fast touchscreen laptop.