Can I Add an External SSD to My Laptop?
Laptops allow users to take their computers anywhere at any time due to their size and weight. However, many may eventually require more storage for their data and an external SSD is a great option.
You can add an external SSD to a laptop, but you may need an adapter to connect the device to your computer. An SSD is a great option for additional storage due to its portability, speed, and durability, all of which are advantageous for laptop users.
This article will explain in detail how you can add an external SSD to a laptop, the different advantages of doing so, and tips on what SSD to choose based on your storage requirements.
How To Add an External SSD to a Laptop
Many people replace the original hard disk drive (HDD) in their laptop with a solid-state drive (SSD) to upgrade their current system. An external SSD is also an excellent choice for those wishing for an additional storage source. Adding this to your current set-up is extremely beneficial and easy to do, and connecting an external SSD to a laptop is very straightforward.
Connecting Your SSD to a Laptop
Although many SSDs come with cables for connecting to your desktop or laptop, your computer may require additional adapters. This is especially the case with the various types of ports on Mac computers, including USB-C and Thunderbolt ports. Most hard drives include directions or advice on how to connect your computer, and there are many tutorials online for how to use adapters effectively.
If you find that you need an adapter, I recommend the Unitek Hard Drive Adapter from Amazon, which connects SATA/IDE to USB 3.0. It offers a 2-year warranty, and this device has 3 ports that can be used. Don’t let the idea of needing an adapter deter you from buying an SSD. There are many options available online and in-store, and they range in prices so that you’re able to find something that stays within your budget.
For more information on using your external SSD on different types of computers, check out this helpful video from Javier Mercedes:
How To Buy an External SSD for a Laptop
Generally, buying an SSD to upgrade your set-up is a great option. In addition to storage, they’re also fast, light, and durable. The one main disadvantage of an SSD is the cost, as they are significantly more expensive than traditional HDDs.
Features To Consider When Buying
There are many specifications to consider when buying an SSD, but some are specific to a laptop:
- How portable is your SSD? Factors like size and weight are important, as some SSDs are designed for desktop set-ups and are not lightweight or easy to transport. Some SSDs are advertised to fit in your pocket, which may be a selling point.
- Is your SSD durable? SSDs are much less prone to damage than HDDs as there are no moving parts. However, some manufacturers design their SSDs to be more shock-resistant than others.
- How safe is your SSD? If you’re traveling with your SSD, it’s expected that there’s a risk that the SSD may get lost or misplaced, even briefly. Look for password protection and hardware encryption to keep your data safe.
- What’s your budget? SSDs can range in price and reflect the amount of storage that they offer. Before deciding on your budget, determine how much data you need to store currently and in the future. There are options available for any storage need and any budget from various manufacturers.
Due to the specifications and high ratings from other users, I recommend the SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD from Amazon.com. This SSD comes with either 1 TB or 2 TB of storage. Additionally, it’s extremely portable and fast, with transfer speeds of up to 540Mb/s.
External SSDs Are Extremely Versatile
With a laptop, you can use an external SSD for any of the following purposes:
- Boot drive or primary hard drive
- Backing up your computer
- Using for gaming or editing videos
- Storing large files (for example, Photoshop)
Some SSDs are designed for specific purposes, such as gaming, and their specifications reflect this. Assess what your needs are before searching for SSDs so that you get exactly what you need. For more examples of why you may consider purchasing an SSD, watch this video from ADATA:
How To Get the Most Out of Your External SSD
If you’ve decided to add an external SSD to your laptop, it’s important not only to research what features your SSD should possess but also to maintain it. SSDs are expensive, and there are many measures you can take to prolong the life of your new hard drive. Additionally, there are endless videos, forums, and blogs online dedicated to the use of hard drives, increasing storage, and all things related to computers.
Taking Care of Your External SSD
Although SSDs are much more durable than HDDs, it’s still important to treat them with care. In addition to avoiding drops and falls, the life of your SSD can be extended by following these steps:
- Keep your SSD stationary when in use and avoid placing it in areas with high temperatures or humidity
- Continue to update your Operating System (OS), such as macOS or Microsoft Windows
- Clean your SSD with canned air or a cloth to remove dust or other
It’s important to keep in mind that many beneficial processes for HDDs may not be for SDDs. For example, ExcalTech recommends avoiding defragging, hibernation, and benchmarking, which can eventually wear out your SSD.
For more information on how to take care of a hard drive like an SSD or HDD, watch this video from AGJSystemNetworks:
If you’re using an external SSD with a laptop, you’ll likely be transporting your device from location to location. If you don’t already own one, I’d highly recommend purchasing a laptop case that will protect your laptop and any accessories. The KROSER Laptop Bag from Amazon is highly rated and includes lots of compartments to store accessories like SSDs or cables.
How To Get the Most Out of Your SSD
Due in part to their popularity, there are many resources available for those with little to no computer experience. Although adding an external SSD to your laptop is fairly straightforward, there are potential problems that you could run into, like compatibility issues, corrupted files, or viruses. Cleaning your laptop, installing programs that prevent viruses, or take advantage of the warranty if it’s a manufacturing defect.
Other problems or questions can be easily solved by looking online at forums or blogs. Many video tutorials are produced by companies or individuals that show you how to get the most out of your computer and hard drives. Alternatively, the manufacturer’s website is a great source of information on the products, and they provide support services. For example, Samsung, a popular manufacturer of SSDs and other hard drives, offers 24/7 online chat support.
Adding an external SSD to your laptop is a wise decision to increase the amount of data you can store. Generally, you can connect an external SSD directly to the laptop. If an adapter is needed, there are various types available for all makes and models. An SSD is durable and portable, which are traits that make it perfect for laptop users. Be sure to research the SSD before purchasing and explore what resources are available to help.
- Basic Computer Tips: Are External SSD’s Worth It?
- Techradar: Best portable SSD of 2021: top external solid state drives
- PCWorld: How to add an SSD to your laptop
- Apple: Use external storage devices with Mac
- It Still Works: How to Take Care of an External Hard Drive (5 Steps)
- Apple: Identify the ports on your Mac
- ExcalTech: Got a Solid State Drive? Here’s How to Take Care of It
- Wikipedia: Operating System
- Samsung: Support
- Pro Data Recover: Top 5 Hard Drive Problems and Solutions