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User2018
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-30-2018
Location: US
Views: 677
Message 1 of 5

How to add an SSD and use it as the boot drive on M910s

Hi! I would like to replace the WD blue drive (it is currently the boot drive) with a Samsung 960 PRO Series M.2 SSD.

If it is possible, could you please briefly explain to me how I can transfer the boot drive data? And also, how I can mount and install the new SSD? The computer currently has 1 WD blue drive and 1 Samsung PM981 Polaris 512GB M.2 SSD MZVLB512HAJQ.

Thank you for your help.

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,264
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 664
Message 2 of 5

Re: How to add an SSD and use it as the boot drive on M910s

I thought that when Lenovo ships a PC with an SSD, that the OS is installed on the SSD... even if the machine also includes a 2.5" SATA HDD spinner. If I understand your description, your M910s has TWO drives currently installed: (1) 2.5" SATA WD Blue HDD spinner, and (2) Samsung PM981 M.2 NVMe SSD.  If you bought this machine from Lenovo with these two drives installed at the factory, I would have thought Lenovo would have configured things so that the M.2 NVMe SSD was where Windows was placed, and the HDD spinner configured as a second "data" drive.

 

You're absolutely sure the WD blue drive is the boot drive?  That is contrary to my theory of how Lenovo builds these machines with multiple drives pre-installed.

 

Did you buy the M910s with both drives installed at the factory, or did you buy it with just the WD blue drive and then later added your own Samsung PM981?

 

As far as wanting to replace the WD Blue HDD spinner, it's a 2.5" SATA drive and is installed in the primary 2.5" drive bay using a SATA connection.  You can't just replace it with an M.2 NVMe SSD because that type of drive connects through a totally different special motherboard socket and a PCIe x4 connection, of which the M910s motherboard has just one. And you say that M.2 SSD socket is already occupied by the PM981 M.2 SSD.  In otherwords, the M910s is designed to have one 2.5" SATA HDD spinner (or 2.5" SATA SSD) as well as one M.2 NVMe SSD.

 

You can only add a second M.2 NVMe SSD if you buy a daughtercard PCIe-to-NVMe x4 adapter card and install it in the second x16/x4/x1 negotiable slot.  Then you install the Samsung 960 Pro M.2 SSD into this daughtercard.  And then you might as well leave your HDD spinner installed as well and use it for "data", so that your machine would have THREE drives.

 

Please clarify exactly what drives you really do currently have installed, and that your Windows boot drive is really on the HDD spinner instead of being factory installed by Lenovo onto the PM981 as I would have expected it to be.  Depending on what things really and truly currently look like, you could use Macrium Reflect Free and possibly Partition Wizard Free to move things around and get Windows onto one (of your ultimate two??) M.2 SSD drives with the other (one or two) drives repurposed for use as "data".

User2018
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-30-2018
Location: US
Views: 608
Message 3 of 5

Re: How to add an SSD and use it as the boot drive on M910s

Hi DSperber, thank you for your prompt and detailed reply.  I appreciate it.  And please excuse my late reply as I have been working out of town lately.

 

My M910s was purchased back in June from the online portal of Lenovo's US website. The machine has one SSD (a Samsung MZVLB512HAJQ SSD) and one WD Blue (WD5000AZLX).  On My Computer ("This PC" on Windows 10), the C drive is for Windows, while the D drive is for Data. 

 

If possible, could you please advise how I can find out which one is the boot drive?  I would like to replace the WD Blue drive as early as possible as the read speed is quite slow, plus it is generating a persisting noise. 

 

This is the machine's configuration:

 

Configuration Details

●  Intel Core i7-7700 Processor (8MB Cache, up to 4.20GHz)

●  Windows 10 Pro 64

●  Windows 10 Pro 64 English

●  Small Form Factor 85% Power 210W

●  64GB(16x4) DDR4 2400 UDIMM

●  NVIDIA Geforce GT730 2GB DDR5 64bit DP Low Profile

●  NVIDIA Geforce GT730 2GB DDR5 64bit DP Low Profile

●  DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter

●  DP to HDMI

●  DP to HDMI

●  DP to HDMI

●  500GB Hard Drive, 7200 RPM, 3.5", SATA

●  512GB SolidState Drive M.2 NVMe

●  2.5" Hard Drive Bracket for SFF

●  Integrated Intel Gigabit Ethernet

●  Intel 8265 2x2AC+Bluetooth Version vPro

●  7 in 1 Card Reader

●  No Keyboard

●  Vertical Stand

●  Internal Speaker

●  Publication English

●  INTEL_UNITE_STANDALONE_VPRO

●  1 Year On-site

 

1.jpg2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg5.jpg

 

User2018
Blue Screen Again
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎10-30-2018
Location: US
Views: 607
Message 4 of 5

Re: How to add an SSD and use it as the boot drive on M910s

Also, could you check the pics above and advise where I can install the adapter card for the SSD? Or, can I just remove the WD blue drive and mount the new SSD in the existing space reserved for the SATA drive?

SeniorGuru
Posts: 2,264
Registered: ‎06-13-2013
Location: US
Views: 596
Message 5 of 5

Re: How to add an SSD and use it as the boot drive on M910s

With the specs of your machine, I'm virtually certain that Lenovo has installed Windows to the C-partition living on the M.2 NVMe SSD drive.  The WD Blue "data" drive is virtually guaranteed to be D.  I'm certain this is their method when delivering a machine with an SSD, in that the Windows operating system is always installed on the SSD even if an HDD spinner is also delivered as a second drive (which is then allocated for "data").

 

If you "run" DISKMGMT.MSC (enter DISKMGMT.MSC in the "search" field on the taskbar) and you will see something that looks very similar to the following screenshot.  This is from an HP Omen laptop which has two drives in it, much like your M910S.  One drive is a 1TB HDD spinner for "data" (where I've placed partitions E and F for "data), and the second drive is a 256GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD (where partitions Windows C and "data" D live, along with a small "system reserved" for Boot Manager and some unallocated space for Samsung Magician to use for "over-provisioning").

 

HPOmen_storage.jpg

 

You can easily tell from the drive sizes shown on the far left of each drive (in the bottom portion, with the graphical presentation of the partitions on the two drives) which drive is 1TB (HDD spinner) and which drive is 256GB (M.2 SSD), and the fact that the Windows C partition is living on the 256GB M.2 SSD drive.

 

Your situation should look similar, but only with the EFI system partition (i.e. "system reserved", for Boot Manager) and partition C on your 512GB M.2 SSD and partition D on your 500GB HDD spinner.  If Lenovo provided these drives partitioned with GPT rather than MBR then you might also see a small "GPT placeholder" partition on one or both drives.  Note that the drive capacity shown on the left side is somewhat smaller than the actual hardware drive capacity because of format overhead for the partitions.

 

 

As far as replacing the WD Blue WD5000AZLX drive, it actually is a 3.5" drive and is installed in the primary drive bay of the M910s.  To replace it with an SSD you would use the very same drive bay, simply removing the existing WD Blue 3.5" HDD spinner and installing a 2.5" SSD.  Note that SSD drives are only 2.5" in size and also thinner than HDD spinners, which means you need to use a 3.5"-to-2.5" adapter bracket in order to accomplish the drive swap to make use of the same primary 3.5" drive bay.

 

You can use something simple like this single-SSD bracket (which has a long delivery time because it's cheap) or you can also use something like this double-SSD bracket (with a quick delivery) but only for a single drive. Or, you could buy something else that's similar.

 

Now the specs on your M910s also show a "2.5" Hard Drive Bracket" but I don't iknow what that is or where it is in the machine.  Perhaps it's a pre-installed 2.5" bracket that fits into the second SATA drive bay, in anticipation of your adding a second 2.5" SSD drive there.  But I don't think it can be used to swap the primary 3.5" HDD spinner for a 2.5" SSD, which definitely requires a 3.5"-to-2.5" adapter bracket for that job.  Or, maybe this 2.5" Hard Drive Bracket is really already exactly what you need to install a 2.5" SSD into the 3.5" primary drive bay.  You'll have to investigate this for yourself.

 

Again, you're replacing your existing SATA WD Blue 3.5" HDD spinner drive in the primary drive bay with a SATA 2.5" SSD (e.g. Samsung 860 Pro or EVO).  The same existing SATA power and data cables which currently connect to the replaced HDD spinner will be used to connect to the newly installed SSD. So when you mount the new SSD into the 3.5"-to-2.5" adapter bracket, be sure you orient things so that the power/data connector of the drive is fully open and available for the power/data cables to be connected when the assembly is screwed into the 3.5" drive bay.

 

Final note... you haven't mentioned if there is any "data" you currently have on your WD Blue HDD spinner drive that you want to copy over to the new SSD replacement.  If so, you'll have to figure out how to do that copy (e.g. copy the data out to an external USB drive before the swap, and then copy the data back from the external USB drive after the swap).

 

Also, since the SSD is a brand new "raw" drive you will want to partition it as NTFS (say into a similar single "D" partition for data like your current HDD spinner looks, or to D, E, etc. if you want more than one "data" partition).  I recommend using Minitool Partition Wizard Free for all partitioning needs and assigning a drive letter, but you can also standard Windows tools to accomplish the initialization and partitioning and drive lettering of your new SSD.

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