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Punch Card
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-09-2013
Location: United States
Views: 818
Message 1 of 20

Add an ssd to w520

Hi all,

I currently have a w520 with a 500gb 7200rpm drive.  It currently is really kinda slow to boot and run certain programs.  It takes roughly 2.5-3 minutes to boot up from off to logged in.  I'd like to add an SSD, and was wondering if I have to take out the current HDD in order to place a new SSD in.  I'd like to make this the boot drive.  I know theres a little bay you can use that plugs into where the cd drive is, but if possible i'd like to not have to use this (i still use cd's and dvd's).  Thanks for the help!


Also, what size would the ssd have to be? I know there are different sizes.

Posts: 7,626
Registered: ‎11-23-2007
Location: USA
Views: 807
Message 2 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

With a W520 you can actually install a mSATA SSD as a boot drive and leave both your current HDD and media drive in place.


If you prefer a full-size SSD, you'd have to replace your current HDD with it. W520 will take both 7mm and 9mm units in the 2.5" format.


Happy upgrading.



In daily use: R60F, R500F, T61, T410

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Enjoying retirement: A31p, T42p,

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Community SeniorMod
Community SeniorMod
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎01-01-2010
Location: US
Views: 787
Message 3 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

Please note that you cannot have both mSATA and WWAN at the same time.


I do not respond to requests for private, one-on-one help. Your questions should be posted in the appropriate forum where they may help others as well.

If a response answers your question, please mark it as the accepted solution.

I am not an employee or agent of Lenovo.
Punch Card
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-09-2013
Location: United States
Views: 786
Message 4 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

what is WWAN? would this mean i can't have the msata AND current HDD in the laptop at the same time?

Punch Card
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-09-2013
Location: United States
Views: 762
Message 5 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

 As a side note, how am I to reinstall Windows 7? I don't have a boot disk since it came installed on the laptop already.  Is there some way Microsoft will send me a disk?

Posts: 235
Registered: ‎10-21-2012
Location: Switzerland
Views: 737
Message 6 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

I've added recently a 480GB Crucial m500 (mSata, as i never need WWAN). I installed win8, kept data and my work files on the HDD. It works fine, fast and quiet. The HDD is spun down in 1min to save power/noise; restarts rarely, when i access my big data files. Quite happy.
Also the latest Ubuntu LTS now can handle better the SSD, though i haven't yet installed it.
Posts: 1,527
Registered: ‎05-29-2010
Location: SG
Views: 733
Message 7 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

Hi stardude900


You could simply do a factory reset by restarting your PC > while the Lenovo Logo appear (POST), press ThinkVantage button to get into the recovery. However, remember to back up all your data to external device such as thumdrive or hard drive before proceeding.



ThinkPad W520 (4284-A99) | ThinkCentre E73 SFF (10AU-0040SG) | i9300 - CM11 / GoogyMax 2

Give kudos to reward people for their assistance | Mark the thread solved if the solution works | Direct e-mail regarding technical problems will be ignored


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Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-12-2013
Location: Norway
Views: 717
Message 8 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

YOu can deactivate your conventional HDD in wondows disc management. Mine is deactivated and only activated to create an image backup of my SSD every 2 weeks. I can fit 2 complete images on my HDD so i have good backup history. 

Posts: 755
Registered: ‎04-13-2012
Location: IS
Views: 700
Message 9 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

I upgraded my W520 with a Corsair Force 3 256GB standard SSD when I got it and then I added a 750GB standard HD in a ultrabay caddy for data and storage. You can hotswap it out for the CD/DVD drive at any time, and this setup provides best of both worlds in my opinion. I've had this setup for 2 years now and it's perfection.


You can find plenty of these caddies on eBay, and they're very cheap.


2nd HDD Ultrabay caddy

ThinkStation P500 - Xeon E5-1650v3/32GB // ThinkPad P70 - Xeon E3-1505M/32GB
ThinkPad W540 (20BG) - i7-4800MQ/32GB // ThinkPad W520 (4282-W4Q) - i7-2720QM/32GB
ThinkPad T450s (20BW) - i7-5600U/12GB // Yoga 900 - i7-6500U/8GB
ThinkPad T61 (7665-CTO) - T7700/4GB // ThinkPad T60p (8741-C2G) - T7400/4GB
Punch Card
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-09-2013
Location: United States
Views: 668
Message 10 of 20

Re: Add an ssd to w520

Thanks for all the awesome replies guys!  I plan on using the following mSATA drive :


I also picked up a Windows 7 Pro .iso file from the following website (microsoft's page).


If anyone wants to just confirm this is a legit .iso file, I can use the key on my current system to activate windows 7 on the new ssd.

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