09-12-2019 08:50 PM
I just received my newly minted P52 that came with a stock 500GB HHD. The plan is to remove HDD completely and install 2x M.S SSDs
Can you please point me to a manual that explains all required steps?
All manuals I can find online describe replacing HDD with an 2.5" SSD which is NOT what I want to do. I need to install the fastest M.2 SSDs
Also how do I move Windows OS from HDD to SSD?
09-13-2019 12:53 AM
You are looking for the ThinkPad P52's Hardware Maintenance Manual, which can be downloaded from
You would start by removing the internal battery and then the bottom cover, the instructions for which begin on page 71 (internal number) of the document, the removing the 2.5" 500GB SATA HDD, and installing the two M.2 NVMe SSDs above it From looking at the Hardware Maintenance Manual, it seems all you need to do is unscrew a screw from a post to mount an M.2 SSD.
Do not be alarmed if the machine takes several minutes to start the first time after this "surgery." In some cases, the UEFI environment has to reinitialize completely to account for changes in hardware to memory and storage capacity and this can take a while.
I would suggest using Lenovo's own Digital Download Recovery Service to make a Lenovo Recovery USB key for the ThinkPad P52. This can be done from any computer (i.e., it doesn't have to be done from the ThinkPad P52) but you will need ot enter the computer's serial number in order to make the recovery media. If memory serves, a blank 32GB USB flash drive is required, as the files were just a little bit too large to fit on a formatted 16GB USB flash drive.
Once the drives are installed, and configured (if you're going to use RAID, for example), you can then boot the system from the USB flash drive and have it install Windows with all of the proper factory driver support. Then, use Windows Update and Lenovo Vantage to get the operating system and Lenovo-specific software updated, respectively.
Then... all that's left is for your to enjoy your newly-minted ThinkPad P52
09-13-2019 07:10 PM
I just wanted to add that you could create the recovery drive from Windows using How can I create Recovery Media (DVD or USB), or order Recovery Media (DVD or USB) from Lenovo, or clone your 2.5" HDD to the SSD using disk cloning software.
You should keep in mind that the Digital Download Recovery Service is meant for people who cannot create the recovery key from their current factory image. From what I read, it's a one-shot deal. I suggest you try cloning your HDD first, as you already have everything you need on this disk. Your SSD manufacturer likely has some free cloning software for you to use, just follow the instructions, and DO THIS:
ONCE THE CLONING IS COMPLETE, POWER DOWN AND DISCONNECT THE HDD! DO NOT BOOT UNLESS THE HDD IS DISCONNECTED! Failure to do this will cause a mess! Also, don't forget to change the boot order to your new SSD.
Another small tip: The black plastic strips covering the SSD slots has two sticky ends, and are sometimes stuck under the screw. You may have to loosen the screw before you can pull them back, else you could risk tearing them. I believe their purpose is to prevent the metal bottom cover from shorting the SSDs.
I hope it helps!
P.S.: Hi Aryeh!
09-15-2019 08:45 AM
Thank you for this input! Much appreciated.
I also thought of cloning but thought both disks would need to be same size? The machine arrived with 500GB HDD and I am trying to install 2x M.2 1TB disks as RAID1.
The specs on the box say L1 MI Internal RAID - Not Enabled. Assuming this refers to the M.2 slots RAID, is there any additional cable or socket I need to buy?
Finally, I am thinking of replacing the 500GB HDD with a 2TB SATA Samsung SSD. Do I need to order any new cables to connect this SSD with the HDD slot?
Sorry for too many questions! Really wish there was a manual somewhere that explains 1x HDD => 2x M.2 SSD + 1x SATA SSD process in one place.
09-15-2019 10:37 PM
Some of the information you need is in the Hardware Maintenance Manual (how to setup RAID, chapter 5), the rest is normal PC procedures (cloning). You should be able to do it, but you need to find the cloning software. There are many, I suggest you check they can see your NVMe SSDs before cloning. What I planned to use could not, I needed to fix this before beginning my setup.
Your box mentioned that RAID was not enabled, it's normal. That is likely an instruction for the assembly, you cannot activate RAID with a single drive. The option is still in the BIOS, and the HMM will help you find it. I saw it in mine (inactive, I have one SSD, one HDD).
Install both SSDs as instructed in the HMM (read the SSD manufacturer manual too!), and check the BIOS can see them. If they need a firmware update, do it NOW. Later, they won't be visible in the same way.
Once they are up to date and visible, create the RAID array. Remember what is written in the HMM, RAID 0 offers NO redundancy.
Once the RAID array has been created, check your cloning software (bootable, on a USB drive, or maybe external DVD?) can see the array. Solve any issues you have before trying to clone. The people making the software should be able to help. If you need device drivers, look at the SCCM Package for Windows PE 10 in the Enterprise Management section of your laptop Support Drivers page. It may have what you need.
Now, it's time to Clone. You can clone a drive to another equal or bigger drive. For some cloning software, only the used space on the source drive and the free space on the destination drive is important. That means an almost free big drive could be transferred to a smaller but empty enough drive. But in any case, your 500GB HDD will fit in your 1TB RAID1 array. If you are asked, use GPT partitions in UEFI mode. If you are asked if you want to change the disk signature, choose NO.
Once the copying is done, you might want to extend the partition size to fill the SSD array. Some software will ask you before the cloning, others not. I like to leave space for a separate "Tools" partition, so I have a place to store drivers and tools if I need to reinstall the OS in the main partition, but arrange it to your liking.
Once done, TURN OFF THE SYSTEM AND DISCONNECT THE SOURCE DRIVE!
Here's why: now, both disks have the same disk signature. Windows looks for it to select from what disk to boot, and it will pick the first disk it sees with it to boot. Later in the boot process, it will detect that two disks have the same ID and shuffle letters to accommodate. Your boot drive might suddenly become "Q:" and it will all go to hell. By booting only one of the two drives with the ID, you can be sure it will use "C:".
Now, change the boot drive in the BIOS and start it!
Once you are happy, you can wipe the old source drive with some bootable media like a Windows repair drive or other software (erasing the ID), or use the cloning software to assign a new drive letter. Make sure you pick the right disk!
As a general note:
On the P52, you don't need any optional parts to add an SSD M.2 drive (NVMe M.2 2280 iirc).
If your system DID NOT come with a 2.5" HDD, you DO need a cable and frame. Someone might have the part number for the drive kit?
If you already have the frame and cable for your P52, just transfer them to the new drive (SATA 2.5" x 7mm). Instructions should be in the HMM.
09-29-2019 10:52 AM
I tried following your recommendations and ran into an issue. Let me explain.
My P52 came equipped with 1x HDD only. My goal is to remove it and replace with a combination of (i) 2x 1TB M.2 SSD set up as RAID1, and (ii) 1x 2TB SATAIII SSD for file backup purposes.
Can I do this in one go (i.e. create a USB recovery disk from HDD, then remove it and install 3x new disks, and then upon boot instruct the BIOS to load from USB)?
Or I still need to do 2 steps:
- first, intall 2x M.2 disks, assemble the machine back, then do a clone from HDD to SSD
- second, once PC boots from the new M.2, open the machine again, remove HDD and replace it with SSD.
Ideally I do not want to assemble the machine twice if this can be accomplished in one go.
Hope this makes sense!
Thanks a TON!!
09-29-2019 04:16 PM
No, you don't HAVE to do it in two steps. But there are reasons it could be a good idea.
The Recovery USB key is a pre-configured Windows installation media minimally altered that includes the appropriate drivers, and not a disk image as it was in the Windows 7 days. That means it's more flexible for users, simpler for manufacturers, but it DOESN'T create back the Recovery partition.
If you go USB with three new drives, you will have to repartition the new RAID array and basically reinstall Windows. You won't have the Recovery partition anymore, but about 10GB more space. And the partition setup Windows creates by default is a bit odd with the EFI partition second instead of first (at least on some machines).
If you clone the current HDD to the RAID array, your partition setup would be identical to the HDD, Recovery partition included. You won't have to worry about GPT, EFI and the like. The cloning software may allow you to resize partitions, so you can leave all the same size and grow/shrink the "C:" partition.
Don't worry, the P52 can take it! The bottom cover is metal, the screws captive, and they screw in metal. Just finger-tip tighten and your good! And check the HMM :-)