The best gift for your laptop… and yourself!

It’s the best spend I’ve ever made!  For just on R2,000, my 4½ year old laptop is far, far faster than it’s ever been.  Replacing your old hard drive with a Solid State Disk (SSD) is the best thing you can do for any computer.  And you won’t have to hold your breath waiting for things to open.

When I say fast, it becomes unbelievably fast.  Whereas I was used to waiting for programmes to open — whether Outlook, Word, Excel — as well as megabyte-heavy web pages, they now open before I’ve had a chance to blink.

Turning the computer on and off is a dream.  It probably takes between two and four seconds from pushing the “on” button and it’s completely ready.

What makes a SSD special?  It’s more robust than the old hard drives with their moving parts so it should last much longer.  It uses 90% less power than a hard drive.  It also runs cooler which means the laptop’s fan runs far less.  So your battery will last longer between recharges. (For me, that’s proven to be over 30% longer.)

But it’s the blazing speed that keeps delighting me.  It’s like having 525 gigabytes of RAM.

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Battery life

Graphics: http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/ssds-are-worth-it

How did the changeover go?

You can find the right SSD for your computer by going to the Crucial website.  Download the Crucial System Scanner — it places a file on your computer and discovers what your options are.

I chose the 525 Gigabyte SSD, which is slightly larger than my old hard drive.  You can buy it on the Crucial website — either USA or UK — but I looked for a local supplier.  Initially I only found one in Gauteng, and their delivery cost to Cape Town was more than double Crucial’s cost of UK to Cape Town!

Then I discovered takealot.com also sells it and at R2000 vs R2500, they were the obvious choice.  I hadn’t used them before and it certainly won’t be the last time.  They exceeded expectations and over-delivered on their promises.

And then we came to replacing the hard drive and transferring the content to the new SSD.  I called an IT guy to find out what to do… and I went weak at the knees.  So I turned to Google which made it sound a lot simpler than the IT guy had said.

My Crucial SSD comes with a software key for a cloning application.  It means you need a cable so that your SSD can plug into a USB port, and the old hard drive is cloned onto your new SSD.

So I called Incredible Disconnection to find out if they had the cable.  They did, so off I went to buy it.  It turns out that they didn’t and they sold me something instead.  And that didn’t work… and… and.. and.  (This wasn’t the first time.)  Do yourself a favour.  Avoid Incredible Connection!

After thinking of installing a backup onto the SSD, I decided to do a clean install — no 4½ years of upgrades, etc.  So I made sure I had all my content safely on the backup disk and then set about making a list of all the applications and programs I would need to install, and coming up with a plan for lost software keys.

And this is where Microsoft came out tops!  They really do have incredible customer support.  I have only used them a few times over the years, and every time I walk away totally in awe.

Not only did they help with MS Office keys, but also Windows 10, Photoshop and everything else I had on the old hard drive.  All you need to do to get detailed info (software keys, etc) of all your applications is to go to http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html and download their Belarc Advisor.  You get a detailed PDF with all the info.

The decision to do a clean install was the correct one.  Yes it took time and lots of bandwidth, but my new Windows 10 is far better than my Windows-10-upgraded-from-Windows-7.

The System Update for Lenovo Thinkpads is excellent and after I had downloaded that, my old, familiar laptop was back… on steroids.  I read somewhere that T-series Thinkpads are the only computers certified by the US military as “battle-ready.”  (They use them to fight their wars.)  Mine still looks and feels as good as new, and is now faster than I’d ever hoped for.  It will probably have a useful life of 10 years.

Changing to a SSD is a no-brainer.  What are you waiting for?

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