Hardware icon   HW – Install SSD in laptop and replace DVD

In a previous post I showed how to upgrade your laptop HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to an SSD (Solid State Drive) to boost up performance. In this post, instead of removing the HDD, it will placed in the DVD bay to be used as a second storage.

SSD - Solid State DriveGiven that the use of ODD (Optical Disk Drive) to read or write DVDs and CDs is normally done sporadically compared to the use of an external disk, I think this is a better solution because the laptop will have internally both disks installed (SSD + HDD) and the DVD drive would be used as an external drive with a SATA to USB adapter.

This post is a howto or tutorial applied to a Dell Inspiron 5559, but although each laptop has its particularities, I would like this post to be used as a general guide. Ensure you find your laptop specifications, intructions to extract the disk, and then you just have to find and buy the right material, clone the current disc and exchange it with the new SSD by following these steps:

Have separate system data and other files (optional)

Even when you are not planning to use an SSD drive, i always try to use different disks (or partitions in the same disk): one for SYSTEM (Operating System and programs) and another for DATA (multimedia files, documents, etc…).

Separated partitions for OS and DATA

If I want to format and reinstall my OS, i can be pretty sure that my data files will not be erased.
Related to upgrading to SSD, large size SSDs are too really expensive. So, given that most of the performance is gained when booting the OS and the programs, the idea is using the SSD as SYSTEM disk and the HDD for DATA files.

Buy the SSD Disk

Most notebooks have 2.5 “inch discs. If your case is an ultra-thin notebook, it may be 1.8 ”.
The thicknesses can also vary and be 7mm or 9.5mm. Anyway, normally 7mm can be used in 9.5mm slot.

The main thing is to make sure in the specifications of your laptop.
In the case of my Dell Inspiron 5559:

Interface     SATA 6 Gbps 
Hard drive    One 2.5‑inch drive (supports Intel Smart Response Technology)
Optical drive One 9.5 mm DVD +/‑ RW drive

Therefore, a 2.5 ” inch SSD would fix in my Dell. Depending on the disk or partition we are going to clone, select an SSD disk size enough to contain all that data. Even though with one of 120 GB it was enough for me, I decided to buy this 250 GB model that had a good price:

SSD diskAvailable on Amazon

Buy HDD caddy for DVD bay

We need this adapter that allows accesing a SATA disk via USB for two main reasons:
– During the migration, to allow cloning from the actual HDD drive to the SSD drive (the SSD will be in the ODD bay during the cloning process).
– After the cloning and installation of the SSD, to install the HDD drive in DVD drive bay

Another option was replacing the HDD by the SSD and leave the DVD in the laptop.
This is covered in a previous post: HW – Upgrade laptop with an SSD drive

It is very important to ensure the size of the ODD: 9.5 or 12.7 mm.
The adapter is different for each size. For Dell Inspiron 5559 is 9.5mm:

Interface SATA 6 Gbps
Hard drive One 2.5‑inch drive (supports Intel Smart Response Technology)
Optical drive One 9.5 mm DVD +/‑ RW drive

Buy Caddy 9.5 (Dell Inspiron 5559, etc…)
Available on Amazon

Buy Caddy 12.7
Available on Amazon

Buy External DVD adapter (optional)

The SATA to USB adapter for DVD allows us to use externally the internal optical drive that came with the laptop. Simple and useful. If you dont want to use the DVD anymore, or you prefer to sell it, it is not neccesary to buy this adapter.

External portable ODD caddy

Buy SATA to USB ODD Adapter 9.5 (Dell Inspiron 5559, etc…)
Available on Amazon

Buy SATA to USB ODD Adapter 12.7
Available on Amazon

Clone disk

Insert SSD in the HDD caddy

First of all, loosen the screws to allow placing the SSD inside the caddy

Insert the SSD and push it forward to connect it in the SATA connector

Extract ODD (Optical Disk Drive)

Place your laptop upside down, slide latch to the left to unlock and remove batteryDell Inspiron 5559 extracting battery extracted

Remove both marked in red screws and push the DVD drive by using the screwdriver
Dell Inspiron 5559 - Extracting DVD

Extract the DVD drive completely
Dell Inspiron 5559 - Extracting DVD Dell Inspiron 5559 - Extracting DVD

Remove the front panel
Dell Inspiron 5559 - Remove DVD front panel

Remove the metalic piece
Dell Inspiron 5559 - Remove DVD back metal piece

Dell Inspiron 5559 - DVD back metal piece

Insert caddy

Adjust the removed metalic piece in the caddy

And insert the caddy with the SSD in the DVD bay (follow the previous section steps backwards).

Initialize SSD disk

If its a newly bought disk you have to initilize it (otherwise, the cloning software would not show the SSD as a target disk):

  1. Run diskmgmt
  2. The Disk Management Tool will show a popup like the one showed in the image below. Select the same partition style (MBR or GPT) than your current disk (mine was GPT).

Initialize SSD disk

Clone system partitions from HDD to SSD

There are multiple options to clone the disk, but I used Ease Us Todo Backup Free
Download EaseUS Backup Software

After installing it, select the “System Clone” option
Launch Ease US Backup software "Clone" option

The software will select automatically the source partitions. Now, you must the destination disk. Select the recently initialiazed SSD drive as target and press “Next”
EaseUS Backup software - Select the SSD as destination clone disk

Depending on the source partitions sizes the time can vary. Wait until it finishes and press “Finish”:
EaseUS Backup software - Cloning of system partitions to SSD finished

Once cloned you can power off your laptop to proceed to swap the SSD with the HDD

Install SSD primary and HDD secondary

Extract the SSD from the caddy

Like performed in this previous step, extract the caddy from the DVD bay and then extract the SSD from the caddy.

Swap HDD with the SSD

Once again, remove battery. Slide latch to the left to unlock and remove battery:
Dell Inspiron 5559 extracting battery extracted

Remove both marked screws and then you can open the panelLaptop upside down

Opening laptop

Unplug hard drive bus, remove all 4 screws to lift out the HDD from the laptop
Laptop HDD disk connection

Remove another 4 screws to remove the hard drive from the caddy
Laptop HDD extracted

Remove the SATA connector
SATA plug disconnected

Now you can revert the procedure to install the SSD in the laptop…
Place the SSD in the caddy and fix it by adding the screws

Insert it in the laptop and fix it with another 4 screws
Sata HDD connected to Dell Inspiron 5559

Dont forget to connect the SATA bus again
Sata HDD connector

Replace ODD with HDD

Now, the same procedure explained previously here can used to connect the SSD in the DVD bay can be applied for the HDD.

Boot up and ensure disks are detected

The moment of truth has now arrived. Power on your laptop and wait for windows to boot up. You should see it boots up much more faster and that you have all your settings and software like before migrating to the new disk…

Check both disks are detected:
Status of the partitions after swapping disks

Optimize SSD disk partition

For better performance, run “defrag”, the tool to defragment and optimize drives. The Solid State drive should have been recognized. Select it and press “Optimize”
Optimizing SSD disk

DVD as external device (optional)

Now the laptop is working with both disks, its time to use the adapter to allow using the internal optical disk drive with a USB connection.

Insert the DVD in the adapter.
Ensure you insert it correctly to make fit the SATA connectors.
Inserting the internal drive to the external portable ODD caddy

Add the front panel
Applying the front panel to the drive Applied the front panel to the drive

Use the USB cable to connect it to the laptop and test it works correctly!
Connected the external odd portable drive with the USB cable to the laptop

7 thoughts on “HW – Install SSD in laptop and replace DVD

  1. Great tutorial! I’m considering doing this however my ODD slot is SATA II and my HDD slot is SATA III (Dell Inspiron 3542). I know that the HDD will just have a lower data transfer rate in that slot. What I’m wondering is whether or not that performance decrease would make this modification not worth the trouble.
    Also, I noticed at the end of the tutorial there is still an operating system partition on the HDD, OS (E:). Would/did you just delete that partition to reclaim it for data space being that the idea was to use the SSD as a SYSTEM disk and the HDD as a DATA disk?

    • Hi Joshua!
      Probably you, as user, would not notice difference.
      Maybe benchmarking tests would but that tests are created to reach limits.
      But I dont think you would stress your hard drive that way.

      For the second question… mmm, yes. The “OS (E:)” may lead to confusion. Thats the original system partition (HDD) that has been cloned to the C: drive (SSD).
      In that moment it still was not deleted.

  2. Can I do this process in my Dell Inspiron 3542 laptop ?

    Interface :
    SATA 6 Gbps for hard drive – One 2.5-in drive
    SATA 3 Gbps for optical drive – One 9.5 mmDVD+/-RW drive.

    Please reply ?

  3. Better use ‘clone’ instead of ‘system clone’, if you are interested in getting the whole hdd cloned, otherwise with ‘system clone’ it’d only clone the system – Windows. With ‘clone’, it’d even clone other distros. Also, best to tick ‘sector by sector clone’ in advanced mode.

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