Updating computer memory

Historically, most computers have used spinning hard disk drives for permanent data storage.

Conceptually, hard drives work a bit like old-fashioned record players. A part called the actuator moves a tiny arm that floats a miniscule distance above the surface of the disk platters.

Besides SATA-based hard drive replacements, some later model PCs can be upgraded with M.2 SSDs, which look more like RAM chips than hard drives.

Some Apple laptops made before 2016 that already shipped with SSDs can be upgraded with larger ones.

SSD upgrades are such a common aftermarket improvement most independent computer repair and service specialists are willing to take on the task if you’re willing to pay them.

For more about the difference between hard disk drives and SSDs, check out Hard Disk Drive vs. Without any moving parts, SSDs operate more quietly, more efficiently and with fewer parts to break than old-fashioned spinning hard drives.

You may need to use a 2.5 inch-to-3.5 inch mounting adapter. The videos I pointed you to in the previous section go into some detail there.

Cloning software makes a bit-for-bit copy of your internal hard drive’s data.

If you are DIY inclined You Tube has tons of walkthroughs like this one for desktop PCs, this one for laptops, and this one aimed at Mac users. Those are the same drives you find in laptop computers and even small desktop models.

Have a desktop computer that uses a 3.5-inch hard drive? To that end, you need two things: Cloning software and an external drive case or drive “sled” or enclosure, which lets you connect the SSD to your computer through its USB port or another data transfer interface.

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