In the last post I started refurbishing a DELL XPS 15 L502X by improving it’s thermals (here).
In this post we will look at:
- Replacing the Hard Drive with an SSD
- Replacing and increasing the RAM
- Doing a clean install of Windows 10
In my opinion the easiest way to find a replacement SSD and RAM is to use the Crucial System Scanner which is run by Crucial who are a reputable maker of SSDs and RAM.
When you run the scanner on the laptop that you are refurbishing they will recommend RAM and SSDs for the PC.
I went with a 250GB SSD and two 8GB sticks of RAM. If you are buying RAM it’s best to split it over two sticks rather than one to improve performance for example if you want 16GB of RAM buy two 8GB sticks or if you want 8GB of RAM buy two 4GB sticks.
If you are also refurbishing a Dell XPS 15 L502X here is the link for the compatible parts: http://eu.crucial.com/eur/en/compatible-upgrade-for/Dell/xps-l502x.
Guides to replace RAM and Hard Drives can be found on iFixit.com.
RAM is usually the easiest thing in a laptop to replace, in this laptop the RAM is under an easy to remove hatch under the laptop.
Replacing the Hard Drive is usually a bit more difficult.
If you want to keep all the files and operating system that is on the Hard Drive you will have to clone the drive to the SSD first (guides for this can be found online). But because I am doing a clean install I can just replace the hard drive.
The hard drive in this laptop was under the palm rest.
Remove the hard drive from it’s caddy and replace it with the SSD.
Install the new SSD.
Using the Windows 10 media creation tool prepare an 8GB USB to install Windows 10.
If your Windows 10 PC is slow and it was originally running an older version of Windows that was “upgraded” to Windows 10 then I would recommend doing a clean install of Windows 10 as a clean install performs much better than an upgrade.
Turn on the laptop with the USB in and boot into the USB this will install Windows 10 when it asks for a product key, click I don’t have a product key as you are reinstalling Windows, Microsoft will authenticate your copy of Windows 10 when it is fully installed from your PC’s Hardware ID.
The reinstall of Windows helped to drop the temperature even further.
The new SSD and RAM have increased the performance and boot speed of the laptop too.
That’s how I went about refurbishing a 6 year old laptop, hopefully it will last another few years now.
I hope this guide will be useful for anyone with an Dell XPS 15, but even if you don’t it will hopefully give you an idea about how to go about refurbishing a laptop. Priorities for refurbishing a laptop in order of importance are SSD, reinstall Windows, RAM then thermals. Do how ever much your budget allows. The reason that thermals were important for this refurbishment was because the keyboard was uncomfortable to touch during use before I started but now it runs fine. I was also concerned that the heat was drastically reducing the life of the laptop.
As always if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask,