Jun 30, 2012

Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Tablet - Upgrade To Solid State Drive (to 256GB SSD)

Gear: Samsung 830 Series SSD., Sata to USB Adapter., Acronis Easy Migrate 7.0, X230T Accessories.

I really enjoy my new system with a speedy SSD. There are a few advantages to an SSD, which are: dealing with system shock, faster read/write times, and maybe a few power advantages (ie battery can last a bit longer). Of course to upgrade to an SSD you need to be aware of the methods, the equipment, and the steps.


I went the cloning method because I had already installed programs. The clean/fresh install is an even better method because it gets rid of some of the useless software.

The Equipment
You need to get an SSD, an adapter, and the software.

This is a 2.5 inch SATA drive and the thickness is 7mm. The thickness is very important to know because the majority of SSDs are 9mm thick. The 9mm thick SSDs do not fit in the X230T. You have to ensure that you get a 7mm thick drive. I got a Samsung 830 Series 256GB SSD.

The adapter we are looking for is a "Sata to USB adapter". This will be used to connect the SSD to the X230T.

The internet is filled with crap software, and tons of possibilities of software that may or may not work. What I used, and recommend, is Acronis Easy Migrate 7.0 I used the Demo version and it cloned my drive, so that was pretty sweet.

Cloning Steps
  • Turn on your X230T.
  • Download and Install Acronis Easy Migrate.
  • Connect the SSD to the adapter.
  • Connect  the adapter to a USB port in the X230T.
    • You may want to use one of the USB 3.0 ports (the power port can have issues).
  • Run the Acronis Easy Migrate software.
    • Click on the "Disk Clone" option and follow the wizard.
    • Ensure that you have the AC adapter plugged in.
  • The disk cloning process may take a few hours.
  • Once the disk cloning is completed, disconnect the adapter and SSD.
  • Turn off the X230T.
  • Ensure there is no power in the system.
    • Unplug the battery and press the power button.
  • Remove the X230T drive cover.
  • Take out the HDD and remove it from it's enclosure.
  • Add the enclosure to the SSD.
  • Place the SSD inside the X230T.
  • Test the system.
    • Plug in the battery.
    • Turn on the system.
    • If Windows boots up, the cloning was successful.
  • If the cloning was successful, secure the cover.
  • Cloning complete.

The remove HDD has a recovery partition, so you need to save this.  One important thing to note about the Acronis software is that it may fail to do a proper recovery partition, so that's why you need to save that HDD.

The SSD has an effect on the Windows Experience Index (WEI). Here are the results:
  • HDD: 5.9
  • SSD: 7.9

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what will occur if you upgrade to an SSD. Enjoy!

Make sure to run the Magician software to optimize the SSD.

WEI Scores

7200 RPM


Samsung 830 Series SSD - Images

Original Hard Disk Drive Info

7200 RPM Seagate 320GB Momentus Thin ST320LT007



  1. does the 512 gb ssd option listed on amazon really exist?
    is it as fast as the 256 gb 1?
    does it fit?
    will it work?
    also what specific sata to usb adapter do you recommend?
    dont wanna risk data corruption

    1. Amazon would not sell something that doesn't exist, therefore it exists. The 512 GB version probably gives the same speeds as the 256 GB model. It works and fits. All "SATA to USB adapters" are the same. The only corruption that can occur will be due to the software that you use for the cloning process.

    2. Jesse - what sort of boot times are you looking at with the SSD? I'm deciding whether to go with the pure SSD or an mSATA SSD (128gb) in the expresscard slot plus the default 320 gb 7200 rpm HD in the HD slot (about $90 as compared to $200 for the 256 gb SSD). This post inspired the decision:


    3. The video shows the system booting up from 5:34 to about 6:05, which means about 31 seconds ( at most about 35 until the pointer becomes the arrow instead of the load circle).

      The mSATA thing is definitely interesting because now you can have more storage in the hard drive. For video editors this is great stuff because you have the speedy SSD for the manipulation and rendering of videos, and then you have the storage space. Usually I save files to an external hard drive, but having a backup inside the X230T would be very neat.

  2. Jesse, first of all I would like to thank you for all your amazing videos revolving the lenovo convertible tablets! I recently purchased the exact same SSD and I was in the process of cloning my HDD, after Acronis asks to reboot system and windows goes into bios I get a 100% percent partition completed, but then an ERROR saying there is no disk. Please help! Thank you again.

    1. I'm not sure how to fix this, but I'm sure Acronis does. Visit http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/migrateeasy/ and check the User Guide, Knowledge Base, and if you need to click on Support.

  3. Hi. I followed your instruction video with my new Samsung 830 SSD. The disc clone took about 15-20 hours, and after that I put the SSD in the machine. I cannot use Microsoft Office now, theres an error when I try to make a full factory recovery when I boot the system. Can you tell me what could be wrong?

    1. Cola, it shouldn't take 15-20 hours for that process to complete. If anything that time would be an indicator of possible errors.

      Microsoft Office could have some security features, therefore you may need to uninstall the existing version, and then reinstall it.

      I'm not 100% sure about the full factory recovery as I have not done that myself. Sometimes those factory recoveries do not install everything that you saw on your X230T, sometimes there are missing drivers and programs.

  4. Jesse, Lenovo claims that you can't retrofit the backlit keyboard to a non-backlit model. I can't imagine that there is a hardware difference in the motherboard, but probably something like firmware. Is yours the backlit model, and have you looked at the motherboard?

    1. I have not taken a look at the motherboard, nor do I intend to. I would not want to jeopardize anything.

  5. Hi Jesse,

    I tried to use Acronis migrate easy with my SSD connected to X230 laptop. However, the software only list the new SSD as the source hdd, and both SSD and HDD as the destination HDD. Have you had this problem before? I formatted my SSD to NTFS. The operation system is windows 8.


    1. I did not have a problem, but I was using Windows 7 instead of Windows 8. I'm not sure if Acronis software is compatible with Win 8 yet.

    2. Is there any other cloning software you would recommend?

    3. Not really. Acronis has always worked well for me. You could try that Norton Ghost software.

  6. Hi Jesse,

    I was wondering if it was possible to keep my Thinkpad Recovery partition when I clone to an SSD drive. I would like to have the option of rebooting my system from my SSD whenever I want. Is there any way to do this?

    1. It's possible with the Acronis and Norton Ghost software.

  7. Sorry I was talking about the Full Factory Recovery Option above ^

  8. Hi Jesse,

    I want to purchase a X203T with 500 GB HDD and want to install dual boot(Fedora 17 and Win7). Latter on after few months i want to replace the HDD with the SSD. If I follow the same instruction what you have mentioned here will it work. I mean will i get the dual boot in the SSD also?

    1. If the cloning produces an exact copy, then yes it should dual boot.

  9. In your Video you use the right hand usb-port. I have the exact same machine and this USB-port is a 2.0-Port, that did not work using your workflow. When I used the USB 3.0-Port on the lefthand side everything worked fine. Otherwise thanks for the brilliant tutorial.

    1. Yes, sometimes the bios is very picky about USB ports. Thanks for the comment!

  10. These same steps should for a regular X230 (no T) as well, right?

    1. also the 840 series should be fine?

    2. It should be the same steps and yes the Samsung 840 series is fine.

    3. I'm having some trouble now, how were you able to clone the hard drive straight with Aconis and make it bootable on the new SSD? I've cloned it and the data is there but it won't boot.

    4. If the cloning is exact then there shouldn't be any problems booting up. You could try other cloning software.

  11. Any 7mm HDD would fit the x230t?
    I'm thinking I'll have add a 128GB mSata to my x230t along with taking out the 320GB HDD and replace it with a 1TB.
    Like this?: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/A95193-Western-Digital-WD-Blu-WD10SPCX-1TB-2-5-SATA-6Gb-s-7mm-Slim-Internal-Ha-/261261723365?pt=US_Internal_Hard_Disk_Drives&hash=item3cd46986e5&_uhb=1

    I do 2D animation on my x230t so I need the space, plus quicker boot times and program start-ups via the mSata would be great.

    Thanks heaps for all these useful reviews btw.

    1. Do you happen to know what mSata drives would work?
      I'm thinking of a 128GB model.

    2. You could look for Lenovo documentation on which one they recommend, but I think any mSata drive should work.

  12. Jesse, thank you so much for the nifty instructional video and for the tutorial on your blog.
    Moving on, I recently purchased a Samsung SSD 840 Pro to upgrade my Lenovo ThinkPad X230.

    On the net, people mention that Samsung's cloning software, Samsung Data Migration, that comes with the SSD, fails at cloning properly. I went ahead and tried it before attempting to use Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0. Lo and behold. Cloning was 100% successful. Samsung states the following in their SSD manual:

    - "If the amount of data stored on the source disk exceeds the capacity of the target disk, cloning will not proceed. The source disk (e.g. “C:” drive) must consist of at least 20% free space. If more than 80% of the source disk is filled with data, the cloning process cannot proceed normally. Secondary partitions require at least 5 GB of free space.

    - On systems with three (3) drives or more (e.g. “C:”, “D:”, and “E:” drives) with the operating system installed on the “C:” drive, only the first two consecutive drives will be cloned (“C:” and “D:” drives). The “System” partition that is created during Windows installation is automatically replicated.

    - OEM recovery partitions, generated at the factory by computer manufacturers, cannot be replicated.

    - The software does not copy the files Windows automatically generates to manage virtual memory (page file, hibernation file, etc.).

    - This software cannot clone encrypted disks. In order to clone an encrypted disk, you must first remove the password from the disk.

    - If you have instant PC recovery software installed on your system, this software may not function properly."

    I like to believe that the reason I had a successful clone was because I only had the "C:" drive. Moreover, just before starting the cloning process, the software warned me that any open files/programs won't be cloned. So I closed everything, in addition to quitting the task tray programs with the exclusion of the antivirus.

    I hope this comes in handy for future readers.

    Thank you once again have a great day/night!