Upgrading the SSD in an EEE PC 900 running XP

Computers & Mobile
Upgrading the SSD in an EEE PC 900 running XP

Upgrading the EEE PC SSD

A while back, JKKMobile reported on some new upgrades from MyDigitalDiscount: replacement SSDs (solid state drives) for a number of netbooks, including the ASUS EEE PC 900. As you can see in the comments on that post, a number of EEE PC 900 users had compatibility problems with this upgrade; the first couple of versions shipped by MyDigitalDiscount simply didn’t work with the Celeron EEE PCs (including mine). A couple RMAs later, I was in possession of the latest and greatest SATA variant of the drive, and I’m happy to report that it’s not only working, but it’s really fast!

Initially, I decided to keep my configuration as-is, so I wanted to clone my original drive onto the new SSD. This was pretty simple because the upgrade replaces the slower 16GB secondary (D:) drive in my EEE PC. So all I had to do was copy the files to the new drive, swap the drives, and reboot. At least that’s what I had to do in theory. I had made my life a little harder by not only installing some apps on the D: drive, but by moving my shell folders to D: as well.

So, if you’re like me, and you have some important junk on that D: drive before you upgrade, try these steps:

  • Boot into Safe Mode (hold F8 as Windows XP starts up).
  • Log in as an admin user.
  • Plug your new SSD drive into your EEE PC using the supplied USB cable; wait for Windows to detect and install the drive. Format it as NTFS.
  • Open a Command Prompt and copy the files from the internal drive to the new SSD. For example: xcopy /s D: E: (replace D: with the drive letter of your 16GB SSD and E: with the drive letter of the new runcore SSD). This could take a while.
  • Shut down when it’s done.

Now the drive should be cloned, and you can install the new SSD:

  • Install the new SSD (make sure you unplug your EEE PC and remove the battery)
  • Boot into BIOS by pressing F2 as the system boots. Go into Advanced: IDE/SATA Configuration and set SATA Master to [Auto]. Go into Boot: Hard Disk Drives, and set the RunCore drive as the 2nd Drive. Save the BIOS changes and reboot.
  • Boot Windows into safe mode again.
  • Go into Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Storage, Disk Management and change the drive letter from E: (or whatever it is) to D: (or whatever the old drive was)
  • Reboot and all should work as it did originally, just a lot faster!

So how much faster was it? I ran PassMark Performance Test on the D: drive before and after, and came up with these results:

Benchmark Original 16GB SSD New 32GB SSD
Sequential Read 19.3 MBytes/s 64.1 MBytes/s
Sequential Write 5.8 MBytes/s 42.1 MBytes/s
Sequential Random Seek + RW 0.1 MBytes/s 12.0 MBytes/s
Disk Mark 18.3 427.6

Runcore and MyDigitalSSD team up: High Speed SSD for $69

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I'm a tinkerer and finally reached the point where I fix more things than I break. When I'm not tinkering, I'm probably editing a book for Maker Media.

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