I often show website examples and demos to clients using an iPad, or with a projector if they have room. However, I’ve always thought that a larger touchscreen laptop would be better for showing content to one or two people. Enter this great Woot.com deal for the HP Envy 17.3-inch TouchSmart laptop.
While my HP Envy wasn’t without issues (I had to contact support for a replacement battery and AC charger), it has performed just as I had hoped and works well for showing designs and examples to my clients.
With one of the fastest mobile processors available at the time (Intel Core i7-4700MQ), 8GB of RAM, and a 17.3-inch touchscreen, the HP ENVY TouchSmart M7-J010DX was quite an upgrade over my old laptop. However, I wanted to install an SSD for extended battery life and an even faster boot-up and overall experience.
Unfortunately, it’s not exactly a straightforward process. This guide will show you how to install Windows 8 (actually Windows 8.1) on a new SSD for the HP Envy M7-J010DX, and presumably other HP Envy models.
Setup the Original Drive
I suggest that you first set up the computer the way you want it with the original hard drive. This means to run all Windows updates and even update to Windows 8.1.
Delete all unnecessary programs and applications, update the apps you are keeping, and make sure that you have updated all of the hardware drivers.
There is a BIOS update available for the M7-J010DX also; I suggest that you download and run that update as well.
Click here for HP’s support page with updated drivers and BIOS. Note that there may be different versions for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
Create Rescue Discs
I also suggest that you take the time to create rescue discs before you upgrade the hard drive. The rescue disc utility is on a partition on the hard drive and can be accessed through the Windows menu.
Download the Appropriate Windows 8 Image
Windows 8 now has the license key built into the BIOS on consumer computers and laptops. Because of this, you won’t be able to just install Windows from an upgrade CD. However, if you find the right image online, you should be able to install a clean version of Windows 8 with no problem. The .iso image that works the best is 915440.iso. You should be able to find a download of this if you put the following into a Google search:
Once you download that image, burn it to a DVD and prepare to install your SSD. Note: I could not successfully burn the DVD with the included Cyberlink DVD burning software; instead I burned the .iso on another Windows 8 computer using the built-in disc image creator (right-click on an .iso and select ‘Burn Image”).
Remove the Original Hard Drive
- Unplug the laptop from AC power
- Remove the battery using the battery latch mechanism
- Remove the one screw that holds the back cover on
- Gently pry up and remove the back cover; there are tabs that will release
- This will now give you access to the two hard drive bays, memory, and wireless card
- Carefully remove the hard drive (in the blue silicone anti-vibration casing) by prying it up; unplug the SATA power and data cables.
- Place the original hard drive in a safe location where it won’t get damaged or exposed to strong magnets
Install the New SSD
- Plug the SATA data and power cable into the SSD
- Insert the new drive into the hard drive bay
- Note that the height of an SSD is shorter; if your SSD came with a spacer, use that so it doesn’t bounce around
- Re-install the back cover and the retaining screw
- Re-install the battery
- Plug in the AC power adapter
Install Windows 8
- Put your Windows 8 DVD into the optical drive tray
- Boot from he DVD
- Follow the instructions to install Windows 8
- You should not be asked for a license key; it is built into the BIOS
- Run Windows Update and install all necessary updates
- Install Windows 8.1
- Note that you won’t be able to install Windows 8.1 until you have applied all of the required updates for Windows 8
Re-Install Your Hard Drive
If you want the extra storage that comes with the 1TB HDD, re-install that in the open drive bay. Make sure you set your BIOS to boot from your SSD, and not the original HDD. Once you’re satisfied that you’re new installation works well, you can format the 1TB HDD and use that for storage.