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Summary:

Owners of ultra-portable devices are often willing to push the envelope a bit when it comes to upgrading the hardware components to get more power/ performance/ speed/ storage space.  It was no surprise to me when Kevin gutted his Samsung Q1 to bring the memory up […]

Owners of ultra-portable devices are often willing to push the envelope a bit when it comes to upgrading the hardware components to get more power/ performance/ speed/ storage space.  It was no surprise to me when Kevin gutted his Samsung Q1 to bring the memory up to 1 GB and it didn’t surprise me when a long-time reader of jkOnTheRun contacted me to let me know he had upgraded the hard drive in his Sony UX50 to 60 GB.

Fernando Miralles has probably owned every ultra-portable device that has ever been produced and his latest productivity tool (toy) is the Sony UX50.  Fernando is a power user so the 30 GB hard drive the Sony ships with was just not enough so he quickly decided to upgrade to a 60 GB drive and he has been kind enough to share the instructions for changing the stock drive for a double capacity drive.  After the jump you will find the guest article by Fernando (thanks for sharing!).  Full specs on the Toshiba MK6008GAH drive that Fernando put into the Sony UX can be found here.  NOTE– any upgrade like the one described here should only be undertaken at your own risk and if you know what you are doing, like Fernando!

Sony Vaio UX50 60 GB HDD Upgrade
By: Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

I wrote this simple and brief set of instructions to upgrade the Sony VAIO UX50’s hard drive from 30 GB to 60 GB. It is a pretty simple operation (believe me, I am not an expert), and the end result is a whole lot of more storage capacity. The only tool you will need is a Phillips screwdriver (small) that is suitable to the screws in the UX50. I found a screwdriver in my laptop tool set that was good for both the inside screws (which are a bit smaller) and the outside ones.

Step 1: Starting from the outside
Well, of course, this will be the toughest step of all, because it is when you decide to open this baby up. There are four visible screws in the back of the UX50 (Figure 1).  These are very easy to get out.

Fernando Figure 1

There are two more screws that are “hidden”. The first (long silver screw) hides inside the battery compartment, so take out the battery and you will see it. The other hidden screws (short screw) lies below the stylus. To get to this one, you will need to remove the small cap that guards the stylus compartment. See Figure 2 for the location of both of these hidden screws. The screws themselves are shown in Figure 3. 

Fernando figure 2

Fernando Figure 3

After these six screws have been removed, the back cover of the UX will loosen up and un-attach fairly easily. Now you have the insides of the UX exposed (see Figure 4). 

Fernando Figure 4

Step 2: Removing the bezel that houses the hard drive
You will notice that the hard drive is housed and covered by a bezel that has five small silver screws holding it in place. You will need to get out these five screws to get to the hard drive. Once you do this, the bezel can be set loose and you will be able to physically access the hard drive. You may find it more comfortable to unlatch a gray cable (see Figure 5) that is somewhat in the way if you want to access the hard drive. Not a big deal, as the little cable snaps right back in place. 

Fernando Figure 5

Step 3: Removing the hard drive
Once the five bezel screws are removed, you can raise the bezel (for example, with your finger as shown in Figure 6). From here, you can un-latch the hard drive by gently rotating the black latch that sets the hard drive loose. To get the hard drive out, you will also need to remove a black piece of tape that holds an orange electronics strip over the hard drive. Voila, the hard drive is out (see Figure 7). 

Fernando Figure 6

Fernando Figure 7

Step 4: Replacing the hard drive
Well, from here on it is pretty much in reverse. You will need to insert your new hard drive (see Figure 8), snap it on, secure it in place by rotating the black latch to its “locked” position, lower the bezel and put back the five little screws in place, snap the gray cable back in case you had removed it, put back the back cover and get those six infamous screws back in place. You are done now !!!

Fernando Figure 8

A couple of other (common sense) pieces of advice:

  • Because you will need to reinstall all the drivers, I suggest you back up your old hard drive before you initiate this process; you will need them to get your upgraded computer up and running again !!!
  • You will need to install the OS from scratch. There are several guides online on how to do this. This one, http://www.micropctalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35, for example, will get you through.

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  2. Can we get step by step instructions on how to reinstall all of the drivers? ty :)

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  3. Any issue with the size of the HDD? I thought the MK6008GAH was 3mm thicker.

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  4. I’m hoping with Vista coming out, Sony will do this themselves on next years version of this model.

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  5. Hello all, let me try to respond to comments.

    JuzMe: There is a set of instructions to install the OS from scratch plus all the drivers. This was posted by Sony themselves (well, that is progress !!!) at the site:
    http://esupport.sony.com/perl/swu-list.pl?mdl=VGNUX180P&UpdateType=

    All the drivers are there for download as well.

    This is not a flawless operation. I am still having a bit of an issue with the Sony not wanting to go into stand by, but I am confident this will be fixed soon. The larger HD is well worth it.

    Jim: even though the 60 GB HD is thicker, it fits quite well in the UX. There are no gaps and no pressure issues inside the machine. I found there is plenty of space in there !!!

    Which begs the question that Scoobie poses: why didn’t Sony offer this to begin with? Perhaps they could have offered a high end version with the larger HD. Not sure who dropped the ball there…

    In any case, for less than $200 (that is what the drive costs from a few online outlets), the higher capacity is definitely worth it in my mind.

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  6. We should point out that those drivers ae for the US version (180) so there might be other drivers for other UX models.

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  7. On a sidenote, I got a job at the local SonyStyle store and there are 10 UX180P’s coming into the store within the next day or two, so I’m definitely going to pick up one (the employee discounts are well worth it, too!)

    I assume it voids the warranty, but I’ll consider the upgrade if it becomes a flawless procedure.

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  8. I’m very tempted to do this once my UX180 arrives. I already have a 60gb ipod video so I could just swap the drives. Anyboy ever tried putting a 30gb drive back in to a 60gb ipod?

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  9. Hey, Scott, as probably the only person on this planet who hasn’t ever owned an iPod before, I like this idea. I could finally buy an iPod and switch the drives, and that way I wouldn’t end up with one drive lying around being useless.

    Can this be done and how?

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  10. JK/Fernando or anyone, could someone please help me with another question? I see that conics.net is selling the Japanese version of the UX with a Flash Memory Drive option.

    I really don’t know what flash memory is and this conics.net site seems to imply that the 16 megs of flash memory *replaces* the 30 meg hard drive.

    Is this true? if so, what advantage is that? isn’t 16 megs of flash memory drive half the storage space of a 30 meg hard drive? What are the pros and cons of this FMD model? and does anyone other than conics.net offer it? because they’r located in Japan and I just called them at 11:35 am Japan local time and all I got was a voice mail in Japanese. Doesn’t sound like the kind of place that I’d feel comfortable ordering from due to likely communication problems.

    ?

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