Guest article- How to put a 60 GB hard drive into the Sony UX50!


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,, for example, will get you through.



Thank you for this excellent article on how to upgrade the UX180’s Harddrive. This was something I was considering.

Since battery life/performace is important to me, I would rather have more flash drive than more harddrive therfore:

Is it possible to upgrade the 16GB flash drive that they are coming out with or are they soldered on? Are flash drives something that I can buy online ? If so, from where and what capacity. I tried looking online but couldn’t find anything, then again, I’m not sure exactly what I am looking for. I

Thank you and I look forward to reading your valuable advice.


okay now that weve upgraded sonys built in hard drive now can someone please upgrade the hdd in the Q1!!.

i really need to know if i can upgrade the hdd in the q1 because if i can’t then i’ll just get an eo but i want to get a q1. you feel me?




I don’t know of a guide specifically for the 5G ipods but you may have better look lucking for a battery replacement guide since that seems to be the more common swap. Honestly the only difficult part is opening the case. It can be difficult to start the split but just take your time and go carefully. Once it’s open the hd is very easy to remove.


Scott — Can you provide any info or links on how to take apart the 5G iPod Video? I want to do the same swap but the iPod looks like it might be challenging to take apart. I couldn’t find anything specific to the 5G iPods at

By the way, I highly recommend making the recovery disks so you can do a complete restore. The available drivers at the Sony USA site do not include several Sony utility packages (settings utility, special keys utility, zoom utility, maybe more). Without the settings utility, I don’t know if it is possible to change the display brightness.


Now, the $99 DDRW3 is not available on sonystyle, I just buy a DDRW4 for $360, so so so expensive, but I just wanna try to change my 60GB drive ASAP, it’s so fantastic~~~~~


I completed this upgrade tonight on my new UX180. Pulled the 60gb drive out of my video ipod and installed to the UX. I’ll eventually put the 30gb back in the ipod but haven’t yet. Very easy swap. The 180 does have an extra wire attaced to the GSM antenna but if you can reach inside and remove the tape the wire can stay attached. Otherwise it’s exactly as detailed above. I even booted from my recovery DVD’s and restored the entire system without a problem. You can even recreate the recovery partition if you want but I didn’t. Probably about 15 minutes to install the drive (after it’s out of the ipod) and another 45 for the (slow!) recovery dvd’s to run but definitely worth the time spent! BTW I have the $99 drive from SonyStyle, the DDRW3.

Big thanks to Fernando for posting this. I wouldn’t have even thought I already owned a 60gb upgrade to my UX!


Has anyone upgraded the RAM yet? is it a standard DDR2 dimm? or is it soldered?

Augustin VU

To Kenji: You can make a ghost image of your old disk and ghost it to your new 60gb disk – Try TrueImage, it’s very good to dupplicate disk2disk

For use en USB CD External, not all most will work (bootable) with UX50 – I tried with an ICE BOX + DVD Writer Plexor 750, it found the external USB but dont boot, but with my mutibay HP DVD RW, it can boot without any problem…


Yes, pretty much. Make sure the “boot from external USB drive” is enabled in your BIOS. I am pretty sure that is the default option, so you may not need to do anything else. Good luck !!!


Thanks so much. So want I need is a usb CD-drive to install winXP?


Kenji: depending on who you bought your UX from, you may get a recovery disk, and then the answer to your question is easy. My vendor (Dynamism) has not provided the recovery disks yet, but they are in the process of sending them out. If you have the Windows install disks (like I do), then you use those as well. Make sure you back up all the drivers which should be either in the recovery disk, or saved in the hard drive itself.


My UX50(J) is on the way, I also ordered one MK6008GAH. I have a question about if I change the new 60GB hard drive, how could Iî—¥re-install the XP to the empty hard drive?


so has anyone added a bigger hard drive to the Q1???.

also are there larger capacity hard drives for the UX. maybe 160gb??

Augustin VU

For JuzMe

You need disable (uncheck the checkbox) the option Power Management > “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” for all “USB Root Hub” in Device Manager / Universal Serial Bus controllers.

I’ll try to update a M$ KB patch for USB and power management problem, hope it’ill fix this problem


Fernando, what was the fix for the “not going into standby” problem? is there a link? That’s the only piece to the puzzle that I don’t have. I’ve been following this closely here and on the other forum.



Oh, I almost forgot. The issue with the UX not wanting to go into stand by has been fixed (thanks to the Micro PC Talk forum folks), so it is a flawless install. For anyone interested in taking the plunge !!!


Hello Scott and JuzMe:

The iPod hard drive swap is definitely do-able, but pretty tricky. It can be done, but you need to be careful. I would search online for a guide to do the replacement before cracking up one of those babies.

This link provides a guide, but this is for iPod photo (4th generation), although it will provide you with a good idea of what is involved.

Raphael has been around for years, and I almost bought a U70P from them had it not been for Kurns & Patrick ( giving me a better deal in the end.

The 16GB flash drive version supposedly runs faster than the 30GB drive, provides about 13% more battery life to the entire unit, and makes the unit able to sustain bumps and jolts a lot better since there’s no moving hard drive arm to destroy the platters of the hard drive. Of course, you’re losing more than half the capacity, and it’s much more expensive (the unit’s specs are worse than the comparable 30GB version, i.e. Celeron vs Core Solo, etc).

Conics will also sell you the UX in bits and pieces, rather than a bundle package that SonyStyle will give you. If you don’t need the Cingular EDGE capability and can deal with the out-of-country warranty, Japanese letters on the keyboard, unofficial yet near-perfect Japanese-to-English conversion of the OS and software, then go with Kurns & Patrick,, or Kemplar ( Otherwise, SonyStyle will have their next batch to ship out July 12 and many SonyStyle retail stores will actually have them in stock as early as tomorrow.


JK/Fernando or anyone, could someone please help me with another question? I see that 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 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 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.



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?


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?


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.


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


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:

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.


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


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


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

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