For Christmas I really wanted an SSD for my laptop - I really like my laptop but I feel that the hard drive was slowing it down, and an SSD would obviously help performance. I ended up opting for the Samsung EVO in 500GB, but it had to wait until after Christmas, much to my wife's chagrin.

Yesterday, since Dad was heading down to Tullamarine , I hitched a ride in and we went to MSY - the cheapest place I could find to grab one. Unfortunately when I got home, I was unable to find the restore discs I'd made for my laptop.

Pressing on, I proceeded to search for instructions on installing the disk - because my L50-A doesn't have a hard drive door. It turns out you just fearlessly remove all the screws in the bottom (including two that are hidden behind the memory door, and a flat one which is only exposed once the optical drive is slid out) and the entire laptop is easily serviceable from underneath the plastic floor cover. This is an incredibly well put together laptop.

Installing the EVO The drive itself is held in by a rubber bracket, which is trivially removed by removing the two rubber tabs, then sliding the drive off it's SATA connector. Put the SSD in the rubber bracket, and reverse the process.

It took a bit to work out how to get anything else to boot on this laptop. First of all, "Quick Boot" must be disabled. You'll know if it's enabled because immediately after power on you'll get the Windows logo and you have to literally hold F2 while you press the power button to get into the BIOS setup.

You also have to disable "Secure Boot", which requires digitally signed boot sectors or something. It's found in the "Security" page of the BIOS. Finally, disable UEFI - which is found in "Configuration; Advanced" and then "Boot Mode". Change it to "CMS" and FreeBSD's bootloader works. Unfortunately that's about as far as I get because there's no support for either of my wireless devices outside of Ndisulator and doing that inside an installation environment on a Laptop just didn't sound like much fun.

Next I installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on it, which went rather smoothly. Unfortunately, I still can't bring myself to like Linux on the desktop - as much of a travesty the Windows 8 UI is, it's still more comfortable to me... weird.

Back to hunting for the restore discs, and I eventually gave up. After some searching around, I learned that Microsoft publishes SHA hashes for their discs (but apparently no .ISOs on MSDN anymore?), and so a quick search of the torrent websites revealed a working magnet link. Download it last night, check hashes this morning and install it. I'm then confronted by the usual pain - Windows doesn't support either of my network adapters right out of the box.

After a quick trip to Toshiba's drivers page for my L50-A I was in business. Copy the WLAN driver over to a thumb drive, install it on the laptop and off I go.

I'm experiencing a few glitches with a non-Toshiba installation of Windows 8, notably the wallpaper disappearing repeatedly. On the whole though, it's very snappy and I'm looking forward to the Windows 8.1 update going through to see how well it works.

Red Lion VIC 3371, Australia fwaggle

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