Dell OptiPlex 5040 MiniTower: upgrading SSD

I am writing this report about my (nice) experience upgrading the SSD (1 TB) to my Dell OptiPlex 5040 MiniTower. That’s an old computer (I bought it in 2016), but it’s still working great. However, its default SSD of 256 GB was becoming too small for Windows and my Linux distributions. This computer also came with a secondary mechanical hard disk (1 TB).

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT meant to be a tutorial; it’s just a report. You will do that at your own risk if you perform these operations! Ensure you did not void the warranty by opening your laptop.

I wrote this blog post as a reminder for myself in case I have to open this desktop again in the future!

To be honest, my plan was to add the new SSD as an additional SSD, but, as described later, I found out that the mechanical hard disk was a 2.5 one, so I replaced the old SSD with the new one (after cloning it). I’ve used a “FIDECO YPZ220C” to perform the offline cloning, which worked great!

This is the BIOS status BEFORE the upgrade:

I seem to remember that “RAID” is required to have Linux installed on such a machine.

This is the new SSD (a Samsung 870 EVO, 1 TB, SATA 2.5”):

The cool thing about this desktop PC, similar to other Dell computers I had in the past, is that you don’t need a screwdriver: you disassemble it just with your hands. However, I suggest you have a look at a disassembling video like the one I’ve used: I know the video is about a Dell Optiplex 7040 MT, while mine is a Dell Optiplex 5040 MT, but their shapes and internals look the same. On the contrary, the Dell Optiplex 5040 SmallFactor videos are not useful because there’s a huge difference between my MiniTower and a SmallFactor 5040.

These are a few photos of the disassembling, showing the handles to use to open the computer, disconnect a few parts, and access the part holding the 2.5 drives.

This is the part holding the two 2.5 drives (as I said, at this point, I realized that also the mechanical hard disk is occupying one such place):

The SSD (I will replace) is the first one on top.

It’s easy to remove that: just use the handles to pull it off:

There are no screws to remove: you just enlarge the container to remove the SSD and insert the new one.

As I said above, I inserted the new one after performing the offline cloning.

Once I closed the desktop, the BIOS confirmed that the new SSD was recognized! 🙂

Now, some bad news (which is easy to fix, though): if you use a partition manager, e.g., in Linux, the SSD is seen as 1 TB, but the partitions are based on the original source SSD, so you end up with lots of free space that you cannot use!

For example, here’s the output of fdisk, which understands there’s something wrong with the partition table:

It also suggests that it’s not a good idea to try to fix it when one of the partitions is mounted.

Using a live ISO, e.g., the one from EndeavourOS, is just a matter of fixing the partition table as follows.

Now, you have access to the whole space in the disk.

For example, this is the output of “gparted” (Yes, I have a few Linux distributions installed on this PC):

That’s all! 🙂

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