How to upgrade the storage on a Surface Pro 9

Roger Stringer
January 27, 2024
7 min read
How to upgrade the storage on a Surface Pro 9

One of the more interesting features about the Surface Pro 9 is that Microsoft makes it easy to upgrade the hard drive. You won't even need many tools, just a T3 screwdriver, and the overall process is relatively simple compared to the process on other laptops.

Of course, you will need to be careful about doing this, and you'll need to back up all your files and create a recovery drive to reinstall Windows first.

🚧 Keep in mind that Microsoft recommends that storage on the Surface Pro 9 be upgraded only through authorized technicians. Make sure to keep the original solid-state drive (SSD) that came with the Surface Pro 9 so you can replace it in case of warranty issues. All that said, the process is fairly painless.

Step 0: What you'll need

The process of replacing the storage in the Surface Pro 9 is about the same as last year's Surface Pro 8. You'll need a few things before you begin. I've listed them below, along with links to Amazon.

  1. M.2 2230 SSD- This is a smaller SSD drive, pay close attention to the size, for example: an M2. 2280 SSD as this won't work with the Surface Pro 9, as it's longer and bigger and won't fit in the Pro 9, must be an M.2 2230. (Recommended on Amazon)
  2. Torx T3 Screwdriver - This is a screwdriver that will let you remove the drive from the Surface Pro 9. (Recommended on Amazon)
  3. USB Drive with 16GB capacity- Before you remove the original SSD from your Surface Pro 9, you'll have to create a recovery drive and download the recovery media so you can reinstall Windows (it's literally step 1 directly below here). (Recommended on Amazon)

Step 1: Creating a Recovery Drive (and a Cloud Backup Because, You Know, Safety First)

Before you start tinkering with your Surface Pro 9, you need a digital safety net. Think of it as packing a parachute before skydiving with your data. Ensure your precious files are safely tucked away in the cloud or some other digital nook not involved in the upcoming surgery. Creating a recovery drive is your ticket to reviving your Surface Pro 9 post-SSD swap and bringing Windows back to life. Here's the game plan:

  1. Navigate to the Surface Recovery page. Stroll down to Select your Surface, pick Surface Pro 9, and key in your serial number. Hit Continue.
  2. Spot the Download image link for your Surface Pro 9, give it a click, and patiently await the .ZIP file download.
  3. Slide the USB Drive you've got into your Surface Pro 9's USB port or a connected dongle.
  4. Hunt down recovery drive in the taskbar's search box, then select Create a recovery drive or Recovery Drive from the lineup.
  5. Hit Yes.
  6. Choose your USB Drive, then Next, and finally, Create. This bit will take a few moments, and it'll wipe your USB Drive clean.
  7. When your recovery drive is all set, select Finish.
  8. Unzip the file you downloaded earlier by giving the .ZIP a double-click.
  9. Select all files inside the recovery image folder (CTRL+A), copy them (CTRL + C), then open a new File Explorer window.
  10. Navigate to This PC, double-tap the USB drive icon, and paste the files (CTRL+V). If asked, opt to Replace the files in the destination.
  11. Once the transfer is complete, safely remove your SSD from your Surface Pro 9 and power it down.

💡I recommend keeping the original SSD drive from your Surface Pro 9 as is and not erasing or resetting your Surface. This is so that you have a working Windows Installation in case something goes wrong.

Step 2: SSD Replacement - A True Test of Patience and Tools (Yay!)

With your data backed up and your installation media ready, it's time to get your hands dirty (figuratively, please) and replace your Surface Pro 9's hard drive. Patience is key here, as is a steady hand. Don't worry, though; it's not rocket science. Let's dive in:

  1. Prop up the kickstand on your Surface Pro 9 to a 90-degree angle.
  2. Peer at the side of your Surface Pro 9, and you'll spot a tiny, door-like panel.
  3. For the regular Surface Pro 9, press down and lift the panel; it's magnetically attached.
  4. Unscrew the original SSD drive with your Torx screwdriver.
  5. The drive will pop up slightly. Gently pull it out to free it.
  6. Slide the new SSD in at a 45-degree angle, ensuring it's snugly connected.
  7. Fasten the SSD with the screw, this is the part that I found took the most patience as very tiny screw and big hands make this part much fun.
  8. Place the SSD cover back on.

Step 3: The Grand Reinstallation of Windows 11 - Let the Button Pressing Begin!

With your new SSD snug in its home, it's time to wake up your Surface Pro 9 with a fresh install of Windows 11. This part feels a bit like conducting an orchestra with different button presses. Let's get to it:

  1. Plug the recovery drive into your Surface Pro 9 or an attached USB dongle.
  2. Connect your Surface Pro 9 to power and attach the charger.
  3. Press and hold the volume-down button, then tap and release the power button.
  4. When the Surface logo graces your screen, let go of the volume-down button.
  5. Pick your language and keyboard layout.
  6. Choose Troubleshoot.
  7. Opt for Recover from a drive.
  8. Select your recovery drive and follow the on-screen directions to reinstall Windows.

After marching through these steps, you can bring back your files and apps.

Voilà! Your rejuvenated Surface Pro 9 stands ready, boasting enhanced storage capacity.

And if you haven't gotten your hands on a Surface Pro 9 yet, give it a look-see. With its swappable hard drive, choice of Intel or Qualcomm processors, and a debut in multiple colors, it's aiming to be the top-tier Windows tablet out there.

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