Amateur in need of help on SSD configuration

I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place/format/medium to solicit help; that said, I am vastly too inexperienced with computer configurations to be able to sort through jargon, tech support everywhere has been absolutely useless, and I figured I might give community forums a shot. Please let me know what I might be doing wrong and show me the proper course of action, if possible.

Background: I've recently purchased a Lenovo Ideapad Y580 from the Microsoft Store. Prior to this, I've also purchased 2 Intel 330 SSD's. Each SSD was adequately configured into a second and third laptop without a hitch, simply by cloning the existing drive into each SSD, and then swapping out the stock HDD for the Intel 330's via a USB-SATA cable and some 3rd party data management software (EZGig I believe).

This was my same approach for the recently purchased Y580, but it seemed that this laptop came with a 750 GB HDD + 32 GB (flash memory?) configured in some way that was beyond me. I initially just cloned the 750 GB HDD into one of my (formatted) Intel 330 240 GB SSD's and swapped their places. The configuration worked swimmingly for about a day; speeds on everything were absurdly fast relative to what I was used to. 4 A.M. the next morning, Windows decided to update and abruptly crash. Figuring it was a fluke, I tried to just boot up again - but to no avail. I tried booting from the old drive, switching the boot order through F2/F12, booting in safe mode, nothing. It's here that I realized the old OS must've been erased or removed somehow when the HDD/SSD were switched, though I still have no idea how. Lenovo tech support offered their premium technicians' help only if I would feed them $60 and wait for a recovery disc to come in, so I opted to purchase Windows 7 Ultimate from a 3rd party instead.

At this point, I'm pretty fed up with the 32 GB portion and just wanted to get Win7U to install onto the SSD and be over with it. However, when trying to install onto the SSD, I kept getting and error message saying that the drive needed to be under GPT? I resigned to just installing the OS on the 32 GB portion. This allowed my laptop to function normally again, but at the cost of having no space (there was maybe 7 GB left after the OS installation). Now I try cloning the 32 GB into the Intel 330 240 GB since I could boot without any 2.5 drive in the laptop. However, no matter how I tried to reorder the boot configuration via the startup menus, I could not get Win7U to boot up from the SSD instead of the flash memory. This was mainly a problem because all the documents, media, program files, and everything on the desktop needed to be on the SSD in order to have space.

As far as I know, the 32 GB flash memory portion cannot be removed. Ultimately, I just want to have at least all the programs/media stored by default onto the SSD (D: drive). It doesn't matter if the OS would be stored on the 32 GB portion and the two drives be linked somehow (although I know absolutely nothing about RAID or how to set this up), or if I were to bypass the 32 GB portion altogether and just have everything run off of the SSD. I just want my new laptop back :\

And yes I am aware that:
- I could just install the programs/put user files on the SSD directly, but this wouldn't really be a feasible set up.
- I should stop being stubborn and just attempt to restore the original 32 GB + 750 GB configuration, as it is efficient enough and that's how it was meant to run. Be it as it may, I only really wanted to have 1 SSD and it would be an optimal setting for me, despite the whole process being a pain in the ***.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions and/or if I could clarify anything in the post. Thank you.

Edit: Link to laptop
19 answers Last reply
More about amateur configuration
  1. That hard disk it came with is a hybrid from Seagate. It uses flash to speed things up like booting and app launching. You must need to change a setting in the BIOs to better configure your laptop for SSD use. The storage should be set to AHCI. I would completely remove the hard disk and do a fresh install on the SSD. Then add the hard disk back into the mix.
  2. The hard disk is already gone, but the 32 GB I don't think can be physically removed, that's the problem. I also have no idea how to disable that small portion on its own. I believe that the 750 HDD was Toshiba, and also that the 32 GB was NOT physically built into the HDD.

    *Edit: I make this assertion because that 32 GB portion has been visible to me no matter which drive (or lack of one) is physically inside the laptop.
  3. What you refer to as 32GB flash memory is actually a 32GB solid state drive that is used as a cache for the hard drive. It is one of many configurations for the IdeaPad. Typically the operating system, software applications, and utilities are stored on the hard drive. Another Ideapad configuration comes with a 64GB ssd with 32GB used as a cache and 32GB for the operating system. Do you have any idea which you have?

    Either way you should not use one ssd as a cache for another ssd.

    When you opened the back panel and removed the original hard drive did you see a small pcb card with a few chips?

    One of the problems with "off the shelf" computers is that companies do not provide very much in the way of technical information about individual components.
  4. @JohnnyLucky: To be honest, I'm not quote sure, but the former you mentioned seems to be it. As far I know for sure it was 750 HDD + 32 GB SSD.

    This is the product if it helps.
  5. OK! I forgot to mention it but there is another configuration. Your Ideapad may simply have a 32GB ssd that is not used as a cache. Instead it is just used for the operating system and a few small utilities.

    Please let us know if there is a small pcb card under or near the hard drive. If there is one, then any writing and numbers on the card would be helpful.
  6. Again, not entirely sure. I can't find the exact model here

    Here's a couple of pictures with and without the drive installed.
  7. There is a small green colored pcb board to the left of the hard drive. The pcb board has two black retangular chips. The chips have writing on them. The writing is blurred. What does the writing say?
  8. let's see here

    Top left corner: samsung
    Top right corner: 216
    line below that: K9LCGY8U1B-HCK0
    very bottom in smaller print: HHC705B3C

    that's the most I could make out of it. There's a samsung option in my bios so I believe that would be the 32 GB SSD.
  9. Confirmed - It is a Samsung ssd.

    The ssd is definitely removeable. Looks like one mounting screw at the bottom right corner. Once the screw is removed the ssd can be pulled out.

    There may be another option. The motherboard is a rebranded MSI design. Some MSI motherboards have a system BIOS with a separate section where drives are enabled and disabled. You would have to enable a drive before going to another section to designate the primary/boot drive. In addition you could disable the 32GB ssd.
  10. Would it be safe to simply remove the board outright? And I wouldn't know where to start to disable a drive or redesignate a boot drive. Tried messing around on computer management via control panel but nothing.
  11. According to your post you have already accessed the system BIOS when you changed the boot order. It would not hurt anything to go back in on startup to have a look.

    Physically removing the 32gb SSD should not be a problem. You would still have to go into the system BIOS on startup to check the boot sequence.
  12. Managed to remove the 32 GB but then ran into the GPT error when trying to install on the Intel SSD again. Tried to clone onto the Intel but just recently lost my USB-SATA cable. Tried to follow a guide to boot from an image that would repartition my Intel but anything I owned that had a burner died on me. This has been much more trouble than I expected.
  13. Let's try an easy solution first

    The BIOS may have set up a second drive labelled UEFI Intel 330 or something similar. Go back to the boot order in in the system BIOS. Is the Intel 330 listed twice? It might show something like this:

    1. UEFI Intel 330
    2. Intel 330

    Select the one without UEFI as the boot drive, save, and exit.

    When you tried to do a clean install of Windows 7 how far did you get? Were you able to get to the screen where you choose whether to do a standard recommended install or a custom install?
  14. BIOS gave me an option of Windows Boot Manager for each SSD and then for each drive individually. I have since then formatted the Intel but when it wasn't formatted selecting the boot manager for the 330 and the 330 on its own had the same effect: booting with my C: drive being the Samsung SSD (evidenced by moving files on/off the desktop and noticing that that would impact the desktop on C:, not D:).

    As for the clean install. I can get past the custom install (it's either that or upgrade which I don't believe works without a previous version of windows). When it's just the Intel in there, and even when it's the Samsung/Intel both installed, there are 3 partitions for the Intel Drive. The one that has the bulk of the storage (the other 2 are about 100 MB each) says that I can't format it since it's GPT.
  15. OK! I'm back! What a day!

    So far the simple soultions did not work. Next phase would be to try to convert from MBR to GPT.

    Here is a link to the Microsoft Windows solution:

    If memory serves, then doing it the Microsoft way won't work if the ssd already contains partitions.

    Here are links to several other ways that use software utilities:
  16. After finally managing to format the drive to MBR (doesn't work) then back to GPT (still didn't work), I had the Intel formatted while running Win7U off of the initial SSD. FINALLY got Win7U to install on the Intel SSD, but now I have a few problems that really mess things up together.

    1) I can't boot up with just the Intel (while the 32 GB SSD is removed), apparently it needs a Atheros LAN driver to be installed. This wouldn't be a problem except for..

    2) I can't seem to install ANY of the drivers specific for my Lenovo from ANY location. Apparently they install to the C:\ drive by default and there's no way to adjust the installation location prior to it happening. I would just change the drive letter of the Intel from D:\ to C:\ but..

    3) I simply CANNOT change the drive letter for whatever. Not to C:\, not to any other letter. This is with and without the 32 GB SSD physically attached to the drive (via the direct SATA connection used for the original HDD). When I try to put the 32 GB SSD back in, I can't change that drive letter from C:\ to anything else. I then try formatting the Intel again, which allows me to switch the drive letter. But upon reinstalling Win7U on the Intel, I can't change the drive letter anymore.

    I went through Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Storage -> Disk Management -> Right click the appropriate drive -> Change Drive Letters and Paths -> Change.. for the appropriate drive -> Assign the following drive letter -> C:\ -> Warning message that says some programs might not work correctly with the drive letter -> OK -> The parameter is incorrect.

    Yes, I've already tried to relocate/readjust the page file through system properties -> virtual memory, but ultimately I still get the error, with or without the 32 GB SSD installed. I know I can boot to through the Intel, I just can't seem to get it to be the "main drive." If it helps at all,
  17. 1. Are you absolutely, positively sure there is no way to disable the 32GB ssd in the system BIOS?

    2. Did you install the Intel drivers and any Intel chipset updates?
  18. I wouldn't know how to disable the 32GB from the BIOS apart from physically removing it, which I've done.

    Not entirely sure how to install the drivers for Intel as I can't seem to locate them online. The Intel seems to have been running fine, bootwise at least without them. Would it affect my ability to install Win7U on it or anything?

    some visual representation of the last post
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