How to Upgrade Memory and Storage on the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13

Lenovo Yoga 13 IdeaPadMy awesome wife and terrific in-laws got me one of those nifty new Yoga 13 IdeaPad’s by Lenovo (Lenovo Yoga 13 IdeaPad Ultrabook 13.3″ Touch-Screen Convertible Laptop) for my birthday/Christmas (one of the benefits of having your birthday 3 days before Christmas is “bigger” gifts). I’ll be using the Yoga at home and at work as we do some BYOD (Bring Your Own Desktop) against the VMware View environment at Clearpath Solutions Group.  The form factor of the Yoga is great – lightweight to be used as a tablet, but big enough to be a full time laptop.  I also dig Windows 8 – I use the traditional Windows desktop at the office, but switch over to the Modern UI for couch surfing in the evening.  I did install Start8 from StarDock to give me back the Start button / menu.  But what I don’t like is the limited storage and low RAM (4GB).

The Yoga shipped with a 128GB SSD, but Lenovo screwed up their partitioning, leaving only 50GB or so for user apps and files.  Not enough for me.  Fortunately, Lenovo released a patch to fix the partitioning, giving me a 100GB C: partition.  Download the patch here: http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/downloads/default.page# – it’s under the General Information section after you select your model and OS.  The patch failed to run with the crappy McAfee antivirus that came preinstalled – I uninstalled it since it was just a trial version and had already caused issues with installing Windows Updates, Hyper-V features, etc.

I usually run several virtual machines in VMware Workstation on my laptop, but the 4GB or RAM that came installed don’t leave much room.  Between the RAM and storage, it was time for an upgrade.  The Yoga 13 has an open mSATA slot for a second hard drive and the single 4GB DIMM can be swapped out for a 8GB DIMM.  I’m the DIY type, subscribing to the Self Repair Manifesto and the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, so I rolled up my sleeves and got right to work.

Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness The Self Repair Manifesto

Here’s what you need to know to upgrade your Yoga.  This could very well be an unsupported, warranty voiding upgrade, so use caution!

Crucial mSATA Drive First, the hardware.  I went with Crucial for my added memory and bought it through Amazon: Crucial Single 8GB DDR3 1600 MT/s (PC3-12800) Notebook Module, CT102464BF160B for about $45.  I also bought a Crucial 256GB mSATA hard drive from Amazon for about $200 Crucial m4 256GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT256M4SSD3.  I’ve had very good luck with Crucial components in the past and the reviews for the mSATA drive prove it to be a speedy SSD.

Update (10/10/13): The Crucial M500 480GB mSATA drive is now available here: Crucial M500 480GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT480M500SSD3.  I haven’t used it, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work in the Lenovo Yoga.  A pair of these and you’ll have a respectable 1TB of flash storage in your ultrabook!

Crucial MemoryNext, you’ll need some tools – order them with the drive and memory so you are ready to upgrade as soon as the friendly FedEx or UPS man show up:

Update: Feb 2, 2013: There is a firmware update available for the Crucial mSATA drive I linked to above.  Go here to download: http://www.crucial.com/help/ssd/index.aspx?source=web.

The Lenovo Yoga does not have a CD/DVD/BluRay drive or a ethernet network port.  If you want these for your Yoga, I recommend the following:

You might also want to pick up a spare AC power adapter for your Lenovo Yoga (Lenovo Part Number: 0C19868; Model: PA-1650-37LC; LC PN: 36200235).

As far as the process, I’ll give you some tips that I picked up while upgrading my Yoga and point you to some resources to help you along.  Anti-static strap up and get your upgrade on by following these steps!

  1. Remove the keyboard.  Fold the laptop into tablet position.  Then, use the flat end of the black nylon pry bar (assuming you bought the set I linked to above) to gently pull up on the top of the keyboard.  Put the pry bar between the flat plastic that surrounds the keys and the sloping bezel around the keyboard (i.e. – don’t try to pry the sloping part off with the keyboard).  Work your way around both sides with the pry bar, gently lifting until the plastic clips on the sides release.  When you get to the bottom corners put the pry bar down and use two hands (one on the ESC key and one on the Delete key) to pull the keyboard about 1/8″ toward the monitor hinges.  This should pull it loose from the housing.  If you are just upgrading memory, the DIMM is exposed.  Remove the old, put the new one in.  Skip to steps 6 & 8 to reinstall the keyboard. Next, remove the keyboard cable.   Follow the cable down to where it is connected to the motherboard.  There is a small black bar over the cable.  This lifts upward on a hinge – gently raise it towards the memory DIMM until the cable is free.
  2. Remove the top and bottom covers.  Use your phillips bit to remove the 5 exposed screws on metal plate under the keyboard.  Keep track of which screws go into which holes – they are different in size.  Flip the laptop over and close the screen over the keyboard. Remove the 10 T-5 Torx screws from the bottom plate – these are all the same.  Now, fold the monitor all the way back into tablet mode.  Using the flat black pry bar, begin to separate the black top from the silver bottom.  Start on the outside of the hinges and work your way towards the palm rests.  The front corner of the palm wrests are held in by magnets, so you might have to pull lightly.  When the black cover comes free, don’t yank on it – there’s cables attached that you don’t want to dislodge.
  3. Install the mSATA drive.  At this point, you should be able to see the open mSATA slot under the top corner where the ESC key is.  Insert the drive (it only goes in one way) and secure it with a single screw (this should have come with the mSATA drive – use the one with smaller threads).  If you don’t have the screw, you could use one of the shorter phillips screws you removed from the plate under the keyboard.
  4. Now, snap the black top cover back into the silver bottom plate.  Reinstall the Torx screws on the bottom.  Reinstall the phillips screws in the plate under the keyboard.  Don’t over-tighten – just snug them a touch.
  5. Place small squares of double-sided tape in each of the four corners of the keyboard, another in the top center, another under the space bar.
  6. Look at the bottom of the keyboard.  See those small metal clips that protrude?  Remember them – if your keyboard feels very springy after reinstalling it, you probably didn’t set the  clips into their slots in the plate under the keyboard.
  7. Insert the keyboard ribbon cable into the slot as far as it can go, then press the black locking bar back over the cable to secure it.
  8. Lay the keyboard as flat as you can on the opening where it belongs.  Align the bottom tabs (under the space bar).  Press down gently to engage those clips I told you about in step 6, while sliding the keyboard downward towards the space bar side until it falls into the bezel.  Gently snap the sides and then the top of the keyboard back in.
  9. Fire up the laptop and test it out.

Assuming you did everything right, you should see 8GB of RAM in the System Information window.  From the Modern UI, type System Information to see the System Information app.  You should see your installed RAM value on the screen that opens.

Provisioning the new hard drive space is a bit more work.  You’ll need to initialize and format the drive.  Here’s how you do that:

From the Modern UI, type ‘Format’ – switch to the System search on the right.  You’ll see an option to ‘Create and format hard disk partition’.

create and format

An Initialize Disk window will open when Windows detects the new hard drive.  Keep the defaults and click OK.

initialize disk

The new drive will now appear as an unformatted device in the Disk Management window.

new vol

Right-click the unformatted space and choose New Simple Volume.

new vol wizard 1

The New Simple Volume Wizard launches.  Click Next on the Welcome Screen.

new vol wizard 2

Keep the default size to use all of the space on the new drive for a new partition.

new vol wizard 3

Assign a drive letter.

new vol wizard 4

Keep NTFS as the file system, with the default Allocation unit size.  Add a label – I use DATA, because, well duh – that’s what it will hold.  Tick the box for Perform a quick format.

new vol wizard 5Finish!

Now when you launch My Computer you will see a new drive with the label and drive letter you assigned.  Use your space wisely!

lenovo yoga with two drives

I put my SkyDrive folder on the new drive as I am shifting most of my personal document storage to SkyDrive.  If you want to do the same, download the SkyDrive client from here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/skydrive/download and install.

During the setup wizard, switch your SkyDrive folder location to the D: drive.

skydrive setup folder location

Now one more change.  Windows 8 creates some default Libraries with locations for you to save, search and interact with your files.  I’m going to add SkyDrive folders to each library (Documents, Pictures, etc.) so SkyDrive becomes my default location for my documents.  To do this, open My Computer (Explorer) and right-click –> Properties on the library you want to change.

windows library add save location

Click ‘Add’, browse to your new SkyDrive folder, and select the appropriate sub-folder.  Then select the folder you added and click ‘Set save location’ to make the new folder your default save location for the Library.

With your libraries redirecting your My Documents and other folders to SkyDrive, you’ll have a cloud-based copy of all of your files automatically.

Hope this has been helpful!  If you need help or a visual on doing the hardware upgrade, I recommend you check out this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5uCooHm4kw&list=UUmni3hsnYA0XuulA_V7xmtg&index=1.  The guy who made it (Eben Howard) did a good job of capturing the feel of the upgrade – how much pressure to exert, snap tab locations, etc.  His blog post on the process is here: http://squidpony.com/not-games/hardware/lenovo-yoga-13-memory-upgrade/.

Comments

  1. Serge Callens says:

    Nice write-up! I’m going to attempt to do the same as you did because I’m running out of storage space… I have some questions though, do you recommend getting replacement nylon screws since these are supposed to be single-use? And have you noticed any increase in temperature or a more active fan? These are some of the things holding me back currently…

    • No need for new screws – except for one to hold the new mSATA in (but the drive I linked to comes with the screw). No more heat or fan, no change in battery from what I can tell. Good luck!

    • Hello – commented below – but do I need to remove the keyboard just to install an additional mSata – I already have 8GB memory. Thanks, Mel

      • Hi Mel – It’s been a while, so I’m not 100% sure – pretty sure you can add the additional mSATA without pulling the keyboard.

        • Thanks! Only had Yoga a few weeks so will use it for a while until I am sure it has no latent defects – and them put the 2nd mSata drive in – still plenty of free space at the moment.
          Mel

  2. Nice! The Crucial site only says the 128GB drive is compatible, but I’m gathering that the 256GB works just fine. I couldn’t think why it wouldn’t, since it’s the same physical size. And more is of course better. I’m fine with the RAM right now, but might as well double it while I’m in there. Sort of like replacing the water pump at the same time. I really like my Yoga, too. Thanks for going all the way through setup for those of us who are not keeping up with technology.

  3. Are the hybrid drives compatible for install? Or does this just work with a SSD?

    • The mSATA drive form factor used by the Yoga is an SSD-only option. There’s not enough room on the tiny drive to hold a spinning disk (it doesn’t even have a cover around the SSD memory chips it is so pressed for space!)

  4. I just finished following your instructions to put a second SSD in my Yoga. The hardware portion of the install seemed to go well, however I’m not seeing anything about the drive in Windows. I don’t see anything under Device Manager regarding the drive, and it doesn’t show up in the Disk Management utility, even after rescanning for new drives.

    Any ideas on what could have gone wrong? I’m fairly confident that the hardware itself is installed correctly (seems pretty hard to screw that up). Wondering if I missed some setting in BIOS or something along those lines though.

    Thanks for the walkthrough!

    • Hi Greg – you shouldn’t need any BIOS settings changes to get the drive to show up. Boot into BIOS (shut down and then press the recessed button to the left of your power button) and see if the drive shows up there. If not, shut down Windows, open the Yoga back up and remove, then re-seat the new drive to make sure all contacts are engaged. If that doesn’t work it is possible you got a bad drive. Try to do a swap through Amazon, Crucial, or whoever you purchased through.

      • Hi Joshua, I had the same problem Greg had. Booted the BIOS and it showed the hard disk I installed: Crucial_CT240M500SSD3. However Windows still didn’t. Ultimately a couple of reboots fixed it however. Strange but It’s working now. Thanks a lot for the tutorial/walk through!

  5. Thank you for the write up! This was much easier to follow in comparison to some of the youtube videos I’ve seen. Upgraded both RAM and SSD successfully myself! Just a note to others who can’t see their newly installed SSD, in addition to going into the BIOS, I had to hit ‘F10′ to save and exit in order to see it in Windows.

    • Janet, thank you very much for the trick. F10 after enter BIOS needed to be done before I can see the harddrive. Also be very careful when open the laptop, do not treat it too violently when open. Otherwise, you will get an error of “Missing default boot device” and you will need to send it back to Lenovo.

  6. Question: Is this SSD upgrade possible to do on the 256gb YogaPad or only on the 120GB model? Do they 256GB models already occupy the mSATA slot with a drive?
    I’d like to buy a Yogapad, if I can get closer to 500GB storage on it.

  7. hi, can the cpu be changed? from i3 to i5 or i7???

  8. anyone knows if i can upgrade my yoga 13 to 16GB ram? i am running virtualbox and a bit more ram would help.

  9. any one knows if i can upgrade my yoga 13 to 16GB ram?

  10. may i upgrade the yoga 13 to 16GB ram? any recomandation for 512GB SSD?

  11. Hi Joshua,

    That is a very good step-by-step explanation, thanks!

    Did you figure out by any chance whether you could do a backlit keyboard upgrade on the Yoga 13?

    Thanks

  12. Hello. May i know how to format my lenovo yoga 11 to window 8. I dont want use window Rt.

  13. Hi,
    Thanks for this great step by step. I am very close to buying the Yoga 13 and want to at least upgrade the RAM. I would like the extra drive space as well but have read the Crucial drive slows down significantly after a few months use. Have you experienced this problem since you installed yours? The Crucial support site/forum seems to have enough reports of this issue that it is causing me concern as to whether I will go this upgrade route at all.

    Thanks!

    • I have not experienced slow down. There have been some firmware updates to the mSATA drives that are supposed to prevent the reported slowdowns. Between the firmware and Windows 8 drive optimization (TRIM), I’m still very pleased with my performance. As an IT guy, I really beat up on my laptops, and the Yoga has done very well for me.

      • Hi Joshua,

        Thank you for the quick reply. I appreciate it! I am happy to hear you haven’t had the slowdown problems and are still happy with the Yoga. It seems to fit almost all of my requirements the best and I love that it is upgradeable. If only it had a backlit keyboard, but that’s not a deal breaker for me. I’ll look into TRIM – can’t say I’m familiar with it yet as I haven’t used Win 8 yet. Thanks for mentioning it as being a way to optimize.

        JJ

  14. Thanks for the info! Terrific documentation. I will be doing this for my Yoga soon.

  15. Thanks for great write up. My Yoga’s mSATA slot was in the upper right (under delete key instead of escape key) – perhaps I have a revised MB. But none the less excellent instructions.

  16. Avnish Jain says:

    Hello Sir,

    Is 2.5inch ok for the 256 SSD ?
    Or i should get 1.8″” Because everywhere i could see is 2.5 available on ebay.

  17. Hi, the screen protector you linked to in this article is for the ideapad tablet, not for this yoga tablet/ultrabook hybrid. I bought it, and it’s too small to fit the screen properly.

    • Sorry for the problems, Eric. Looks like the Amazon product may have changed since I linked to it. I have updated the link to a screen protector specifically designed for the Yoga 13. –Josh

  18. Hi, Great guide ! I’m thinking of buying a Yoga as my primary laptop (replacement for one that died recenntly – curious if anyone on hee has had wifi issues w/ any of their models ?

    • I have not had any wifi issues, but I have heard of them on the Yoga on several forums. The latest driver update from Lenovo did seem to increase my wireless throughput, but it wasn’t bad to start with….

  19. Derrick Ross says:

    I removed the keyboard as instructed to upgrade the RAM now my backspace and “t” on my keyboard do not work. Where do I get a replacement keyboard, looked at the Lenovo website but it was no help.

    • Derrick,

      Check the ribbon cable that connects the keyboard. Make sure it is evenly and fully inserted into the slot on the motherboard and the clip is fully engaged to retain it. Also check the cable itself to make sure there are no micro tears in it. You might try taking the cable for the keyboard out and blowing on the slot to make sure no dust is impeding the cable pins. Finally, check your double-sided tape to see if a piece is interfering with the keys in question.

  20. Brian m says:

    Help… I upgraded the ram and added a plextor 256gb ssd and now my volume is stuck on down, my touchscreen stopped working, and my touchpad stopped working.

  21. BU Husky says:

    Thank you so much for these instructions. I just upgraded the ram and added a second msata drive to my yoga 13. If any of you are wondering where to get the screw that holds the msata drive in, if you have an old 2.5 hard drive laying around, look at the bottom of it and you should see 6-8 of them. I stole one from an old 60gb I had. If you are wondering what size they are it is on the inside of the yoga on the top plate etched in the metal as M2X3.

    Great Instructions and an easy too. Just take your time and don’t force it.

  22. Josh, thanks so much for this detailed write-up! I’m planning to do a RAM upgrade in the next few days, and I’ll be following your directions. I found that Scotch makes a couple varieties of double-sided tape, though– removable (which you spec’ed) and permanent. Have you found the removable tape you used to be sufficient?

  23. Josh, thanks for this great write-up! I’ll be doing a RAM upgrade in the next few days, following your directions. I’m curious to know if the Scotch removable double-sided tape you used has held up. Scotch also makes a permanent variety.

  24. (sorry about the double-post!)

  25. Your link to amazon for T5 torx screw driver doesn’t contain T5, it only has T6 minimum, as in the description.

    • Thanks for letting me know Edgar. It looks like the product changed since I linked to it – mine came with a T5. I’ve updated the post to link to a set that does contain a T5. I hope this didn’t cause folks too many problems!

  26. Harv Sussman says:

    Great details .. Going to upgrade both memory and HD. Crucial shows an upgrade to the HD with a M500 model. Is this something I should buy or the original you used. Thank you

  27. Thanks for the guide, I followed it to the letter and it worked perfectly. Much better descriptions even than Lenovo’s own maintenance manual! My Yoga is flying now.

  28. Very informative! But how would I go about replacing the original mSATA to have only one SSD in the yoga? Thanks!

    • MxC – Good question, and easy to do. I did this on my personal Yoga 13 at the same time I upgraded memory and added the 2nd mSATA drive. The instructions for opening the Yoga case are the same, the mSATA drive is the same
      as I linked to in my instructions. Crucial now offers a faster and bigger mSATA in the m500 series of drives. You can get a 480GB m500 mSATA here: Crucial M500 480GB mSATA Internal Solid State Drive CT480M500SSD3

      You’ll want to put the new mSATA drive into an external mSATA enclosure like this one:

      Then install a disk copying software package on your Yoga (still running on the original hard drive). I used Acronis True Image for mine as it is Windows 8 compatible. Get Acronis True Image 2014 from Amazon here: Acronis True Image 2014 (DVD), or direct from Acronis here: Acronis True Image 2014 with FREE 5GB cloud storage.

      Close any open programs, then follow the Acronis disk copying wizard to clone your disk from the original internal disk to the new disk in the external enclosure. Tip: plug the external enclosure into the left-hand side USB port as it is USB 3.0. The cloning process will be much faster!

      When the disk copy is finished, shut down your Yoga, remove the new mSATA from the external enclosure, open the Yoga case up, remove the original mSATA drive and put the new one in. Boot up and everything should be the same, just a bigger and faster hard drive.

      Good luck and let me know how it works for you!

      • I tried to do as you as you say and followed the True Image 2014 wizard to Clone the disk. This said that it needed to restart the computer but True Image never started up again after the reboot. Checked Acronis website and they suggested disabling card reader but this did not work. Also another thread and the help of True Image suggests that you need to have the new hard drive in the computer and the original in the external drive otherwise the new one will not be bootable. Acronis online chat support said much the same and said you needed to burn a bootable media CD/DVD to make it happen. All doable but interested to hear your thoughts before I proceed.

        • John,

          It’s been some time since I ran through the process, and I was on auto-pilot mentally. I just installed the Acronis software and ran the disk copy wizard and figured it out from there….

          But, as I recall I put the original mSATA in the external enclosure and the new mSATA inside the Yoga. I used an external USB CD/DVD drive (I linked to the one I used above) to run the Acronis wizard to copy the external to the internal. Sorry I don’t remember more details.

          • Josh,
            Thanks. Your information. Still waiting on the 8Gb RAM from Amazon but will try all of this when that comes in. Going to put in two of the 480Gb mSATA drives.

  29. Is it able to run 64bit virtual machine?

  30. I was wondering if the instructions for doing this were the same for the Thinkpad Yoga? I am thinking about purchasing one because I like the lift and lock function of the keyboard and the pen that it offers. However, does that added function change things? If, you’re not sure, do you know where I could go to find that out? Also, for someone who has no experience doing this sort of thing, would you advise against upgrading on your own? Last question: is there enough of a difference between the i5 and i7 to justify an upgrade?

  31. Hello – just bought a reduced price Yoga 13 as Yoga 2 is now coming out. It has 8GB of memory so I am only planning to do the eSata upgrade (when I have run it for a while to make sure there are no warranty issues – I assume this upgrade invalidates the warranty?). If I just do the SSD upgrade do I need to remove the keyboard or just the base? Thanks. Mel

  32. se le puede poner una ssd mayor de 256 Gb? de 480Gb o 500Gb por ejemplo en un solo slot?
    you can put a larger 256GB SSD? 480GB or 500Gb for example in a single slot?

  33. What about 1TB second SSD drive?
    like the one from Samsung: Samsung 840 EVO MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA Internal SSD Single Unit Version
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HWHVNUU/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HWHVNUU&linkCode=as2&tag=vm09-20

  34. Hi! I bought a Crucial SSD CT480M500SSD3.PK01 (Part Number: CT4105850) directly at Crucial web store (paid 214,90 euro) http://www.crucial.com/eu/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=6D994018A5CA7304
    I received it in north Italy in 4 days. I installed it in my Ideapad Yoga 13 (with only 128 SSD) as second SSD, and after 3 or 4 reboots, it has been recognized by Windows 8.1. I formatted as NTFS and now I have 447 Gb additional memory.
    Regarding the physical installation, I followed the instruction of Lenovo manual but I did not remove the keyboard cable to avoid the risk of damaging the very delicate cable: there is still enough space to fit the ssd.

  35. I waited until my warranty was expired (OK, that was a few months ago), then I replaced the RAM. Piece of cake. I used a utility knife and small screwdriver to pry off the keyboard, because I didn’t have the pry bar, and it was fine. I don’t think I dinged it at all, which I would have been willing to live with. Thanks for the nice description.

  36. Hi Josh,

    great help you’re providing here. Have you heard about or yourself experienced the poor wifi performance? Is there a possibility to upgrade/exchange the wifi card to the better that you know of? Talking 5ghz, WIDI etc.

    Thx for your help in advance

  37. Walker Penfield says:

    HI Josh and I recently got my yoga 13 laptop as well and I had the same problem with havng only about 50gb of disk space left. I clicked on the link you wrote but I cant find the patch. Pls help

  38. very very helpful. Thank you.

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