My 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.
Here’s what you need to know to upgrade your Yoga. This could very well be an unsupported, warranty voiding upgrade, so use caution!
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!
- Double-sided tape: Scotch® Removable DoubleSided Tape 3/4 inch x 400 inches Dispenser (667)
- Nylon pry tools – I used this set for my upgrade: InterfuseTM Metal & Nylon Spudger Repair Opening Pry Tool Kit
- Small phillips screwdriver and T-5 Torx screwdriver –
I got this nice little set of precision screwdrivers that had the right size phillips and Torx: General Tool 63518 Precision Ultratech Screwdriver Set, 18-PieceHere’s a replacement for the tool kit that contains a T5 bit:
General Precision Screwdriver Torx Tool Set Repair Kit with 10cm Extension Pliant Bar 45 Piece
- An anti static wrist strap if you want to protect the sensitive electronics in your new Yoga from static shock: Belkin Anti-Static Wrist Band with Adjustable Grounding
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:
- CD/DVD/BluRay Reader & Writer: Samsung SE-506BB/TSBD 6X USB2.0 External Slim Blu-ray Writer Drive (Black)
- Plugable USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter – Make sure you get the updated drivers for Windows 8 for this USB-to-Network adapter from http://www.asix.com.tw/download.php?sub=searchresult&PItemID=84&download=driver. Plug this into the USB 3.0 port on the left-hand side of your Yoga (next to the HDMI port).
- Plugable 7 Port USB 3.0 Hub with 4A Power Adapter (VIA VL812 Chipset – USB 2.0 compatible) to add additional USB 3.0 ports if you want to use the CD/DVD, USB 3.0 Network adapter and other peripherals at the same time. Just be sure to update the firmware on the USB hub from here: http://plugable.com/2013/01/29/via-usb-3-0-hub-firmware.
- Also grab a slip case for the Yoga to keep it safe: Lenovo 13-Inch Slot-In Case for Lenovo Yoga and a Lexerd – Lenovo IdeaPad yoga 13 TrueVue Anti-Glare Laptop Screen Protector to keep the screen scratch free and easy to clean (your new touch screen will get dirty)
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
An Initialize Disk window will open when Windows detects the new hard drive. Keep the defaults and click OK.
The new drive will now appear as an unformatted device in the Disk Management window.
Right-click the unformatted space and choose New Simple Volume.
The New Simple Volume Wizard launches. Click Next on the Welcome Screen.
Keep the default size to use all of the space on the new drive for a new partition.
Assign a drive letter.
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.
Now when you launch My Computer you will see a new drive with the label and drive letter you assigned. Use your space wisely!
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.
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.
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/.