I did it – Replaced the SSD in my surface Pro 3

I purchased a i5 128GB surface Pro 3 and the beginning of the year. I knew 128GB storage would not be enough but I assumed I could just add an SD card. I purchased an 128GB SD card and yes it worked but it was sloooow. Would be great for some videos on the plane but there was no way I could use it for things I was working on. Then purchased a little WD 1TB USB harddrive. Worked great but the Surface Pro 3 could not power it reliably. I was able to make it work with a Y cable and grabbing power from the USB port on the power adapter. Now I had a bunch of extra junk to carry around and it only worked while plugged into the wall – kind of defeated the purpose of having a Surface Pro 3.

I looked at the fix-it websites and it seems it is darn near impossible to disassemble the Surface Pro 3 to replace the SSD, But then I found Jorge:

http://surfacepro3ssdupgrade.blogspot.com/2015/02/surface-pro-3-ssd-upgrade-i7-with-1-tb.html

And then A couple weeks ago I just did it. The adrenaline was flowing as I did not want to brick such an expensive device, but it all worked out!

… CLICK ON ANY IMAGE BELOW TO SEE IT IN HIGH RESOLUTION …

My mini mill:

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2mm end-mill used to machine the magnesium alloy back

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33 Comments

  1. Love the Labjack screwdriver in the picture….hope you were using it as intended…like for a pry bar or something.

  2. Wonder if a cutting wheel on something like a Dremel tool would cut a little finer line.

    1. Good idea, though I am not sure how I would control depth on dremel cutting wheel. My plan with the mill was to notch it down until there was a paper thin layer of metal (to avoid getting metal chips inside) and then slice/pry it apart since that did not cause excessive small metal bits to be thrown inside the case.

    1. I was able to spin the complete piece off of the screw. Cutting the little cutout as the other guy did may make it a little easier.

  3. Wonder, if you would do that to mine, as I have two left hands (as we say in Germany :).

    1. 🙂 – It certainly would be a nice service but unfortunately I could not handle the stress.

  4. This is so cool. SO cool. And tempting 😀 I’d LOVE to do this.. but I dunno if I really have the courage to try this on a brand new SP3.. It’s only 64 GB so I’m pulling my hair out with the little storage space. Well, a bigger microSD and USB storage for not-so-important big files should work… Saved this page, thanks for the guide, you,Jorge and GladReview! I’ll try this after I hopefully feel crazy enough and have practiced with the tools enough 😀

    1. Yes it is scary and not recommended but I found the SD and USB options were way too slow.
      I love the hack and show it off to folks. Maybe there is a machine shop in your town that would give it a try.

      -Eric

  5. Dear sir,

    Thank you for giving this idea…however what is the unit of measurement…is it in millimetre?

    THank
    A Razak Subahan

  6. Well now I’m considering this. Do you recall the case thickness? I have a cnc mill that would make this easy.

    1. Well I have the piece I cut out right here. I just put the calipers on it and seems to be about .037″ (.95mm) thick

    2. Hi jeff,
      it’s quite a while, but could you work it out by your cnc mill?
      Is 0,95mm thickness correct?
      That would make it much more precise and easier.
      Thanks!

  7. HI
    I manage to cut my surface ….how do I unscrew the screws…one screw is stick to panel…please help

    thanks

  8. Hi

    I don’t know what happern….first my touch screen did not work….now when I take out the charger cable my battery did not trigger…don’t know what happen…if anybody know please update me.

  9. Does anyone know if this would work on a Surface Pro 2? Or are the SSDs different, or in a different location. My Surface Pro 2 has a bad SSD, and this seems to be an ‘easier’ way to replace it.

  10. I’ve made the cut on mine too but i’m worried i might have damaged the battery.

    I used a Dremel cutting disc and managed to nick the black material on the outside of the battery. The Surface still works fine but i’m worried that the battery will do something bad later on. The silver layer is visible in places.

    Noticed your pics also showing through to the silver in spots and wondering if it has caused any issues for you?

    1. I don’t think I nicked the battery. I just looked closely at it. Might be soemthing else you are seeing in the pict.

      1. Fair enough. Turns out I did damage the battery slightly. It started to smell pretty bad and the run time dropped off. After this, i decided not to risk charging it again.

        Anyway, with nothing to lose, I cut the back out around the entire battery and completely removed it, with the battery still stuck to the backplane.

        After cutting the main power lead from the battery to the mainboard I’ve now got a fully functional Surface Pro 3 desktop PC, which runs only when the mains power is plugged in.
        At least the 64GB SSD is now easily accessible.

  11. Did you have to clone the new SSD? Or did you just connect it and reinstall windows from recovery? Nice job!

    1. Thank! – unfortunate battery recently gave up the ghost. It’s been over 2 1/2 years since I did this so I am hoping I was not responsible for it.
      No pain.. No gain!

  12. Nicely done! My SP3’s fan is failing and I was thinking of cutting through the case to replace it. Although I’d have to use sheers I think…

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