Acer c720 SSD Upgrade

Chromebooks aren’t exactly big on storage, but thankfully my model of c720 at least came with a 32GB Kingston SSD rather than the usual 16GB Kingston unit – biding my time until I finally filled it up. I plunged for a 128GB Adata drive this Christmas when I found one on sale.

Despite being “easy”, the process ended up taking about 5 hours, most of it learning how to grow the filesystem. The steps I followed:

  1. Imaged my current disk (`dd` also works): cat /dev/sda > /path/to/external/media/backup.img
  2. Opened up the Chromebook, breaking the ‘warranty seal’ for the first time (*sigh!*). Well, it was out of warranty, anyhow! Swapped out the disk for the new one. So far so good.
  3. I plugged in my Ubuntu live USB, and boot up.  I was greeted with this lovely screen once again:
    But, Oops – what’s this? Control-D and Control-L did nothing – because I no longer had the ChromeOS recovery partition. I could not escape the screen, and only heard angry beeps. I resorted to creating a recovery disk and reinstalling ChromeOS.
  4. Once installed, I re-enabled Developer mode, then legacy boot (sudo crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1)
  5. Now, booting into live USB was working. I was able to reimage the new disk: cat /path/to/external/media/backup.img > /dev/sda
  6. Rebooting, everything works! I had my original system back in place. On to regrowing the file system.

If you’re on a simple, physically-partitioned device, all that is needed is:

  1. Reboot into a live CD, and grow the partition size(s) to use as much of the new disk size as you desire with GParted
  2. Reboot back into the system, and run resize2fs  /dev/sda

Using LVM or disk encryption, well that is a more involved process, but very doable. This is what I have for my setup, and where I sunk about 4 hours of time trying to figure out. Google is your friend, here.

So far, I’m liking the upgrade. Speeds are slightly faster, and I’m happy that I can finally cram my whole music library onto my laptop without needing an SD Card.

Most of the guides one finds online call for using a MyDigitalSSD in the c720 – but any 42mm M.2 drive should work OK. The only issue I have encountered so far was with ALPM power management, which a quick edit of a configuration file fixed. YMMV depending on how your drive manufacturer implements power management.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *