How to upgrade the SSD in your Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1

Pull the SSD away from the slot.

Dell's Inspiron 13 7390 (and the refreshed 7391) 2-in-1 is a sleek convertible laptop with 4K touch display, up to 10th Gen Intel processors (CPU), comfy keyboard and Precision touchpad, and smart pen storage built into the hinge. Part of its performance lies in the M.2 PCIe NVMe solid-state drive (SSD), which from the factory is a bit on the slow side. It also maxes out at 512GB, which might not be enough for some people. Let's take a look at how to upgrade the M.2 SSD with larger or faster storage.

Hardware and software to get the job done

How to upgrade the SSD in your Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1

Note: Before beginning any upgrades on a PC, it's a good idea to backup your data in the unlikely event something should go wrong. You'll also want to ensure you're not working in a static-filled environment, as it can cause damage to a PC's internal hardware. Consider investing in an anti-static wristband to avoid unnecessary damage.

There are a number of configurations available from Dell, but you'll find that storage tops out at 512GB. Our review unit has inside Intel Optane H10 memory with SSD, which brings some perks and downsides compared to our top replacement pick, Samsung's 970 EVO Plus. Optane memory is great at caching and offers quick app and file load times, but it ultimately won't match up to raw performance found elsewhere.

In our testing, the stock Intel SSD hit about 1,440.3 MB/s read and 359.3 MB/s write speeds, whereas the EVO Plus is capable of hitting up to 3,500 MB/s read and 3,300 MB/s write speeds. That's a serious difference, and the EVO Plus can also be had with up to 2TB of storage in a single M.2 stick.

Because there's just one M.2 slot in the Inspiron 13 7390, you might want to clone any data over to the new M.2 SSD before the upgrade. This process should keep everything where it was before the upgrade, and you'll only notice a lot more or faster storage. The pre-upgrade cloning process can be made easy with an external M.2 SSD enclosure that connects to your Inspiron 7390 via USB-C. Used in tandem with cloning software like Macrium Reflect 7, you should be able to complete the process without much trouble. We've even put together a guide to help you through the entire process.

Alternatively, if your drive is mostly empty and you don't have anything you want to move to the new drive other than Windows 10, you can do a fresh install of the OS after you replace the SSD. There are some steps to take of before you do any work with the hardware, including creating bootable media, so be sure to have a look at our guide to a clean install before proceeding.

Once you've performed any necessary data backups and have decided whether to clone or start fresh, clear out a well-lit workspace, power down your Inspiron 7390, and proceed with the steps below.

  1. Unscrew the seven fasteners on the bottom panel using a Phillips-head screwdriver. They can be removed all the way so be sure to have a receptacle nearby.

  1. Pry up the bottom panel using a pry tool. Start at one corner and work your way around the laptop.

  1. Unscrew the single silver fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD.

  1. Pull the M.2 SSD carefully away from the slot. It should come away without much friction.

  1. Insert the new M.2 SSD into the slot. Keep it relatively flat. Notice it is keyed and will only fit one way.

  1. Screw in the single silver fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD. Do not overtighten.

  1. Replace the bottom panel of the laptop by applying even pressure around the edges.

  1. Screw in the seven fasteners on the bottom panel.

You can now boot your Inspiron 13 7390 to see if the upgrade went according to plan. If you chose to perform a fresh install of Windows 10 on the new SSD, now is the time to do so.

Our top hardware and software picks

Our pick for an upgrade M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD is Samsung's 970 EVO Plus. It's incredibly fast, it's long-lasting, and it's relatively cheap for the performance you're getting.

A colorful 4K touch display, sleek aluminum chassis, and excellent keyboard and touchpad round out this XPS alternative's features. Configure the Inspiron 7390 with up to 8th Gen Intel CPU or go with the 7391 for 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs.

Additional Equipment

To make the upgrade process easier and less risky, consider investing in some of these affordable PC tools, and don't forget about Macrium Reflect and an external enclosure for those who want to clone drives.

ElecGear M.2 PCIe enclosure ($45 at Amazon)

If you're cloning the original SSD to the new SSD, an external enclosure is needed. This option from ElecGear fits M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs and can connect back to your ThinkPad T490s with USB-C or USB-A.

Macrium Reflect 7 (Free at Macrium)

We've had success cloning drives with Macrium Reflect 7, and have even written a complete guide on how to use it properly. A free edition is available, but you can purchase a full edition with a bunch more features for those who truly take backups seriously.

ORIA PC toolkit ($33 at Amazon)

Having the proper gear to work on your PC will always make the job much easier. Here you get a plethora of tools contained in a portable case.

Rosewill anti-static wristband ($10 at Amazon)

Static electricity can damage sensitive PC parts, so remove the risk with an anti-static wristband. Fasten it around your wrist and clip it onto your PC for peace of mind.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.