Lenovo's ThinkPad lineup of business laptops generally come with great upgradeability options, and although RAM is soldered to the board in the X390, you can swap M.2 PCIe solid-state drives (SSD) with relative ease. We've put together a complete guide to help you through the process, and we've made some recommendations as to what hardware you can use for an upgrade.

Hardware and software to get the job done

How to upgrade the SSD in your Lenovo ThinkPad X390

Note: Before beginning any upgrades on a PC, it's a good idea to back up 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.

Although the ThinkPad X390's RAM is soldered to the board, making it permanent, the M.2 PCIe SSD can still be upgraded. Whether you saved some money at checkout by going with a smaller SSD or you just want to improve performance with something like Samsung's 970 EVO Plus, the steps remain the same.

If you'd like to keep all data and Windows 10, we recommend picking up an external drive enclosure and cloning the old SSD to the new SSD with cloning software before swapping drives. We've been through plenty of cloning operations with Macrium Reflect and have written a complete guide to help you from start to finish. If you indeed pick up a Samsung SSD, you can also take advantage of its own proprietary cloning software.

Alternatively, if you don't want to clone and don't mind reinstalling Windows 10 along with any apps, a fresh install of the OS is possible.

Once you've backed up your important data and have gone through the optional cloning process, clear a well-lit workspace and power down your ThinkPad X390 before going ahead with the steps below.

  1. Unscrew the five black fasteners on the bottom panel of the ThinkPad X390 using a Phillips-head screwdriver. Note that the screws will not come completely away from the panel despite being loosened. This is to prevent loss.

    Unscrew the five fasteners

  2. Lift the back panel away from the chassis using a pry tool. Start in one corner and work your way around to avoid damage.

    Pry up the bottom panel

  3. Unscrew the single silver fastener at the end of the M.2 PCIe SSD. The old SSD should pop up and hold at an angle.

    Unscrew the single SSD fastener

  4. Remove the M.2 SSD by pulling it away from the slot. It should come away with relative ease.

    Remove the old M.2 SSD

  5. Insert the new M.2 SSD into the slot at an angle. Notice it is keyed and will only fit one way.

    Insert the new M.2 SSD

  6. Screw in the silver fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD. Be sure you don't overtighten.

    Screw in the fastener at the end of the M.2 SSD

  7. Replace the back panel of the laptop by applying pressure around the edges. Notice the clips along the front edge of the laptop must be lined up first.

    Replace the back panel

  8. Screw in the five black fasteners on the back panel.

    Screw in the five black fasteners

You can now boot up your ThinkPad X390 to check and see if the upgrade went according to plan. If you chose to forego cloning and are starting with a new install of Windows 10, now is the time to complete the process.

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.

Blazing SSD speeds

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

Unreal performance up to 1TB in size

Samsung's 970 EVO Plus brings blistering read and write speeds, a competitive price, and a 5-year warranty, which altogether is an impressive package. Sizes start at 250GB and go up to 1TB.

Lenovo's ThinkPad X390 is a lightweight laptop with great security features, tons of ports, optional LTE, and plenty of hardware options, including up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. However, you can save some money at checkout by going with a smaller SSD and upgrading later with something larger and faster.

13.3-inch business Ultrabook

Lenovo ThinkPad X390

Lightweight and mobile with ThinkPad durability

Those who'd like a business-focused laptop that doesn't weigh a ton yet hangs onto ThinkPad durability should give the X390 a look. You get excellent performance from 8th Gen Intel Whiskey Lake CPUs, a colorful FHD touch display, and a great selection of ports.

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 ($48 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 P72 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 ($7 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.

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