The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a thin, light, and powerful Windows tablet that’s incredibly hard to repair or upgrade on your own. There are no visible screws on the case and if you try to separate the screen to open up the tablet you run the risk of breaking the glass.

But if you do manage to get inside the Surface Pro 3 it’s actually not hard to pop out the solid state storage and replace it with a higher-capacity SSD.

So how do you get the case open without cracking the glass? With a drill.

surface drill

Jorge Malagon purchased a Surface Pro 3 with 256GB of storage, but he wanted to replace the SSD with a 1TB mSATA SSD. So he took a dremel, set it up like a power drill, and carefully cut a hole in the tablet just around the area where the SSD was hidden.

First he printed a life-sized diagram of the tablet showing its insides, lined it up with his Surface Pro 3, and drew line over the SSD area before drilling away.

Once he was finished creating a hole in the case he was able to remove the two screws holding the SSD in place, pop it out, clone the SSD onto a larger driver, and then replace it.

surface pro 3 holeOne of the nifty side effects of this hack is that you can cover the hole with just about anything, since it won’t actually be visible most of the time: the Surface Pro 3 kickstand covers the portion of the tablet above the SSD.

Theoretically you could buy a cheap Surface tablet and save money by upgrading the storage yourself — a Surface Pro with 64GB sells for $799 (or less). But if you’d prefer not to void your warranty it might just be safer to buy a model that has as much storage as you need.

via TabTec

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24 replies on “Upgrade a Surface Pro 3 (with a power drill)”

  1. Why not turn the square piece of magnesium you removed from the Surface into a tiny hinged door you can open? That way it’ll look like a professional hinged access panel for the SSD. That’s what I would do if I did this hack.

  2. Thanks for all the opinions, my Surface become my work laptop and is the envy of all my IT colleagues, and everyone has a strong (good or bad) opinion of the upgrade.

    Here the original post

  3. If you read surface ifixit tutorial, you’ll find out this is the easiest way to open the good damn surface.

  4. Tht’s as bad as watching open heart surgery…where do I buy a dremel?

  5. Ya know, thumb drive storage has gotten pretty stellar lately.I keep seeing the 128/256 gig on sale about once a week. Sure a TB is great and all, but in a tablet? Seems that you’re tryin’ too hard.

  6. I don’t think I would try this unless the tablet was out of warranty and the SSD had failed. At that point you really have nothing to lose. I can see all kinds of potential issues being caused by this mod (some have been pointed out in other comments.

  7. You could just buy something else and not support the folks the lead you to such extremes.

  8. You “could” put adhesive velcro around the edges and custom cut out a plastic bottom from a cheap dollar store tupperware container. Or you can put adhesive vinyl over the whole back like a skin. I’ve seen people skin laptop covers so why not put one on the back sealing this butchery up? Either way, I personally wouldn’t do this unless I had access to a 3D printer to custom print me a lid that would fit perfectly. I’m too OCD otherwise.

  9. Id be pretty scared of leaving behind any magnesium dust in the case. It’s not in any risk of starting a fire at these temperatures, but it does conduct electricity.

    1. I was thinking any metal particles that might fall in there from this process are going to risk causing shorts. This hack is so not worth it.

      1. Agreed, worst DIY ever. Not to mention he patched the hole with cardboard, practically asking for your SSD to overheat.

        But I agree with the need for swapable storage in devices like this

    2. The low-rent DIY hack solution would be a second person holding a shopvac hose adjacent to the cutting spot.

      1. not sure why these people are so concerned with metal dust, use a vacuum cleaner. ssd will not overheat either, if anything it will radiate more heat away from the case. if you willing to cut a whole in your device none of these things are a concern.

  10. This just goes to show you how easy MS could have make it to put a damn access door so you could upgrade it yourself.

  11. Just don’t bring near any water in any form including mist and steam.

Comments are closed.