ThinkPad Z13 SSD replacement

One thing I’ve loved about ThinkPad laptops for many years, is the upgradability and repairability. Ever since the early days, it’s been possible to noodle around inside a ThinkPad.

Sadly, some of the modern X1/Ultrabook line, and some others, are less upgradable than previous generations. My year-old ThinkPad Z13 has a few options for noodling around inside though, including storage.

My Z13 shipped with Ubuntu out of the box. I wanted to try something different, but didn’t want to wipe the OS off the SSD. So I replaced the existing SSD with one of these 256GB Sabrent Rocket NVMe SSD devices for ~£45.



Installing wasn’t painful, but I took some photos in case anyone else needs to do this.

First thing to note though, the new M.2 SSD is a 2230 device, so 22mm wide and 30mm long. Which, incidentally is the size of M.2 SSD that goes in a Steam Deck Gabe Gear. However, the Z13 requires a 2242 (so 42mm long). The easy fix is to grab one of these, which is a kit of bracket extenders.


Open her up

Opening the ThinkPad Z13 is super simple. Five captive philips (cross-head) screws on the underside, and the bottom plate pops off.


Remove the SSD

Locate the brass coloured plate in the top right, that covers the SSD. Remove by undoing two more screws.

SSD exposed

Lift up the right-hand end of the SSD to about 30 degrees then pull out of the connector.

SSD removed

Install new SSD

As you can see from the new drive in place, it doesn’t reach the end stop where the screw post is located.

Too short

So we break off one of the extenders and slot it into the end of the SSD.


Replace cover

Put the brass-coloured plate back on. This uses the screw which doubles duty to hold down the extender/SSD beneath.

Too short

Pop the lid back on the laptop.



It was quite an easy process once I bought the extender, taking only 10 minutes to complete.

I could have purchased a 2242 NVMe SSD, yes. However I could also re-purpose this 2230 SSD in my Steam Deck Gabe Gear at some point. The 2242 wouldn’t fit in that device.

Now, the big question - what to install on it? That’s a story for another day.