SSD upgrade in Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

Upgrade the SSD in a Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015 Model) does not come with much storage by default. Both the CB35-C3300 (Celeron 3215U) and the CB35-3350 (Intel i3-5015U) Broadwell models only come with 16GB of onboard SSD memory. However, the good thing about these models in comparison to the previous years CB35-3330 Haswell models is that storage can be upgraded! Keep reading for more information on how to swap the default SSD to a bigger, better one.

Why upgrade?

There are several reasons why you might want to upgrade a Chromebook’s SSD.

  • Linux. If you plan on installing Linux on your Chromebook, the default 16GB it comes with will usually not be sufficient. This is especially true if you would like to install a lot of Linux applications and software. Installing Linux on a USB or an SD card will also be slower than installing it on an SSD.
  • File storage. If you would like to store movies, music, and videos. This will save space on your Google Drive and allow you to access all of your files without an internet connection.

Buying a compatible SSD for your Chromebook

The storage format that a Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) model uses is a M.2 42mm SSD card. There are several on Amazon that you can purchase in varying storage capacities. The important thing is to get an SSD that has a 42mm m.2 form factor. Here are several good options for you to choose from:

Backup your Chromebook

DO NOT SKIP THIS SECTION

The first step is to backup your Chromebook’s Google OS by creating a recovery USB. We will do this using Google’s free recovery tool and a quality USB or SD card you don’t mind erasing. I personally recommend using a USB rather than an SD Card. Either way, the USB or SD card you choose must be at least 4GB in storage capacity.

  1. Download Google’s free recovery tool on the Google Web Store: [Link]
  2. Once installed, start the app and insert your USB or SD Card into your computer. Click “Get Started” and type in the model number that is shown for your specific model. I would also write this number down elsewhere in case you lose your recovery media.

Screenshot 2016-04-27 at 7.26.10 PM

3. After you have typed in your model number, click “Continue”.

IMPORTANT: All of the data on the USB or SD Card will be deleted if you continue.

Make sure the media you’d like to use for your recovery is listed. Click the “Create now” button.

The tool will then create the recovery image on your selected media. This process should take about 15 minutes. Don’t remove the flash drive or SD card while this is happening. After you see the message saying that your recovery media is ready, you can remove it from your Chromebook. Power off your Chromebook for the next step.

Install the SSD in the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

You will need:

  • 1x m.2 42mm SSD (see above list for reccomendations)
  • 1x Phillips screwdriver
  • 1x flat spudger tool to gently pry cover [example]
  • 1x Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015 model)

Steps:

  1. Make sure your Chromebook is off and you are doing this upgrade on a suitable surface to avoid static electricity which can harm your device (ie. do not do this on a carpet).
  2. Set your laptop with the back cover facing up. See below image for the screws you will need to remove with your standard Phillips screwdriver. You will need to remove two rubber feet with your flat tool to get to the two other screws.

Bottom of the Chromebook3. Once all of the necessary screws have been removed, use your flat tool to gently pry open the back cover and set it aside. You can now see the computers internals! (spooky)

4. This is the location of the SSD. It is held down by another screw that you will need to remove. Once removed, gently pull it away from the connector.

Toshiba Chromebook 2 Internals5. To install the SSD you purchased, simply insert it into the connector making sure it lines up. Re-install the screw to make sure it is held down.

6. Gently re-attach the cover screwing in any necessary screws and place the rubber feet in their respective slots. You have now successfully replaced the SSD!

SSD upgrade in Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015)

Reinstall Chrome OS

We will now restore Chrome OS on the Chromebook.

  1. Power on your computer. You will see a screen that looks like this, but don’t worry we are going to restore it.

Chrome OS missing2. Insert the recovery media (USB or SD) you made earlier into the computer. The Chromebook will restore the OS using the recovery media. It should take about 15 minutes. Do not remove the USB or SD card until the process is complete.
 Note: If you are having issues with recovering from a USB. Try both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as a different USB.

done

3. To make sure your Chromebook recognizes the HDD you just installed you can try either of the below methods.

Method 1Method 2

Once your Chromebook is up and running, log in and open a new Chrome tab. In the URL type:

Press enter. You can confirm that Chrome OS recognizes your new SSD.

quota-internals

Note: My Chromebook already has space taken up due to movies I have loaded up onto it.

Once your Chromebook is up and running, log in and open a new Chrome tab. In the URL type:

Press enter and find (CTRL+F) “storage_info” and expand the section.

storage_info

As you can see it correctly states that I have 240GB installed on my system.

Congrats! You are finished!

What Comes Next? 

Now that you’ve upgraded your internal storage, what comes next?

1. “Switch Channels”

Switching update channels is a way to get the latest features before they roll out to everyone. For example, if you have a compatible Chromebook, you can install android apps on your Chromebook .

Learn how to switch update channels using my guide here .

2. Enable Developer Mode

Putting your Chromebook into “Developer Mode” will allow you to have full root access, including the ability to modify your Chromebook’s system files. This is often used to install a Linux system alongside Chrome OS like Crouton. To enable developer mode, follow my guide here  .

3. Install Linux

  • dhuff

    So, with an eye towards installing crouton, would you recommend the Core i3 version of the Toshiba, or is the Celeron version good enough ? I’ve seen some very reasonable arguments that, if you’re only going to run ChromeOS, the Celeron is all you realistically need. But for full Linux ?

    • Hi, thanks for your comment! I think the Celeron model should be plenty fine for both crouton, chrx, and full native linux. The octane scores on both of these laptops do not differ by that much. I plan on playing some lightweight Linux games so for me, the added processing power and shaders that the i3 provides works and fits my budget.

  • James Stormes

    Thank you for the great post. It inspired me to get the i3 version and upgrade it.

    I can confirm that you can upgrade to 512GB using the TS512GMTS400 (http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-Information-512GB-MTS400-TS512GMTS400/dp/B016W1PP5K).

    Thanks again for the great post.

    • That’s awesome! Thanks for confirming that and I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  • David Huff

    BTW, since I’ll have the back off anyway, would it be good to remove the sticker(?) that disables firmware write protection ? Isn’t that needed for a crouton or chrx install ?

    • David Huff

      Ahhh…nevermind (probably). I’ve decided that crouton is for me, and it doesn’t look like flashing a new BIOS is req’d for that. 😉

      • Sorry for the late reply! You are right. Removing write protection is needed for chrx but not crouton. There’s some risk involved with flashing the BIOS so it is not for everyone! I personally did to try full native Linux distros (which require tinkering depending on which is installed). Just depends on what your needs are and what you like. 🙂

      • David Huff

        Cool, thanks for the confirmation 🙂 My 2015 Toshiba Chromebook 2 is on the way from Amazon, along with a MyDigitalSSD to upgrade its storage. Looking forward to messing about with it.

        • Sweet, enjoy! What CPU did you end up getting?
          Also, thank you so much for your comments!

        • David Huff

          The model with the Celeron. You were right, the octane scores are so close I couldn’t justify the extra $100 for the i3 for what I’d use it for 😉 It should arrive in about a week, so we’ll see…

          • Mike O

            Once the Play Store comes to this, i3 may be beneficial. 3D modeling, shading, etc.

          • Yep that’s right. As it stands now it is still beneficial if you have Linux installed especially if you are playing steam games (my case). 🙂

  • David Huff

    Successfully completed last night with one important lesson learned: Always use a decent, high quality USB thumb drive for your recovery image. A cheap 4GB model I got from some vendor at a trade show supposedly completed the Chromebook Recovery tool process, but the Chromebook wouldn’t boot off of it. Had to run over to my desktop PC and make another one with a Kingston USB drive I had laying around – which worked perfectly 😉

    • I’m glad it all worked out in the end! I will make a note to use a *quality* USB as it made a difference in your case. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Anton

    Hi there! I’m trying to complete the replacement, but there’s one thing that won’t let me do that. After I put the recovery USB into my chromebook – nothing happens. Nothing at all. I tried different USB sticks (both windows and ChromeOS formatted) and different ports on my chromebook, still nothing. Anyone had such a problem?

    • Hi Anton! Thank you for your comment and I am sorry you’re having issues. One other person in his comment thread had the same problem. He said that he used a cheap low quality USB and it didnt work for him either until he tried a Kingston one of higher quality. Perhaps try another brand USB or opt for an SD card if possible.

      • Anton

        Finally restored the Chrome OS on the new SSD. Used other flash drive (one that previously didn’t work btw) and a USB 2.0 port on the left side of the chromebook for both creating image and restoring.

        To sum it up:
        Creating image on Chromebook with 2 different thumb drives. Didn’t work. (USB 3.0 port)
        Creating image with Win 7 PC – progress bar stuck at 0% while “Writing Image”
        Creating image with Win 8 PC – verification fail during image check, no luck again.

        Took me four hours. Didn’t expect that from google, seriously. But good thing it’s solved 🙂

        So, yeah. USB 2.0 and a good USB stick!

        • I’m really glad it ended up working for you. I will update the guide to try not only the USB 3.0 port but the 2.0 port as well. Cheers!

  • Mike McMullen

    What about the 3340?

    • Apologies for the delay in this response. The Toshiba CB32-B3340 is unable to have an upgraded hard drive since its hard drive is soldered onto the board and uses an eMMC drive.
      So basically you are stuck with the space that came with it when it was purchased. It’s not so bad if you just plan on using Chrome OS. Using Linux and downloading a lot of media files is where that specific model falls short.

      • Maitiú Mc

        Where did you find this info at? I tried to contact that joke of Toshiba call a support service for the best part of an hour, when I finally got through to a human, it turned out they were just as useless as the robot Yoko who sent me round in circles.

        Apparently, they do not know if the CB30-B models are up-gradable or not.

        No wonder they had a stop making consumer products.

    • Ed McGuigan

      I ordered the drive and then opened mine up to find that there is no drive slot. I could remove the built-in wifi and use that slot but I actually think it’s a little small ( the space in front of the slot to accommodate the card ). Mmmmph!

  • Ted Tzuridis

    Is there a way to do this if I already have a crouton install. I don’t want to lose all my data..

    • Unfortunately if you do this you will lose your crouton install because you’ll be installing a new hard drive. It sucks but the benefits of having a bigger SSD are worth it in my opinion. Also, the good thing about Chromebooks is that most of the data is stored in the cloud. Just make sure you move the things in your offline “downloads” folder to the cloud or to another USB before swapping SSDs.

  • Maitiú Mc

    I can’t seem to find anywhere, if I can upgrade the SSD on mine. It is CB30-b-104. Any ideas? Any advice massively appreciated.

  • Maitiú Mc

    WARNING to UK users:

    Anyone from the UK, be careful with this post, the Chromebook 2 (2015) referred to here is not the same as the 2015 Chromebook 2 released in the UK. The UK model, CB30-B103/104 are not upgradable. If you have one of these models, I suggest you throw it in the bin or get improve on your soldering skills.

  • Elliana Clermont

    After installing the Transcend 128 gb, I have had problems with chrome where certain pages will never load css and I for some reason netflix and other sites claim my internet is not allowing me to play videos. Is this a result of the ssd? I did not have htese problems before. I have not installed any new os yet either.

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  • RESPAWN

    Thanks for this guide. I’m looking at upgrading my own Chromebook 2 and I was wondering if you knew whether or not an 80mm SSD would fit. The choices in 42mm M.2 SSDs are pretty slim.

  • paulsath

    Why did you list crucial and samsung storage on the list? Those are not compatible with the laptop. We need 42mm M2 ssd for the laptop. Please make adjustment accordingly. I purchased a wrong one because of that.

    • I apologize, some of the 42mm SSDs were out of stock and I replaced them with the wrong links. It has been corrected now.

      • paulsath

        Thanks a lot for replying very promptly. Aside from that, this is a very knowledgeable post, and I’d like to encourage you to keep on doing things like this. Great job!

  • Jeff

    Hi Edreih, Thank you for your post. It was helpful and informative. I have ordered the 128gb myssd for my chromebook and am looking forward to using it with Debian Linux. I also followed your link to installing linux on my chromebook and have some questions for the person who made that page. Specifically, I’m having trouble getting the keyboard backlight working after following her/his instructions. Is there any way you could put me in touch with him if you know him? Thank you.