I've had my shiny new Thinkpad E480 laptop for couple of weeks so it's time to pull it apart, despite this prompting some muttering from my wife and a smirk from my 12yo son, who knows he can now use this as ammunition the next time he pulls something apart within minutes of being given it. Having said that, Lenovo seem very accepting of end-user maintenance. Not only are there no "warranty void if removed" stickers anywhere on the unit, but they even devote an entire section of their handy HTML User Guide to the concept of Customer Replaceable Units. This covers all the items that the end-user can replace in the laptop and is a pretty comprehensive list, from the battery to the I/O board, inbuilt speakers, keyboard, storage, memory and so on. I will be using that guide to install a 2.5" SATA SSD into my Thinkpad E480 today. As an aside, the User Manual says it is for the E480 and R480. There is also a (PDF) Hardware Maintenance Manual which is targeted at field technicians and has more detailed info about procedures not normally performed by end-users. Based on that document and some googling I think my article will be valid for the E480, R480, E485, R485, E490, R490, E495 and presumably an R495 if it is ever released. If you're confused, the xx0 models use Intel CPUs while the xx5 use AMD. The x9x simply indicates a newer and slightly higher-spec CPU than the corresponding x8x model. The Rxxx models seem to be slightly higher spec overall, with nicer trim and more support options than the base Exxx models but use the same chassis and core components. In fact, having looked at some teardowns online the 15-inch E580, E585, E590 and E595 use the same components as well. Is there an R-series equivalent of those? Probably, but we're getting a bit silly now. Anyway, following the Replacing the Hard Disk Drive section of the User Manual, the first thing we do is disable the internal battery. This is to protect the delicate innards of the laptop and also the person doing the servicing. So, we un-tick Fast Startup in Windows and go into the BIOS to disable the internal battery, then unplug the AC adapter. This means the machine will no longer turn on, but once the AC adapter is reconnected this setting will automatically reset and the unit will power up as normal using the button. Next, remove the base cover, which is the entire lower surface of the laptop. There are 9 medium-small captive philips-head screws. Unscrew them all until they don't loosen anymore, but being captive screws they won't come completely out or fall out when you turn the back cover over. For the next step, the guide indicates you "pry up the latches", but there isn't a diagram showing how the latches engage, or any suggestion of how to disengage them or what tool to use. If you've played this game before you will probably own a spudger but personally I recommend a fine guitar pick for this kind of job. It won't damage the plastic body of the laptop or scratch or short any innards it comes into contact with. I find them thin and bendy enough to get where they need to be, but not so bendy that they can't provide enough force to disengage the latches. Also I happen to have a lot of them lying around. Anyway, the technique is simply to push the tool into the gap between the two clamshell halves of the lower chassis in the approximate location of a latch in the User Guide diagram - I started at bottom left. Once you get a feel for how that one disengages, you can work your way around the case bottom until you have disengaged them all and the back cover comes free of the chassis, without any connecting wires or other entanglements. At last we get to see the innards of the beast for the first time. It's a very efficient layout, with the large battery at bottom right dominating the flat area available. The top half of the unit is taken up by the motherboard, with a heatpipe cooler and slimline blower. Across the middle you can see the memory slots, with 1x8GB SODIMM memory installed. The other slot is empty, for future upgrades. At top right is the combined WiFi/Bluetooth card installed in an M.2 socket, which is handy if you want to replace it with a different one in future. The speakers are at bottom right and bottom left, corresponding to thin slots on the now-removed base cover. There's really no wasted space but also no real issues with it, nor did I find any obvious assembly or finish problems hiding under the cover. However today of course we're mostly interested in the large silver rectangle at bottom left, being the 2.5" HDD bay. Directly above that you can see the M.2 NVMe SSD which is the only storage installed so far. A factory upgrade from the default 256GB, it's a Western Digital PC SN720 512GB in the full-length 2280 form-factor. I believe the stock 256GB drive is the shorter 2242 size and comes with a triangular metal bracket to connect it to the same securing screw as a full-length drive. But the 2.5" bay is our focus today, and it's currently occupied by a "Dummy HDD", which even features on the specs list on my invoice. This dummy HDD is provided by Lenovo to exactly take the place of a real 2.5" HDD or SSD, meaning the connectors and brackets etc are all correctly in place in the laptop even if (like me) you did not order a laptop with a 2.5" drive included.