Introduction The new Asus Zenbook UX32VD comes from the factory with a 32GB "ExpressCache" SSD used together with a Hitachi 500GB 5400RPM mechanical HDD. What Asus doesn't tell you is that the "cache" SSD actually works as a regular SATA-interface disk, only that it's soldered on the motherboard - and thus it can be used for installing Windows 7 on it! The SSD is a Sandisk i100, and is actually a new kind of SSD disk called an iSSD. Here's a brochure with information and a spec sheet. Performance: Up to 450 MB/s 160 MB/s Sequential Read/Write Size: 32GB specified (30GB formatted) MTBF: Up to 4,000,000 hours Interface: SATA III 6Gb/s Features: TRIM support, SMART, Advanced Flash Management, NCQ support Sounds like it's a perfectly good contender for running the OS. Not bad for being a free added treat to the UX32VD eh. This guide will show you how to install Windows 7 on the integrated iSSD. You will effectively get a cool ultrabook setup of a 30GB OS SSD and a 500GB mechanical HDD to use for programs/media or whatever. All UX32VD versions come with this two-drive setup from factory and can be used in this guide. Advantages - Doing a fresh Windows 7 install on the iSSD will make the system MASSIVELY quicker than the preinstalled bloatware Windows 7 that comes with the notebook on the Hitachi HDD. - The Hitachi HDD will sleep while Windows is running on the iSSD, saving power, lowering noise and lowering temperatures. - You can upgrade the HDD while keeping the OS intact, allowing for painless HDD upgrades in the future. - Allows you to have the storage space and economical advantage of a mechanical HDD, while at the same time having the advantage of your OS running on a SSD. - It will give you pretty much the whole SSD experience including ultra fast hibernation/resume, minimal power consumption, silent operation, no additional heat and a very low searchtime. - And most obviously, it's completely free and comes with the notebook! Disadvantages - The Sandisk i100 iSSD does not have a lot of space at 30GB formatted, and won't hold much more than your Windows 7 install and your most used programs. You will have about 15GB free (depending on OS version and if you follow all optional steps) on it after following the guide. - It's not as quick as a 'proper' fullsize SSD. The 4k speeds are markedly lower. It's still a respectable SSD though. What you will need - An external USB DVD/CD reader (preferably), or alternatively a 4+ GB USB stick. - A Windows 7 install DVD/ISO together with a valid license. If you got a license, but no media - look at this page for ISO resources. - Another computer with internet connection to download the drivers from the official Asus UX32VD download page. - You'll also need a USB stick to transfer the driver files over to the clean Windows 7 install on the UX32VD. I used a new Windows 7 Ultimate x64 DVD with activation that I had available. Keep in mind: It's imperative that you need to have a valid Windows 7 install DVD/USB with a valid activation for this guide. For all UX32VD users it should be possible to simply go into the Windows 7 ISO-resource listed above, download the corresponding ISO of the Windows 7 version that your notebook ships with and then simply use the serial that's written on your charger sticker when prompted after installing Windows 7. Remember that you will need the same version as the notebook is shipped with. Additionally, there has been reports that if you use a USB-stick to install Windows 7 it can complain that 'A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing...' during install and won't let you proceed. This is because the Windows 7 install does not contain USB3 drivers to work properly with USB-sticks, and needs them loaded separately. Download the USB3_Intel_Win7_64_Z104225.zip package from Asus UX32VD driver page and extract it either to your USB windows 7 installation stick or any other media. Then you just point Windows 7 to that driver folder when it asks you to. Windows 7 should proceed to install as normal. What's still in testing - The Hitachi HDD will go into sleep mode too quickly because of the APM settings of it. It will spin up to read, and then immediately go into sleep. It is solved it by installing CrystalDiskInfo 5.0.0, and following this guide. It will now adhere to the disk sleep timer settings in power options. CrystalDiskInfo will need to start with the computer since it needs to disable the APM upon every boot, but it does not draw any mentionable system resources and it shows the temperature of the HDD in taskbar so it can be nifty to have regardless. I've noticed that CrystalDiskMark is not always starting at the startup and log on, and to fix that you need to create a Windows task that will make sure that it starts on both boot and log in. After I did this it worked flawlessly. To do this, please follow this guide: Run a Program at Startup and Log On - Windows 7 Forums - The fan seems to be pretty erratic in it's behavior. It's mostly completely silent when writing and browsing, but sometimes it spins up and turns off in a seconds time span. This is a BIOS issue, and we have to wait for Asus to solve it. It's still working though, only slightly annoying in some scenarios. By doing a clean Windows 7 install and installing all drivers I don't think the fans will behave any differently from what they did originally. This is still not solved, and seems to effect all UX32VD's so far - even on the factory installed Windows 7. While trying my best to make this guide as accurate, simple and correct as possible, I take no responsibility of what happens with your notebook. Some of the steps are not for those faint of heart or inexperienced in how computers work. That being said, it is a surprisingly painless procedure and will take probably under an hour. WARNING. There have been reports of a 24GB version of the iSSD being installed on the newest UX32VD. It's doubtful if 24GB offers enough space as a Windows 7 disk, so please be sure to check that you got the 32GB version before proceeding. You can check the size of your iSSD in device manager. This will remove the original Windows 7 install that comes with the notebook and your ability to use the System Recovery partition will most certainly be gone. I strongly recommend to use an external DVD-reader for the Windows installation, since USB-sticks can often cause issues. If you choose to use a USB-stick for installation, be prepared to spend time solving possible Windows 7 installation bugs related to it. I updated the guide above to show a solution to the most common USB-stick installation issue. Also please consider to save a disk clone image of the stock Hitachi HDD on an external disk before proceeding. This can be done with Parted Magic for example and will allow you to return to the factory state even when the recovery partition/tool is not functional. It will probably save you a lot of headache in case something goes wrong. How to do it 1. Boot up your UX32VD. 2. (Optional safety measure) Burn a System Recovery DVD with an external DVD USB burner using the built in tool for that. It's pretty self explanatory, so I won't cover those steps. As I never burned the recovery DVDs, I'm not certain if it will allow you to restore it after following the guide. Do not have high hopes since Asus seem to have made some of the original files on the stock C: Windows install required in order to complete the restore. Don't ask me why, I think it's pretty foolish by Asus to have critical files on the C: disk since any format or modification will render the recovery useless. It's still good to have the recovery DVDs in hand just in case. 3. Right click on My Computer, click on Manage and then navigate to Windows Disk Management in the left window field. Identify which one is the integrated SSD disk. It's the one listed as 29,82GB and is probably listed as 'Disk 0'. 4. You will see that the SSD has two partitions. Right click on both of them and select 'Delete volume'. Now, right click on the drive icon and select 'Convert to MBR disk...' Both hard disks on the UX32VD comes as GPT disks as stock. Windows 7 can't install on GPT disks, so that's why we're changing this. 5. Reboot the computer and hold DEL to enter the BIOS. 6. Navigate to the Boot options screen and select the Sandisk SSD as first (#1) boot device. If the iSSD doesn't show up in the BIOS it's still in GPT-mode and not MBR as it should be, and you can't proceed. You can then do an alternative method listed below. 7. Plug in your external USB DVD/CD reader, insert your Windows 7 install disk and reboot the computer - hold ESC as it boots to enter boot options. You can also plug in a bootable Windows 7 installation USB stick. 8. By booting while holding ESC you should enter a screen where you can choose which device to boot from. Select the one you have your Windows 7 media on and press enter. Windows 7 will now load its installation files and the Windows 7 setup will start. In step 9. you don't actually have to remove the original C: partition on the Hitachi HDD, but the boot orders of the system might clash which makes it confusing. I always prefer to install Windows 7 on a completely clean system, although you can probably leave it until later. How to leave the original Windows 7 installation alone until later: start with DEL to enter the bios, navigate to boot options and disable the Windows Boot Manager boot option (the original Hitachi HDD boot option). Remember that the SSD should be set as #1 boot device. 9. Proceed with the installation until you see the target disk selection screen. You will see many partitions here, and two tasks needs to be done. Before that, verify that the Sandisk SSD probably listed as 'Disk 0' 30GB is not listed with a warning sign. The Hitachi should have a warning sign. If the SSD still have a warning sign it means that it's still in GPT mode and you can't proceed. Now click the advanced options, and make the advanced menu display all the available disk options. First, select the original C: partition on the Hitachi HDD and press format (Warning: This will remove the preinstalled Windows 7 install, only do this if you do not wish to keep it as explained above). Second, format the SSD. 10. Select the SSD and press next. Windows 7 will now install on it. 11. Wait until the notebook has booted into Windows 7. It's now installed and running on the integrated iSSD! Congratulations Alternative method to convert the iSSD from GPT to MBR Follow this guide: How to Secure Erase your SSD with Parted Magic You will need the 6_19 version of the .iso or newer! Proceed to Secure Erase the iSSD. Be very careful when doing this. I've done this and it works perfectly. Driver installation guide I've installed the following driver packs from Asus UX32VD page, and it covers the basics and some more. I've left some out though, like the wired ethernet usb driver - so add that if you wish to use it. Everything listed is tested and works properly. These drivers works for a Swedish version of the UX32VD. It's probably the same for the rest of Europe, but if it's the same in the US is not certain. It's still early and we need more reports to know for certain. Start with installing the 1. Intel VGA driver, and then the 2. Nvidia VGA driver so you get the proper resolution up for the display. Then start from the 3. ATK driver and install them in the stated order from 1-12. Reboot after installing each driver. The rest that are not numbered can be installed in any order at your own discretion. The WinFlash and BIOS packages are only needed if you wish to update your UX32VD bios to 206. How to get more free space on the SSD A. Disable the Hibernation file. 1. Begin with clicking Start, and then type cmd in the Start Search box. In the search results list, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator. 2. At the command prompt, type powercfg.exe /hibernate off, and then press ENTER. Type exit and then press ENTER to close the Command Prompt window. 3. You will now have about 2-4GB additional free space. Instead of hibernation it will S3 sleep, which works so fast that it's allowing the system to resume before you even have time to open the lid fully. It will also save the SSD from unnecessary writes, the only con is that it can use slightly more power while sleeping for long periods. B. Lower the Page File disk usage. 1. Open the Start Menu and go to Control Panel. Click on the System icon and select the Advanced tab. 2. Under Performance, click Settings. Go to Advanced 3. Under Virtual Memory, click Change and select 'Custom size', and enter minimum as 512 and maximum as 1024. 4. Save the changes and reboot. 5. You will now have about 3GB additional free space. The lower Page File size will probably not affect the system performance in any way. (If you've upgraded it to 6-10GB ram you can probably disable the page file altogether) Benchmarks using Windows 7 on the Sandisk i100 iSSD PCMark7 - 3370 points 3dMark11 - 1134 points CrystalDiskMark Cheers, and be welcome to come with feedback. This is still under testing, so I will update the guide with more information as more reports come in. Thanks to jedighost for pioneering and collaborating with how to do this on the UX32VD.