How to upgrade the SSD and reinstall Windows on your ROG Ally or Ally X

Jun 09, 2023 Written by:ROG Article

The ROG Ally and ROG Ally X let you bring your games with you anywhere you go. But if you have a particularly massive library and like to jump around from game to game, you might want to upgrade your storage. While a microSD card can take you far, the Ally’s SSD storage is also upgradeable, so you can swap in a new drive on your own. Here’s how.

This is part of our ultimate guide to the ROG Ally series of articles. 

Step one: gather your parts

To swap your SSD, you’ll need a couple things: 

  • A size 0 Phillips head screwdriver 
  • A guitar pick or other piece of thin plastic 

Of course, you’ll also need an SSD. The ROG Ally is compatible with compact 2230 M.2 NVMe drives, which you can get in 1TB or 2TB sizes at your favorite e-tailer or brick-and-mortar PC hardware store. If you have an ROG Ally X, you'll need a 2280 M.2 NVMe drive instead.

Note that we’ll be reinstalling Windows from scratch in this guide, and is the method we recommend for installing a new SSD. If you want to keep all your existing data, you can use an external SSD enclosure to clone your current drive to the new one, but we won’t detail those steps here. There are plenty of drive cloning guides around the web if this is the route you choose to take. 

Step two: open your Ally

Before you get to work, discharge your battery to 25% or below and remove any microSD cards that might be in the slot. 

Once you’ve done so, it’s time to see what’s inside. We’ve included photos below, but you can also follow along with our teardown video above. The process should be the same for both the Ally and Ally X, except where otherwise noted.

The back side of the ROG Ally, with a hand unscrewing one screw.

Place your Ally face down on a soft surface and grab your small screwdriver. Undo all six screws along the back side — three along the top, three along the bottom. Place them in a small bowl or tray so you don’t lose them. The bottom middle screw won’t come out all the way — this captive Pop-open screw helps lift the bottom cover off the case. Once it’s loose, you should be able to remove the bottom panel and the screw will stay attached to it. 

The bottom of the ROG Ally, with a guitar pick separating the top and bottom case.

If the bottom panel doesn’t pop open all the way with that last screw, you can use your guitar pick to undo the clips holding the case together. Insert your guitar pick in between the two panels and slide it along the length of the case to undo the clips.

The inside of the ROG Ally X, with a white ribbon cable connecting the two panels.

If you're opening an Ally X, be careful not to tear the ribbon cable that connects the motherboard to the back panel. Set the back panel aside. 

A hand using a spudger to undo the battery retaining clip inside the ROG Ally.

Next, you’ll want to disconnect the battery for safety. Lift up the black flap between the fans and, using a spudger, pry tool, or even your guitar pick, slide the metal retaining clip back, then pull the battery connector upward and out of its socket. 

A screwdriver inserted into the M.2 screw of the ROG Ally's SSD.

Underneath the black flap between the fans, you’ll find the SSD. Remove the screw holding the drive in place, gently slide the SSD out, and slide your new SSD in. You can then secure it using the same screw. 

When you’re done, plug the battery connector back in and close the device up, ensuring all the clips snap back into place and all the screws are screwed back in. 

Step four: reinstall Windows with ASUS Cloud Recovery

With the device closed back up, remove any SD cards and plug your Ally into the wall using the included 65W charger. Then, hold the volume down button and press the power button to turn the device on. It should boot into the BIOS menu. 

The ROG Ally's BIOS screen, with the ASUS Cloud Restore option highlighted.

Press the Y button to exit EZ mode, then navigate to the Advanced tab. Select ASUS Cloud Recovery and press A to begin the process. You’ll have to connect to Wi-Fi to begin the download, and it may take some time, rebooting multiple times during the process.

A screenshot of the Armoury Crate SE game library, with many games installed.

Let your Ally download and install the image, and when it’s done, you’ll be able to set up your Ally as if it were a brand new device — with even more space for all those games. For more tips and tricks, check out our full guide to the ROG Ally.