For a long time, when you needed to replace your hard drive, you had to pack up the whole system and send it off to the manufacturer or a local dealer and this meant doing without your computer for a while. This also meant you would pay a fortune depending on the person who did the work for you. Luckily, most notebooks today allow unrestricted access to their hard drives. Here is a way to replace your hard drive without parting with your computer or incurring huge expenses.
Step 1: Understanding the basic requirements
Most modern laptops have hard drives that are 2.5 inch wide except for the very slim ultraportable ones. Modern laptop upgrade drives also conform to the same size factor and rotations of 4,200rpm, 5,400rpm and 7,200rpm with space of about 300GB or more. All other factors constant, a higher spin rate offers more performance. Drive prices are determined by their storage capacity, rpm and cache. Well, the higher the specifications, the more costly the drive. Higher performing drives are more expensive but offer extra features for example enhanced shock protection and encryption.
Other than high performance and more storage space, the most important determining factor for your drive is its compatibility with your laptop’s drive controller. Laptop systems use SATA and ATA/IDEA interfaces. There is a connecter that inserts in the laptop’s hard drive bay that must be detached from the old drive and into the new one.
Other drives may use a ZIF connector built into the drive. If your old drive uses this, then you should make sure your new drive uses the same connector. An alternative would be to purchase a converter that supports the two interfaces but the best option is to match the interfaces without it since you might have to deal with tight or limited space offered by your laptop.
You should also take note of the overall thickness of your new hard drive, as it will determine whether it fits into your machine. If unsure of the measurements of the old drive, you can check online for the specifications or carry the old one with you when going to purchase the new one then compare. Just make sure you do your research before buying anything.
Step 2: Back up your files
Assuming your old drive still works, there are various ways of transferring data from it to the new one. You can use backup software like Genie Backup Manager Pro to back up and restore your files from an external drive. You can also copy your files to blank CDs or DVDs but this might be very time consuming if you have a lot of data on your system. Another way would be to use an online service like MozyHome Online Backup to store your files before installing the new hard drive. However, this method might also be inefficient and slow for large files since large files might take too long to upload.
Step 3: Remove the old hard drive
It is very easy to remove a laptop hard drive. All you need is a set of jeweler’s screwdrivers. To avoid accidents, unplug the laptop from the power source and remove the battery. Flip the laptop over and locate a removable panel or hard drive release mechanism. You can refer to your user manual for instructions on how to remove the drive physically. You can also check out web forums for firsthand reports. Once you remove the drive, you will need to extract it from the caddy and attach the rails to the new drive. You have to be careful not to damage the signal pins as it may render the drive nonfunctional.
Step 4: Install your new drive
After removing the old drive, you now need to install the new drive in the opposite direction you removed the old one. The drive should slide smoothly and make a faint click as it engages the connectors. Once it is installed, you need to fasten the screws you removed earlier.
Step 5: Configure the new drive
Next, you have to power up your machine. The new drive, should automatically be detected by the system BIOS. You might need to update a few drivers but your system should be ready to use now. You can now insert the disc you used as a bootable backup or install a clean windows installation. Next, you can install your applications and restore your old files then enjoy new speeds and high performance
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