Replacing internal hard drive

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Tom

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It's getting time to replace the internal hard drive in one of my notebooks. I occasionally hear some unusual noises coming form the existing drive, something that's a relatively new behavior for this drive. I've been carrying around a "spare" (new) drive, originally purchased to give increased capacity, but never got around to installing it. I understand the mechanical aspects of installing the new drive, but what do I need to do about the software and data?

Do I merely make a backup copy of the entire contents of the old drive to an external/portable drive (or another PC) and later copy it to the new internal drive? Do I need some software to create an image of the existing drive? Or do I need to reinstall Windows and my applications, then copy the data over (a daunting task)?

Any issues with the different size of the new vs old drive (the new one is larger)?

Hope I'm asking the right questions, or at least ones that will solicit the right answers.

TIA
 

John From Detroit

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There are two parts to replacing a hard drive.... Mechnicial and software

As for the mechincal part I can not advise unless I happen to have expirecne with your laptop.  It varies a lot

For example... I have used a number of Thinkpads... Replacing the HD on these is, mechnicaly very easy. I've also used Compaq and a couple of "off brands" where it's not so easy

As for the software... I strongly suggest using a drive imaging program... The one recommeneded tome, which works quite well. is Acronis True Image.  It will work with FAT (16 or 32) NTFS and Linux partations (the CD is both Linux and Windows) and can be installed on the computer or just run from CD when needed.  Works great

Norton Gost works as well (or so professionals tell me)

With True Image I first make a backup to an external USB hard drive...  Now install the new (Larger) hard drive and with the True Image disc in the CD power on.  One of the options on True Image is "Add new drive" choose it, format your drive, then restore image (you might as well install Acronis secuirty section too) Job done

If you install the Acronis security section your computer will take a bit longer to boot... The screen says "Press F11 for Acronis " or some such  Same as newer Thinkpads
 

Ned

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Johns' suggestion of True Image is good (I use TI for my backups), but I would make at least 2 images of the drive just in case.  My experiences with Ghost were not good (it's another Symantec product) and I cannot recommend it.  The downside of an image backup is when you restore, you will have everything you started with, including all the garbage that has accumulated over time.

Although it's a more lengthy procedure, I would recommend backing up all of your data, then doing a fresh install of Windows to the new drive, followed by your applications.  You can then restore your data only from the backup.

The second method also makes it easier to use a different partitioning scheme for the new drive.
 

Bob Buchanan

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Tom said:
Do I merely make a backup copy of the entire contents of the old drive to an external/portable drive (or another PC) and later copy it to the new internal drive? Do I need some software to create an image of the existing drive? Or do I need to reinstall Windows and my applications, then copy the data over (a daunting task)?

Any issues with the different size of the new vs old drive (the new one is larger)?

Good Morning, Tom:

The copying dilemma is that the OS is in use and interacting with the processor during the copy. So yes, an imaging program solves that problem by exiting the OS and dropping down to a few commands at the DOS level to do the backup image. The recovery does the same thing. I use Norton Ghost and try to run the backup image once a week. There are no problems with size as your new drive is larger.

You may want to consider keeping the OS in one partition and the SW and data in another on the new drive. That way, if you have an OS problem down the line, you can retrieve an image of it w/o messing with the SW and data. I have two 120gig drives that I use for that purpose -- and have both partitioned with C: drive of 15gig for the OS. Actually they are both on the same machine so the image of the OS in on drive E:. I just used it about a week ago to recover from the OS going south and not allowing a reboot on the main drive. Didn't have to reload any SW whatsoever.

There are advantages of just starting over -- as it cleans all the junk out of the system. Once that is done, you could then do the multi-partition, imaging thing for the future.? Last time I had to go that route, it took an entire weekend to get things back in order. Getting updates to WinPro took almost an hour itself.

Good luck either way . . .
 

Tom

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Thanks John, Ned and Bob for those very helpful comments. Good point about the new installs leaving the garbage behind. I already have all/most of the data backed up. If I go the new install route, I'll need to find all my software registration info, some of which is neatly stored in a folder and some is scribbled on notes laying in various places around my office. Similar story with all those login names & passwords that are stored in cookies. (Can I export or copy cookies like I can export browser bookmarks in Firefox?)

Thanks for the partition suggestion. I started to go that route with the new notebook, then changed my mind for various reasons and deleted/removed the additional partition. I'll take my lumps with a single partition.

A question about True Image. I just looked at their web site and they offer the option of a boxed product or a (cheaper) donwload. I'll check places like Fry's first but, if I decided to go with the download option, is that something I can copy to a CD?

Thanks again.
 

Ned

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The major item you'll need is your Windows authentication code.  It's usually printed on the CD sleeve or on the holographic certificate of authenticity.  If you don't have a version with SP2 applied, be sure to apply SP2 before going online to get the latest firewall and other important features.  Then make sure the firewall is on and go to Windows update and get the current hot fixes before installing any applications.

TI is a 38MB downloaded executable.  You could put it on a CD for safekeeping.  I never buy boxed products, much prefer to download the installers.  Instant gratification, you know :)

Cookies are just text files, but I've never tried to copy them.  If you use Firefox, you could just save your profile and recreate it on the new drive.  There is documentation on how to do that at the Mozilla site.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
The major item you'll need is your Windows authentication code.

Ah yes. I have all those (in some cases it's a separate label that was never attached). I just have to figure out which ones belong to which computer (different licensed copies on different machines, some of which are older revs with SP1/2 added and at least one isn't; One moght even be WinMe upgraded to XP with an upgrade pack)  :(

I'll wait until we're home to get any updates or downloads.

TI is a 38MB downloaded executable.

OK thanks. I wasn't sure if it was merely an installer that, when run, goes off to their web site to get the program. I like instant gratification too  :)

If you use Firefox, you could just save your profile and recreate it on the new drive.

I'll check the Mozilla web site as you suggest.

A strange thing happened when I recently exported my FF bookmarks from notebook 1 over to notebook 2. For whatever reason, it changed a bunch of settings in FF on notebook 1, some of which I'm still trying to figure out and I suspect others I haven't found yet. Is that goofy or what? A question for the Mozilla folks I guess.

Thanks again for help.
 

Ned

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The FF bookmarks are all in one HTML file called bookmarks.html.  Copy just that one file otherwise you may be copying profile settings that won't work on the other computer.  Copying should not change anything on the source computer, so something else was going on besides just the copy.
 

Jim Dick

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Ned said:
  I never buy boxed products, much prefer to download the installers.  Instant gratification, you know :)

Ned,

Since I'm on a land line I could start the d/l, go to the store, buy the program, return and install before the d/l would be complete. ;D ;D
 

John From Detroit

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Tom said:
A question about True Image. I just looked at their web site and they offer the option of a boxed product or a (cheaper) donwload. I'll check places like Fry's first but, if I decided to go with the download option, is that something I can copy to a CD?

Yes, the download version allows you to make a CD (of course you must have the "password" for that to work)
(You get the password by E-mail when you register/pay for it)

The cd you make is identical (Digitally that is) to the one they put in the box... Except of course it's the latest update where as the one in the box might well be last year's version

So by all means go with the download.... After all

Why is it some people prefer to buy sod instead of grass seed. ?...................





Instant Grassification
 

Ned

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Jim,

Doesn't TGO have wireless internet access? :)  How quaint using a telephone line.
 

Tom

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Thanks John. I'll download it when we get home tomorrow or Monday.
 

Jim Dick

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Ned said:
Jim,

Doesn't TGO have wireless internet access? :)  How quaint using a telephone line.

Yes, they have wireless for $5.95/day. They do have a $35/month rate and a yearly rate of about  $350. I can also get DSL for $24.85/month which would be much better than wireless since I can't get a good signal from my site. Of course I don't want to have to pay for it for a whole year since we won't be here. May look into it on Monday. The best deal I've found so far is 3 free months but I have to pay $75 for the equipment. Knowing phone companies as we both do, it may take all winter to get it installed! ;D

I don't mind being quaint until it's time for the big d/l.  :)
 

Ned

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Of all the choices, DSL would be the best.  Ask if they have a vacation plan so you can shut it off when you're not there.
 

blueblood

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Jim Dick said:
Yes, they have wireless for $5.95/day. They do have a $35/month rate and a yearly rate of about? $350. I can also get DSL for $24.85/month which would be much better than wireless since I can't get a good signal from my site. Of course I don't want to have to pay for it for a whole year since we won't be here. May look into it on Monday. The best deal I've found so far is 3 free months but I have to pay $75 for the equipment. Knowing phone companies as we both do, it may take all winter to get it installed! ;D

I don't mind being quaint until it's time for the big d/l.? :)

Jim - why not use the cable system ? You can select one of three providers. I choise Earthlink which had 6 MB dowkloads. Cable is free any way so you just pay Internet.

Leo
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Leo,

Actually I haven't checked into the cable but I'm guessing there may be no way to turn it off when I'm gone. Will be sure to check before I do anything. Most of what I do is fine on the land line but the big d/l for upgrading are tedious at the least. Too much of a chance getting dumped half way through. :(
 

blueblood

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Jim Dick said:
Hi Leo,

Actually I haven't checked into the cable but I'm guessing there may be no way to turn it off when I'm gone. Will be sure to check before I do anything. Most of what I do is fine on the land line but the big d/l for upgrading are tedious at the least. Too much of a chance getting dumped half way through. :(

I'm pretty sure I was allowed to turn it off. I used their modem and they allowed me to keep it until my return if I still recall right.
 

Halo

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I often use the "files and settings transfer wizard" built into Windows XP (assuming you are using Win XP). If you remove or manually copy all your music, large files etc from the "My Documents" folder you can usually make an "image" of your profile right to the local hard drive then burn it to a cd (this is assuming you have a burner in youtr laptop. Most do nowadays). Then you install the new hard drive in the laptop, do a fresh install of Windows then import the image you just made also using the "files and settings transfer wizard" in Start>>>programs>>>accessories>>>system tools. 95% of the time it works perfectly. 5% of the time it will miss a lot of email files. I do not know why. But all in all it works pretty darned good and its built right into Windows XP.
 

Tom

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Thanks Halo. Yes, I use XP on all my machines. Haven't used the files and settings transfer wizard, but I'll check it out. Any reason you have to use it often, or are you merely using it as a backup utility?

I don't use the My Documents folder for any of my files, music, or digital images. They're all in other directories and, for the most part, backed up.
 
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