Replace Your Hard Drive
Although many PC repair shops would have you think
that replacing your own hard drive is a difficult, laborious task, it
often is not such a big deal. On more specialized systems, such as those
with RAID configurations or multi-drive servers, a definite technical
expertise is necessary. These computer systems are generally an expensive
enough of an investment that only professionals should be touching them.
But, for a basic PC, upgrading or replacing your hard drive is often a
very easy exercise, which many PC repair shops will charge up to $100
When To Replace
There are certainly many reasons why you may want to replace your hard
drive. If you have an old hard drive, as an example, there are a lot of
reasons why upgrading is a superb concept. First of all, older drives
are slower. Often, your system's performance may be slowed by your old
hard drive. They simply spin slower, and in many cases, have poor data
transfer rates compared to the hard drives of today.
What's more, over the past five years, hard drive technology
has advanced markedly, with the average size of a new hard drive being
at least 80GB, with some models actually going to a "terabyte" (1024GB)
in size. Needless to say, your old 2GB drive simply cannot compare with
a new hard disk drive.
Another good reason to replace your hard drive is when you begin to hear
noises emanating from the drive itself. This may include buzzing or clicking
noises, or simply odd sounds. This is usually a case of the drive's heads
failing. This is an internal problem, and certainly cannot be fixed, but
in many cases is a prime symptom of a drive that is about to fail.
At Hard Drive Recovery Group, we always recommend that
people enable their computer's S.M.A.R.T. system (Self-Monitoring Analysis
and Reporting Technology), which will ensure that if a physical hard drive
problem is beginning to occur, it can be detected immediately before the
need for drive recovery. This can save
you money and time and ensure you don't have to recover your data through
a professional service. This is usually a system you can activate within
your PC's BIOS.
Adding A New Drive To Windows
Adding a new drive to your Windows-based PCs is actually quite easy. Most
popular brands of hard drive, including Western Digital, Samsung, Fujitsu
and Maxtor brands, have easy to follow instructions on the step by step
installation of your new hard drive. When replacing a drive, however,
there are files which must be transferred, and then possibly the new drive
will need to become the boot drive.
Copying files from your old hard drive to the new one is not as easy as
you would think. Windows does, mostly for security purposes, lock up many
system files to ensure that they aren't accidentally deleted. This means
that while Windows is running, you generally will not be able to copy
In order to install and replace your hard drive, it's best to take a rather
indirect route. Start by installing the new hard drive as a second drive.
Use the instructions that came with the drive. In DOS, which you should
be able to access using a Windows 98 startup disk, use the xcopy, or even
better, the xcopy32 program, in order to transfer the files from your
old disk to the new disk. What you must know is that transferring the
locked files intact and with the exact same file names is absolutely essential.
Using the Microsoft Backup program, you will definitely want to backup
your entire Windows directory, which is likely located at c:\Windows,
or whatever directory you installed it to. Also, make sure you backup
your registry and personal documents. It is best to save your backup file
to the new drive.
If you have copied the files in DOS using the xcopy32 program, you should
now be able to boot up your new hard drive (you must, of course, change
the jumper or cable location of your new drive if you are using the "cable
select" function). Everything should work (as long as xcopy32 copied all
of the files over) fine, as your old drive has been effectively mirrored
to your new one. But, in cases where you are having difficulties (and
with Windows PCs, this happens) you may want to reinstall your operating
system from its CD-Rom. Having a fresh operating system install is always
a good thing, as it can repair files and remove older files which may
Once you have successfully rebooted, you should restore your "backup"
files, including your My Documents folder. In a case where you did not
mirror your old drive, and reinstalled Windows, you may have to install
new drivers for your hardware. This is usually easy to do, especially
if you have an Internet connection.
Replacing a hard drive is a superb thing to do, and can be done by almost
anyone with a decent degree of computer installation knowledge. But, certainly
if this task is something which you feel might be "above your head", we
definitely recommend you have a professional do it. Knowing when you are
outgunned will save you lots of time, and a potential need for hard drive
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