How to install a laptop harddrive
So you'd like to replace hard drive in your laptop. There are few things you need to consider before attempting to replace hard drive...
Get the right laptop hard drive
You can replace your hard drive with any other brand of hard drive. Laptop hard drives are not proprietary to the computers. Any brand drive will work in any laptop if it fits correctly ... with one exception - IBM laptops require IBM hard drives.
Do all laptop hard drives fit?
The fact is that there is a hard drive almost for every laptop. But not all hard drives fit all laptops. Most places that sell hard drives keep extensive databases on which drives fit which laptops. In order to buy the right hard drive you need to provide them with the laptop brand and model, and they'll look it up in their vendor database for suitable hard drives.
Beware of BIOS Limitations
Issue: Some laptops have BIOS limitations built-in by manufacturers. For instance, if your laptop was originally built with a hard drive smaller or equal to 8GB then your laptop may have BIOS limitations meaning that it will only recognize 8GB out of your new larger capacity hard drive. Resolution: You can remove these BIOS limitations. Go to your laptop manufacturer's web site and download and install the latest BIOS upgrade available for your laptop model. If you can't find a BIOS upgrade for your laptop than get "Drive Overlay Software" at this web site: www.drivesolutions.com/info/aboutbios.shtml. It will over-ride the BIOS limitations.
Backup data before you install your hard drive
You should backup your important data before you install the hard drive. In case of any data loss during the installation, you'll still have your files.
Insure you can Boot your new drive
Create a bootable diskette before you install hard drive. To create one, go to Control Panel, select Add/Remove Programs, and select the "Startup Disk" tab:
You'll need this diskette to boot your new empty drive, and to format it.
Seriously Consider Cloning hard drive
Get a new hard drive and clone it from your old one. Before cloning, make sure that the new drive fits your laptop so you don't waste time cloning onto the wrong drive.
Hard drive cloning will give you these key benefits:
- you won't need a backup or a bootable diskette. The new drive will have all your data and you'll boot off it.
- after you're done cloning, you can re-use the cloning hardware to convert your old hard drive into an external USB drive.
- the cloning process will automatically format and partition your new drive.
Verify screw patterns before you install hard drive
Issue: Many laptop drives have a tray or a caddy attached to it using screws. The tray is not sold with the hard drive. When buying a new drive you want to make sure that the screw hole pattern on your new drive matches the hole pattern on the old tray. Drives larger than 2GB may have a screw hole pattern different from the older smaller drives. On the old smaller drives the screw holes are usually located close to the middle of the drive. On the newer larger drives they are close to the outside of the drive. Resolution: Try to purchase a drive with the same screw hole pattern that is on your old caddy or... purchase a new drive and a matching caddy.
Hard drive heights
Laptop drives from different manufacturers have the same mechanical interface, length, and width. Only different is the height, and it depends on drive's capacity. The standard heights are 9.5mm (2.5"), 12mm (3.5") and a rare 8.5mm. You can replace a 12mm drive with another 12mm or 9.5mm drive (as long as its hole pattern matches your caddy). But to replace hard drive that is 9.5mm or 8.5mm you must purchase the same height drive. See instructions on how to install hard drive next...
First, obviously, turn off your laptop. Tools you need to install hard drive in laptop All you need is a small Phillips screwdriver to install hard drive. Turn your laptop upside down. Remove the screws that secure the drive, take off the cover and take the drive out of its compartment. Snap in your new drive, close the cover and replace the screws... done. Now, different laptops use different options to secure a hard drive in the compartment. Sometimes, it'll be two screws; sometimes one screw only or one screw and a sliding lock. Look at the bottom of this laptop: the hard drive compartment is located to the top right corner of the laptop, there are two screws to be removed.
Install hard drive - 1
The location of the hard drive differs from laptop to laptop. The bottom of your laptop may not look like the one on this picture. Another compartment that also uses screws to secure its inside under a cover would be your memory compartment. But this one will usually have a square or very close to a square shape. So, go for the rectangular shaped cover to replace your hard drive.
Some extra steps to install hard drive
In some laptop models, hard drives are attached to a small tray with 4 screws. If that's the case, you will need to remove the 4 screws that secure the tray, remove the tray from the old hard drive and attach it to the new hard drive with the same 4 screws. Once the new drive is in the rack, slide the rack back into the compartment, replace the cover and secure it with the screws. Done.
Install Hard Drive - 2
Final Steps to install hard drive
Now turn the power on... What happens next depends on whether you cloned the old drive to the new one or not:
- if you chose to clone hard drive than your new drive has Windows already loaded and your laptop should automatically detect it and boot of it as it booted of your old drive.
- if you didn't than since you new drive is empty not much will happen. If you have a Windows XP disk than insert it into the CD ROM drive and boot off that. Otherwise insert your Windows bootable diskette into the floppy drive to boot. The bootable diskette will recognize your new drive and it'll give you the option to format your new hard drive. Then, you'll insert your Windows CD to proceed with the Windows installation program that will do the rest