How to Replace Laptop Hard Drive and Reinstall Operating System

People usually replace the hard drives of their laptops for many reasons. However, among these, the most common causes include a failed or failing hard disk, insufficient storage and the need for a faster hard drive.

When choosing a hard drive replacement, you need to consider a lot of factors. This includes the storage capacity as well as the newer interface. Generally, new released hard drives such as the SATA are faster and more efficient compared to the obsolete IDE hard drives. The speed can be attributed to the more rapid rotation of the disk inside the unit. With this at hand, you get to enjoy faster boot up rates and more advanced data transfer technology.

Hard drive

If you have finally decided to change or replace your dusty old hard drive, there are a lot of things to take note and prepare. In this article, we will teach you how to replace a laptop hard drive and reinstall the operating system.

Getting Prepared

As mentioned, before replacing the hard drive, there are some preparations you need to do. The first step is to back up all your relevant data into another drive. The best option would be to transfer or back up your data to an external hard drive.

You can also make use of the backup utility provided by Windows. However, you can also use third-party backup applications such as SyncBack. With this, you need to back up the critical files on your hard drive which include relevant documents, music, videos, and bookmarks.

For Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird browser users, you can make use of the built-in application that allows you to backup all the browsing and email data. For Firefox, they have the MozBackup which can also be downloaded through the browser for free.

For those who are still stuck with the older Internet Explorer browser, you can backup all your bookmarks as an HTML file. Moreover, outlook users can also export and back up emails using the built-in application.

Once you have already backed up all your essential data, you also need to make sure that you have the system recovery disc at hand as well as the Windows Product Key. These things will come in hand when you restore the operating system.

Aside from the recovery disk, you also need to secure the driver discs or the installer files of the applications and programs of your laptop. You can always download the necessary drivers once you have installed the new hard drive and restored the operating system. But to save the hassle, it is better to have these things prepared before you proceed to the next steps.

Another easy way of backing up your files is to produce a backup image of the data and the entire drive and then transfer it to the new hard drive once it is already installed. You can create an image file of the disk through programs such as Norton Ghost.

Choosing a New Hard Drive

When looking for a new hard drive, there are some factors you need to consider.  One of the most important things you need to check is whether your old hard drive uses a SATA or IDE Interface. If you are not familiar with how to determine this, you can use tools. One of the tools you can use is the Belarc Advisor which looks into your system and reveals relevant information about the hard drive and the operating system.

Moreover, you also need to consider the amount of space for your new hard drive. It is best to equip yourself with a hard drive with larger storage space. This is because most programs now use a lot of data which can take a considerable amount of space for your hard drive.

Lastly, we highly recommend you to buy the newer SSD hard drives instead of, the older HDD. This is because they generally perform better and faster.

Installing the Hard Drive

After backing up all your essential data and buying a new hard drive. It is now time to install the new one. To do this, you need to turn the unit over and check the chassis.

Laptops differ in terms of design and form. However, most laptops have an enclosure for the hard drive placed behind the panel which is secured by a couple of screws. You need to remove the screws and reveal the group.

After removing the panel, you can now see the hard drive which is enclosed in a metal cage. A strip of tape or cloth is placed seamlessly under the disc to aid in more comfortable and faster removal of the drive. Carefully remove the hard drive using the piece of tape or fabric. The connector for the hard drive is equipped with flexible pins. When removing the drive, make sure not to twist the pins when lifting the unit.

Take the hard drive out of the cage and then install the new hard drive. Make sure the new hard drive is oriented correctly on the enclosure. Put back the chassis over the back panel. When you want to partition or format the new hard drive, you can do this after setting up the operating system.

Reinstall the Operating System

After putting the new hard drive, the next step is to restore or reinstall the operating system. To do this, you need to turn on the unit and then press the hotkey that will direct you to the BIOS options. Laptops make use of different hotkeys, but they are usually Del or F2. In here, look at the hard drive status and check whether the system was able to pick up the new drive.

After this, navigate to the boot section of the BIOS and then modify the settings so that the laptop will be able to boot from the CD and afterward, the hard drive. After doing the changes mentioned above, click on Save and continue with the bootup process.

Once finished booting up, insert the setup disk we have mentioned earlier. Do the necessary steps prompted on the windows set up and then reboot the unit. After installing Windows and restoring it to its previous state, navigate to the BIOS and then change the booting mode from the “boot from CD” to “Boot to the hard drive.” After doing this, everything is set.