Regardless of how large your current laptop hard drive is, you will eventually run out of space. Computers tend to start acting strangely when their hard drives get too full, so prevention is the key.
Always avoid purchasing used hard drives; these devices take a lot of abuse and you don’t want to take a chance with your priceless data. The cost of laptop hard drives has dropped significantly, so a 500 GB replacement hard drive can be found online for around $70 in late 2010. I have seen them sell for $55 during online sales, so invest in the largest hard drive that you can afford.
Things You’ll Need:
Replacement Hard Drive
System Restore Disc Set
Small Phillips Screwdriver
If you have not created a set of System Restore Discs (also known as System Recovery Discs), you will need to do so before you upgrade your laptop’s hard drive. These discs will be needed to properly reinstall your computer’s operating system and drivers. If you are unable to make a set of Restore Discs for your computer, contact your computer manufacturer to obtain a copy, or visit RestoreDisks.com to purchase a copy from them.
Take the pen and paper and write down the names of any programs that you use on a regular basis; programs such as iTunes and the Amazon Kindle application will need to be deactivated before you upgrade the hard drive and their data backed up. Jot down any registration codes you need when installing your software.
Back up all of your files onto external media like an external hard drive or blank CD/DVD discs. Microsoft Windows comes with a Files and Settings Transfer Wizard (Called Windows Easy Transfer in Windows 7) that will assist you in backing up all of your files and settings.
Place the first of the System Restore Discs within the optical drive and close the bay.
Turn the laptop off and close the cover.
Unplug the power cord and remove the battery before placing the laptop on a clear surface with the bottom side up.
Unscrew the small Phillips head screw holding the hard drive door in place, and remove the hard drive cover.
Remove the hard drive from the bay by gently sliding backwards until it disengages from the computer. Lift the hard drive up and out of the bay.
If the hard drive was in a caddy or has any rails or attachments, remove these and place them upon the new hard drive.
Place the new hard drive into the laptop, gently pressing until the connectors engage.
Replace the hard drive cover.
Replace the battery, reconnect the power cord and place correct-side up on a flat surface.
Press the power button. The laptop will boot from the first Restore Disc.
Follow the instructions on your Recovery Discs to reinstall your operating system.
Reinstall any third party programs you have on your list.
Restore the files you backed up.
Establish an Internet connection and download any necessary updates.
Observe static prevention procedures to protect your computer and the hard drives from static discharges.
You can insert your old hard drive into an external case to convert your old hard drive into an external drive.
Use care when handling your laptop and the hard drives; a drop could kill them!
“Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, Second Edition;” Scott Mueller; 2006
“Upgrading and Repairing PC’s, 15th Edition;” Scott Mueller; 2004.