What must I do before I install a new hard drive to protect what I have installed on my laptop? I am at a loss and need help. What is the biggest capacity hard drive I can install? What must I do after I install the new hard drive? Thanks to all who help me.
Any 2.5" 9.5 mm SATA notebook drive will work - currently the largest capacity is 640G (500G if you want a 7200 rpm drive). The WD 750 and 1000 G Scorpios WILL NOT fit the system - they are 12.5 mm high.
After installing the drive, you will need to reload the OS, drivers, patches, and your applications -- and then restore your data from your backups.
I recommend the Western Digital 750GB sata hard drive. I just installed it on a friends Dell Inspiron E1705 laptop. I placed the new hard drive into an external drive caddy with USB connection. I partitioned it into 3 partitions. Partitions 1 &2 are 150GB and the 3rd partition is a 400GB for storage, i.e. my documents, dell drivers for the laptop, a copy of all programs loaded, or whatever strikes you’re fancy. I used Powerquest Partition Magic to partition the hard drive into 2 primary partitions (for dual booting) and 1 logical partition for storage. Then I used xxclone to copy the operating system (C: drive) to the 1st partition and then copied all documents to be saved into the 3rd partition. Then I inserted replaced his old 110 GB HDD with the new one and booted it up. Then I cloned the C: dive to the 2nd partition, then, using the xxclone program I made the 2nd partition bootable and fixed the boot.ini file to make it dual boot. Now when he boots up he has the option which partition he wants to boot to. I did this incase he downloads a virus again and it wipes out his C: drive again. If this happens again, all we need to do is boot to the second partition, format the 1st partition to eradicate the virus problem and, using xxclone, copy the 2nd partition back to the 1st partition. You can recopy the 1st to 2nd partition anytime you make changes to the system, that way you are always covered and by storing your documents in the storage partition, all of your documents are always saved. Now that he is up and running again, just for added safety, I placed another 750GB drive in the external drive caddy and cloned his entire HDD in his laptop to the second HDD just in case of drive failure. I find this added ounce of protection cheaper than the alternative of sending your drive to a recovery company to attempt to recover data for$400 - $1000.