Have you ever thought about how to replace a hard drive by yourself? It is not that difficult and can be done by you even if you have zero technical knowledge.
When I changed my first-ever hard drive many years ago, I wasn’t technically inclined. This means you can also do the same even if you have no technical knowledge.
There are so many reasons why you might want to change your computer’s hard drive. Probably the size of storage currently is too small to contain your files.
It could also be that the current hard drive is failing often and replacing it is the best option to prevent data loss.
If you have been following this blog, you will realize I wrote an earlier article about How long before a hard drive stops working. This should tell you it is just a matter of time before you have to change your hard disk.
Preparing to replace a hard drive
There are a few very important things you must do before replacing your hard drive. Even if you have your replacement hard drive ready, you must do these things before you start the main replacement process.
1. Back up your data
If your hard drive is not completely damaged before replacement, then you have about a 99% chance of recovering your data.
Get an external storage device that has more free space than the size of the files you would like to keep a backup of.
Copy the files you would like to keep to the external storage. If you have application software you would like to back up, do not copy the software installation folder. Copy the Setup or Executable file with the .exe file extension instead.
If you do not have the executable file for your software, then you might want to download it from the online source again after your new installation.
2. Get a recovery disc
Computers with a single hard drive demand that you install a new operating system after replacing the hard drive.
Even if you have multiple hard drives in your system and the one you are replacing is not the local drive, you still have to get a recovery disc on standby in case something goes wrong.
If you have the recovery disc that comes with your computer, you are safe. If not, create one before you start the main replacement process.
You can also create a bootable Pendrive instead of a disc since most computers these days do not even come with a CD ROM, to begin with. Eduhintz.com has some well-explained articles about How to create Windows bootable that you might want to read.
3. Get your tools
You only need a few tools to finish this. First, check the screw heads on your computer casing and find an equivalent screwdriver that can unscrew them.
Next, you will need an anti-static mat or if you like working on a table then that is fine. Just get something that will put some gap between your metal system unit case and the cold floor.
Also, get a pair of rubber gloves. The whole idea of using gloves is to prevent you from transferring some static-electric energy that might build up in your body to the delicate components in your computer.
Get similar gloves to the ones in the image above. These are some very strong disposable gloves I purchased from AliExpress a while back. You can get 20 pieces for as little as $2 if you use this discounted link.
How To Replace A Hard Drive
Finally, we are at the section where you will learn how to replace a hard drive. Follow my steps exactly as I have written them.
- With your gloves on, Turn off your system unit, and disconnect every cable and peripheral attached. Place it flat on your anti-static mat or table. Also, press the power button a few more times to help drain the electric energy that might be stored in some of the Power Pack capacitors.
- I have replaced hard drives countless times. Based on experience, I can say most system units seem to be opened the same way. While this might be true, I will still prefer you check your manufacturer’s website to confirm how you can open the system unit. Then open your case.
- Locate the hard drive bay, and disconnect the power cable and the data connection cable.
- In some system units, you have to unscrew the hard drives before sliding them out. In others, you have to slide the hard drive out before removing the screws. In a few system units, there are plastic clips that hold the hard drive tight in the bay. No matter which yours is, study carefully and remove the hard drive.
- If you have screws attached to the hard drive you are replacing, then remove them and attach them to the replacement drive.
- Fix the new hard drive into the case and reconnect the power cable and data transfer cable.
- Close the system unit and reconnect all the cables you disconnected. At this point, if you had external storage devices connected earlier, do not reconnect them yet.
Booting with the new hard drive
Now that you know how to replace a hard drive and have probably finished replacing it, you must proceed with this last step to have everything running again.
Now, the computer will not boot fully since the new hard drive does not come with an operating system installed. You will end up having an “Operating System Not Found” error on your screen if you try booting.
What you must do next is insert your recovery disc or bootable Pendrive and boot from it. This will start the new operating system installation process.
You can follow this simple tutorial by Eduhintz.com about how to install Windows. It is well-written and can help you if you get stuck with the installation process.
After the installation, copy your files from the backup you created and your computer should be back to its original state.