Upgrading or Replacing a Hard Drive (Part 1)

000 - computerThere comes a time when the computer hard drive is unable to hold any more data on it, it has become full because of all the movies and music files on it. So now it’s decision time, what needs to be deleted to make more room. There is another alternative, and that’s to upgrade the hard drive to a bigger model.

In this article I’ll be looking at the preparation for upgrade, saving all the data that’s been acquired on disk to date.

So to understand the problem, where has all the hard drive space gone? It’s all used up by different parts of the computer:

  • The operating system (often Windows) will use up a significant amount of space, and even more than the original installation as more of the necessary updates arrive each month.
  • The programs, all the necessary programs you’re using, and the unnecessary  ones that you installed, then removed again because they weren’t what was expected, along with all those that can be added from the “free” programs downloaded form the internet.
  • Then there’s the important stuff, the photographs music and videos you are storing on your computer.
  • And not to forget all the email that keeps arriving in your inbox, but never gets deleted.
  • and so it goes on…

So now its time to prepare for the upgrade. This upgrade is going to take a complete copy (or image) of your disk, then restore it back again. The computer upgraded here was running Windows 7, if you have a different operating system, the screenshots may be a little different, but he concept is the same.

What’s required in the first instance?

  • Someplace to store that the image (probably most suitable here is an external drive connected through a USB port).
  • A CD to start the computer again once the new drive has been installed.

Got everything, then start by plugging in your external drive to the USB port, and going to the control panel and click on “Backup the Computer” or “Backup and Restore”

001 - cpanel002 - cpanel

This opens the Backup and restore facility in Windows.

003 - Backup & Restore

Next click on “Create a system image”.  This process will create a complete disk image of the disk drive that Windows boots from, this includes any other partitions (subdivisions) of the drive that are not part of the Windows system but may be used for other purposes such as local data storage, of system recovery. Allow the program to search for a storage location.

004 - System Image005 - System Image

From the available storage locations listed, select your external drive, and click on next. That’s it, the system image creation has started. Leave this running until complete, all of the disk will be added to the system image.

006 - Backup007 - Backup

On completion on the creation of the disk image,  has been fully created you will be prompted to create a system repair disk.

008 - System Image

This disk will allow you to boot the computer from another source, in this case it will be a CD. Once created this disk will contain a minimal Windows installation, and some diagnostic and recovery tools, one of which will allows the restoration of  a system image onto a disk. Insert a blank writable CD into the CD drive, select the CD/DVD drive as the destination, and click on the Create Disk button.

009 - System Repair010 - System Repair

Let the disk be created and eject the disk.

And that’s it the backup is ready, now it’s a case of reinstalling onto the new drive. A word of caution however, if you make any further changes (save new files or programs) these will not be included in the backup, and the process must be done all over again.

So it’s now time to switch off the computer and replace the computer hard drive with the new one. In the next part of this I’ll be considering the restore onto the new disk.

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