Posted by: David Stewart | October 25, 2008

Oh the disgrace of it all – the laptop hard drive

I am out of space on my laptop.

Having been around the block a few times, I know the end game here. I could go through and move stuff around to other disk drives, but the effort is almost never worth it. Since I am suffering with a “mere” 80GB drive, and when current laptops arrive with 200+GB drives, an upgrade seems in order.

Although scary sounding, it’s fairly easy to do, and I have done it successfully with two other computers.

    <liLBuy a new drive of the correct type,
  • put new drive into a hard drive copy kit.
  • run some disk cloning software to copy data from old to new
  • shut down the laptop and swap the drives
  • Reboot on the new drive, everyone is happy with more space now!

At least, this is the way the script is supposed to go. And as I said, I did it successfully with two other laptops, one of which is my wife’s computer, so I needed to be sure I got it right!

The hard drive copy kit is usually available from a local technology store like Fry’s.

Now replacing the drive on my Lenovo Thinkpad T61 has been an abject failure of monumental proportions. As I write this, I am attempting yet again to make this work, about the 8th or 9th attempt.

The T61’s hard drive uses a different method to connect to the computer. It’s SATA instead of PATA, which just means that the hard drive copy kit I had used before wouldn’t work, because it was designed for the older PATA standard. Fortunately a friend at work had a SATA kit, so I was ready to go.

But the software I used before didn’t seem to work with this new drive.

So what software DOES work? I have tried all kinds of options, including Ghost, ROBOCOPY et al. None of them seem to correctly set up the drive to boot correctly. I heard that you need to run the incantation “fdisk /mbr” to solve this problem. But to no avail, since the /mbr option seems to have been removed from current versions of fdisk.

And the usual crowd of experts have all seemed to be a bit clueless on this topic. Nobody has a success story on making this work!

And since it takes over an hour to copy all 74GB of data from old drive to new, this takes up an inordinate amount of time to make this work. So much of my life is on hold to try to get this to work, that it’s driving me crazy!

Case in point: My latest attempt is on a Saturday afternoon, listening to opera as I try once again with the most current version of Ghost to make this work. Lately, I have come to fear that I may just need to break down and reinstall Windows and all of my applications, a step I really don’t want to take since some of my critical applications may not reinstall… another story there.

We’ll see…

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