If you’ve ever needed to upgrade or replace a hard drive on a desktop, you’ve probably spent sleepless nights wondering how you were going to do it. You’ve probably also spent sleepless nights filling your hard drive up with worthless junk in the first place. No doubt, a problem too, but we’ll save that for another article on insomnia. Now, back to the point: How to Upgrade Your Hard Drive.
Upgrading Your Hard Drive
Your Old Hard Drive is Damaged or won’t bootWould if your old drive is damaged or corrupted and you are no longer able to boot into Windows? The chances are good you still want to recover as much of your useful files as possible, but you will need to find some other way to do it.
You Need to Upgrade or Replace a Notebook Hard DriveLaptops use 2.5″ hard drives and most of them do not allow you to have more than one connected at the same time. You’d like to borrow or use a desktop computer, but the 2.5″ IDE or Laptop SATA connectors won’t work inside a standard PC. By now, you’re probably asking, ‘what are my other options for upgrading my stupid hard drive?’
Other Options For Upgrading Your Stupid Hard Drive
USB Drive EnclosuresYou could use an external USB drive enclosure, but that means you will have to be installing and uninstalling hard drives to get the data copy or drive image to and from one to the other. You could buy two drive enclosures which is kind of a waste of money unless you intend to put them to good use as backup drives later.
DVD or CD Backup DisksCopying to DVD or CD is a slow, painful and 90’sish thing to do. Also, you will need to use an imaging software program to span the data over several disks – and depending on the size of your music collection or the number of sleepless nights you’ve spent on your computer, that could be well over 100 disks.
- An Online Backup Solution such as Carbonite Onlineis a great way to back up your valuable data for safe-keeping, but it won’t help us completely restore an Operating System to a new Hard Disk.
That said, the absolute best scenario is that you have been using Carbonite Online, and your data is safely backed up before proceeding. I know from past experience, no matter how careful you are handling, swapping and moving programs from one hard disk to another, disaster is just around the corner.
How Do I Upgrade My Hard Drive?
The BYTECC Hard Disk adapter is quite a nifty little gadget that allows you to easily and quickly plug internal hard drives into a USB port of any computer. This one, little $25.00 adapter can connect up to four different drives:
- 3.5″ Desktop IDE
- 2.5″ Notebook IDE
- 3.5″ Desktop SATA
- 2.5″ Notebook SATA
So, whether you need to upgrade a Notebook or Desktop Drive – and no matter what type of interface, the BYTECC USB Adapter will let you do the job. It’s as simple as plugging your drive’s interface into one of the four connectors on the back of the adapter. A 4-pin power connector is included for 3.5″ IDE Desktop Drives. 2.5″ IDE Notebook drives simply plug into the data connector. Nothing could be easier. For my own project, I needed to upgrade a 40GB Notebook Hard Drive which had simply ran out of diskspace. I plugged the data connector of the notebook drive into the BYTECC adapter, then the USB Connector into an available USB port on my desktop computer. Like any USB device, it took a few seconds, made a pleasant beep, and voila..well almost. I was not able to view the hard drive until I rebooted the machine. I noticed that I did not have to reboot ever again. Once the drive was recognized the first time and Windows made the proper installation, it remembered what to install each subsequent time I plugged-in and removed drives. It really is a very quick and painless process. Windows automatically assigns a drive letter and you can view, read, write and copy to it just like you would any of your internal hard drives. As for what method and what software to use, BYTECC Leaves that up to you. I will give you some of my own experience:
Hard Drive Upgrade Software
- Either by creating an entire image of your drive, then restoring it to the new drive or
- Directly copy or clone the old drive to the new one.
Backup or ‘Imaging’ Software makes it possible to boot from the hard disk of the computer that needs to be imaged or copied. Making a complete image file of your hard drive and storing that image on an external backup drive is a beautiful way to insure that the entire working contents of your hard drive are safely stored in a place other than the two hard drives (old and new) that you are copying and restoring to. One thing to note: Imaging a drive can take a long, long time. 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 hours or more depending on how much data is on your drive. My own 30GB Notebook drive which was 99% full, averaged 1-3 hours to complete an image using the various software programs I tried. There are a variety of Drive Imaging program and many of them are free. However, free doesn’t always work and is usually much harder to use. Do you really want to wait 2-6 hours while your drive is being copied only to have it fail after it’s 98% complete? This is what I experienced a few times with the free software. Also, the free programs don’t give you much guidance. For instance, using a free program called, Drive Copy XML, I actually was able to complete a full backup and restore it to my new disk. However, I was unable to boot from my new drive even though all of the contents looked identical to the old one. I am still uncertain if the program failed or if I failed to something correctly.
Acronis True Image
BYTECC USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Adapter Kit Conclusion
Among the many troubles and hours spent working with various drive image software programs, this gadget gave me no problems at all. The usefulness of this gadget exceeded my expectations. It’s fast, easy to use, and versatile. I can think of many other uses for it: migrating data, backing up data, defragmenting drives, testing drives from bad computers, etc., etc. If there are any complaints at all, the connections and build seem a little less than solid, but certainly nothing to be overly concerned about at this price. What can I say? It works! Even if were to only use this unit one time, it was more than worth the $20 I paid for it at Micro Center. The Bytecc USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Adapter Kit is a must-have for Computer Techs.
Ratings: Bytecc USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Adapter Kit
- Usefulness: 100
- Workmanship / Build: 78
- Setup / Installation: 95
- Value: 100
- Overall: 93