Thursday, 6 November 2008

Installing a new Hard drive

How to install a new hard drive.
Sony Vaio with Windows XP Media edition and Sony back up.


To upgrade the hard drive from a 100GB to 250GB without loosing any data, keeping the operating system and back up system intact.

Perceived problems.

Due to it being a laptop project, there is no way to connect two hard drives in parallel. The hard drive is also SATA, so no ribbon cables.
The cloning of the drive would have to be via USB.
Need cloning software (preferably free).

Things to buy before starting.

Toshiba 250Gig SATA drive from
SATA docking station with USB from

Scan the Web

To find free software for cloning.
As part of the search, found free back up software in the form of DriveImage XML from ‘Runtime’ and boot disc software BartPE, from Bart Lagerweij.
Found the ideal program in ‘PC Disk Clone’ from ‘PC Disk Tools’
in Australia. They do several versions for sale and a free one. The free one is fully functional but SLOW.
Downloaded the free version and ran it on the Sony.

The program creates a boot disk in order to copy the hard drive. A nice logo of a sheep. No doubt reference to ‘Dolly’ the cloned sheep.
Follow the on screen instructions and put a blank CD in the drive. After a few seconds after clicking on the ‘Burn a CD’ and the disk logo button, a disk was created.


Set up the computer where it can’t be disturbed for a few hours.
Set up the caddy with the brand new, unformatted SATA drive in it, plugged in, switched on and connected the USB.
Put the disk just created, into the drive and re-start the computer. No need to set the BIOS to pick up the CD ROM drive as it is already set to look there first, if there is a bootable disk in the drive.
When it sets up it looks for the external drive. It said that, if it can’t find the USB just press any key.
This I did. I did try unplugging and reconnecting the USB but no visible acknowledgement on the screen, so I pressed any key.
Not to worry, the next screen showed the existence of the new drive on the USB.
You select the ‘source’ drive from the table, which was at the top of the list.
It showed the partitions on that drive including the hidden one where Sony had stored the recovery data.
Go to ‘next’, then select the Destination drive.
The drive was shown as ‘removable’. Then click next.
The cloning then started and showed 0% for several minutes.
It was SLOW. It took 10 hours!, to copy 100Gb to the new drive. But who cares, it was free and I don’t expect to do this on a regular basis.

Replace the drive.

Once finished and the computer was shut down, it was time to swap the drives.
On the VAIO the hard drive is accessed from under the computer. Remove 2 screws and then the drive slides out from the front. It has to be separated from the mounting plate by 4 screws.
Re-attach the new drive to the mounting plate plug it back in and replace the 2 screws diagonally opposite on the rectangular location.
Switch on. Hey Presto! The computer fired up as if nothing had happened to it. All the desk top and programs exactly in place.
So perfect was the copy that we had exactly the same capacity as before. What has happened to the extra size on the drive?!…..


Using Windows, I went to the Computer management. Found in ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Administrative Tools’ then ‘Computer Management’. Select the ‘Disk Management’ under the ‘Storage’ tree. And there it is!.
The Partitions are shown in a table, all as it should be. The hidden drive, the ‘C’ drive, the ‘D’ drive and there at the end, in black, ‘UNALLOCATED’ all 137Gb of it!
How to use it?

A bit of research on the net, all refers to using proprietary software such as ‘Partition Magic’, all at a price. Ok, if you are doing this as a living, but as a one off I want it for free!
I found a program called ‘Cute Partition Manager’ at
I downloaded it and ran it. It makes a bootable disk so that it can handle messing with the hard drive without falling over itself.
It failed to make the boot disk properly so I selected it to make an ‘*.ISO" file, which it put in my root drive under CPM. I then burnt this to a CD using ‘Nero’.
The disk booted OK and gave a table of the partitions. I couldn’t work out how to expand the ‘C’ drive to make use of the unallocated area, at least not without loosing all the data it had taken me 10hours to put on there!
More research on their site on the web revealed that it couldn’t do it. It couldn’t do much more than the windows system would do anyway and to Re-partition would loose the data.

Back to the drawing board.

Research by Googling ‘Free partition software’ found a company called ‘Easeus’ at or
Navigate to the FREE Partition Manager, Home Edition.
It downloaded and installed itself on the computer.
When you run it, it shows the partitions and you can simply drag with the mouse, using grab handles on the graphics. Brilliant!
I had to do it in several stages as the unallocated partition was at the end, after the ‘D’ drive.
I wanted a big ‘C’ drive and not so big ‘D’ drive.
So I first made the ‘D’ Huge, dragging the end of the partition right to the end of the line, using up all the unallocated space.
Then I made it small again by dragging the beginning away from the end of the ‘C’ drive.
I then expanded the ‘C’ drive to take up the slack. Almost as easy as saying it!
Then click on the ‘apply’ button. Then computer then shuts down and reboots.
Very clever that it doesn’t need an external drive like a floppy or CD. (It must retain the program in memory and run from there).
Anyway it re-booted and shows a display on how it’s getting on. It did it in three stages and took little more than 10 minutes.
It then re-booted and everything was OK. After a second re-boot to acknowledge what it saw as a new hard drive, a look in ‘My Computer’ shows a nice big ‘C’ drive and ‘D’ drive.
All is well.

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