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Woodythepecker

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I have been using my sons Packard Bell ( XP Home Edition)laptop which has only got 2gb's of its 20gb hard drive left.

I am a complete novice when it comes to computers and as i want to upgrade the hard drive, i hope that someone can point me in the right direction.

So far i have learnt that i have 3 ways to improve this situation.

The first being to remove and install a bigger hard drive. If i took this route what would be the biggest drive i could fit?, What sort of speed (4,200rpm, 7,200rpm) should i go for and as there is not much room inside a laptop would it be a wise move to get a pro to install it?

Secondly there is a external hard drive with USB2 connection. Can i connect any external drive to the laptop or do i have to buy a special one. I might have got this wrong, but i am sure that i read in the instruction manual to Norton internet security and in System Works 2005 that these programs will not cover external drives, does this sound right?

Finally someone told me that the best and cheapest way would be to get a ordinary pc INTERNAL hard drive and install it in one of the empty boxes you can buy. This would then be connected to the laptop externally (How?) but would act as a internal drive. Would this option be any good?

Any advice or other options would be welcome.

Regards

Woody
 

blurk99

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Hi DW

an external drive carrier should just connect with a USB or Firewire cable

http://www.span.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=20_33

as to the size (GB) of the drive i shouldn't think you'll have a problem if it's already got 20GB - the drive size limit problem only applies to older machines - and then i think it was partly to do with Windows software anyway (i think, don't quote me), and the physical sizes of drive are laid down by industry standards - 2.5" etc... so it shouldn't be a problem

http://www.span.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=23

as to the drive 'type' you'll need to check the documentation or website support pages for whether the bios revision installed supports certain types/speed etc... eg IDE, ATA, SATA, SCSI etc..

also check whether the notebook will support 'booting' from a cd on a brand new drive to install the OS on the new drive - we've got a toshiba portege that doesn't (and it's soooo modern it doesn't come with a damned floppy drive does it? :x )
 

RogerS

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Woody

It depends on what you want to achieve. If you just want additional storage for files etc then an external drive will work fine. LaCie do a range, for example, and if you plug it into your USB or Firewire port then XP should pick it up without any problem.

I can't comment re Norton and external drives as I don't use Norton...but there are s/w utilities that allow you to scan external drives for nasties....but your anti-virus/firewall s/w on the laptop will be protecting both laptop and hard drive anyway.

One option would be to go go to an official supplier/repairer for your laptop and get them to install a larger drive. and port your data over. Room inside laptops is very tight but some laptops are designed to replace the harddisk as a plug-in unit without having to strip the laptop apart. Even if your's is of this type then you will still have the problem of getting all your data back onto the drive. Plus if your laptop vendor is of the usual ilk then you won;t have a 'proper' copy of the OS to re-install..I see the opportunity for a major amount of heartache here if you're unlucky.

But...have you tried cleaning up your existing drive? What is filling up the 18Gb? Have you cleared out all the temp files? Deleted IE caches etc? Or is it full of MPEG's? Could you burn the Mpegs to CD and so reclaim the space?

If you can do this then remember to defragment the drive afterwards (you will need at least 3-4gb free to do this). Microsoft has a tolerable utility called Disk Cleanup or similar. I can;t remember exactly what it's called but it'll be there in the Accessories menu somewhere I think.
 

chiba

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I'd be tempted to just whack in a new HDD instead of getting an external housing. Swapping a 2.5 inch drive's not that tricky, but most computer shops can do it for you, and maybe even "ghost" your current hard disk over to the new one. You can get 80GB drives, even 100GB, in a variety of spin speeds. Something like an 80GB/5400 drive will see you fine for some time, I'd have thought. The main prices you pay for higher spin speeds, and capacity to some extent, are heat and noise. Be careful. You don't want to overheat your laptop, so maybe 4200 is a safer option, although the latest 5400 speed drives claim 4200 heat levels. Noise is a personal thing, but some manufacturer's drives are quieter than others, so maybe read a few online reviews first?

As to external drives... I fool around with video editing and photography and have four in total - three Firewire and one USB2. Another's on order. :roll: I swap and switch them between my PCs and Mac with no major problems, but if you're only on PC then USB2 is definitely the way to go, as IMHO Firewire can be a bit temperamental on PCs. You sure you have USB2, right, not just USB? Just checking! You can get a 7200 speed drive with 8megs of cache, but to be honest most USB2/Firewire controllers will have difficulty sucking data that fast, and they run *hot* (and noisy). Again, perhaps err on the side of 5400 speed, maybe 120GB? No idea on UK pricing, but they run at about 40 quid here. Cheap as chips. External cases another 30-40 quid?

Another option is get an external 2.5" housing as well as a new hard disk for your laptop, then just pop your redundant 20GB disk into it and you can drag stuff over to a newly installed OS on your laptop. Very clean. :D
 

RogerS

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All good points Chiba but remember that Woody - by his own admission - is a novice at computers. I agree with you that if he can find a shop to do the swap for him then that is the logical way to go BUT..chances are that the so-called 'backup' disks that came with his laptop won't make life easy to do this.

Another reason to buy a Mac! Comes with full software.
 

Woodythepecker

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Jim, i don't know if this laptop will support booting from a cd onto a brand new drive to install the operating system, where could i get this info from?

Like your Toshiba this doesn't have a floppy disk drive either. It is just over a year old so would you expect to find one on it?

Roger, Yes the vendor of this laptop (Packard Bell) is of the usual ilk, because not only did they not supply a "proper" copy of the OS (XP Home Edition) but they didn't even supply a disk. Instead they have left a backup partition on the hard drive, which will return the OS and other programs to factory spec if i need it to.

Roger, as you will see below i have tried doing a few things to clean up the harddrive, and as for the usage of the 18gb, 12 or so gb's were already filled when my son purchased the laptop and the other 6gb's or so we have used by installing various programs since.
I regularly clean out the temp files eg. "control panel, internet optitions, delete files, delete cookies? "
What are the MPEGS you talk of?

Also you state that i should defrag the drive (which i do regally) but what i do not understand is when you say that i need at least 3-4gb's to do this, can you explain?
I also use Disk Clean up, although i am always a bit nervous that i may remove something i shouldn't.

As well as using the Windows programs to remove the rubbish i also use the tools in Norton SystemWorks Premier such as One Button Check Up, Clean Sweep etc.

Chiba thanks for the tips, especially the speed and heat problems.

Roger will the fact that the OS/backup disks are in a partition on the hard drive, and not on cd-roms be a problem?
I read in the instruction manual that i can down load this backup partition onto cd-roms and that this will free up the 2 or 3gb's, but i am worried that if i make a mistake i will lose everything, because it also states that once i have done this the backup programs will automatically be removed. This means that i won't get a second chance.

My son also has a pc, and when he got it the OS was millennium Edition. In the end he had so much trouble with it, he bought XP Pro, removed ME and installed that, and he has not had a problem since. The downside, if you can call it that , was that he lost some of the original programs, but that did not seem to bother him.

My question is if it comes to it can i install the same XP Pro on this laptop? I know that Microsoft might not like it, but surely they realise that a lot of people have both a pc and a laptop and that these people don't want to buy 2 of everything.
While on the subject would we be allowed to install the Norton programs on both computers?

Regards

Woody
 

blurk99

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Hi Woody

our toshiba is about 3 years old and for some reason it has to have the drivers for the CDROM installed before it'll recognise the drive, as yours is more modern you may not have that problem - pretty much every desktop machine will support booting from a CD if it's made in the last 5 years or so but for whatever reason the laptop / notebook manufacturers seem more variable on this (a dell P3 i had did, a compaq P4 at work doesn't and the Toshiba....) i found out 'the hard way' the other night about the toshiba but fortunately i was able to use the recovery console option in win2k to remove the messed up xp install. It may be worth looking at your local pc world if you have one - they'll fit most parts for about £30 on top of the price of the doodah you buy

jim
 

chiba

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I also suffer at the hands of a Toshiba laptop, a Libretto. No disks came with it whatsoever, so now that I want to reinstall XP from scratch I'm hosed, as it uses all manner of bespoke hardware bits that need custom drivers. So, it's going to get Linux put on it, once I've sourced a Tuit. This is apparently essential when you want to boot from an external USB CDROM. 8)
 

chiba

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I *think* you can do this with Norton Ghost:

1. Get a 2.5" external USB2 housing.
2. Install a big new hard disk in it.
3. Boot off the Norton Ghost floppy and clone your internal hard disk onto the new one. Assuming you can source a floppy drive...
4. Shut down and swap the hard disks.
5. Boot up with the new hard disk.

Another option is to plug *both* 2.5" disks internally into somebody elses desktop PC (you'll need 3.5->2.5 IDE adaptors), then use Ghost or something similar to clone from old disk to new.

I think, on the whole, that taking it to your friendly local PC nerd might be the simplest option...
 

sxlalan

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Hi Woody

If you live in the Yorkshire area I would be happy to ghost your drive across for you

Cheers

Alan
 
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Woody

Laptop hard disk install is very easy

You cannot fit the same size drive as in your desktop PCs and you will probably struggle to get 7200rpm

60GB 2 1/2" UDMA100 hard disk is quite cheap form www.dabs.com

Contact manufacturer first to make usre your BIOS supports both UDMA100 and 60GB drive capacity
 

Woodythepecker

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Alan, many thanks for the offer but sadly i don't live anywhere near you. The offer is very much appreciated.

Roger thanks for the link and info.

Jim, Chiba, i think i will stay clear of toshiba.

Tony, thanks for the link. I have just been talking to my son in the US and he said dabs is an excellent company.
The thing is if he was here he would have no problem upgrading the hard drive, but the lucky pipper who was meant to be coming back a few weeks ago is still living it up over there.

Thanks everyone

Woody
 

Woodythepecker

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Further to the above SWMBO has in around about way made my decision for me, bless her little cotton socks, but is it the right one?

Apparently the other day she was speaking to our son and the conversation got around to me and the laptop. He told her that now i have got into surfing the net, he doesn't hold out much hope that he will ever see this laptop again [-( :roll: , so he is going to get another one =D> \:D/ :eek:ccasion5:. He must of then told her about the lack of memory in the hard drive, because she has now got me a Pikaone 250gb external USB2 hard drive which she said has something called a Multi System Back up software, what's this?

I haven't got it yet as she purchased it by mail order but it should be here anyday now.

I am really chuffed to bits. Refering to the above is this a good option?

Regards

Woody
 
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Woody

I use a couple of these things for backup of all data etc. Really, this is what you should use it for, not installing applications etc. on it.
The easiest thing to do is simply use Windows Explorer to copy all drawings, PDFs, word documents, spreadsheets etc. to the new drive where you can access them whenever you wanbt to. If running on a USB 2 port on the laptop (rather than USB 1.1), then is will transfer as quickly as your internal drive.

The software that came with it will allow you to backup to the new drive but this will not in itself free up drive space on the existing drive

Very useful piece of kit
 

Woodythepecker

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:( :cry: :oops: :oops: oops, celebrations put on hold then heh? :oops: :oops: I did suspect that it would not be that easy, hence the "but is it the right one?" After all if a external hard drive would do the business then you guys would have said. I think i am just going to bite the bullet and get a computer shop to install a bigger hard drive.

Getting back to the external drive. If i was to backup all the 18gb of my laptop's hard drive onto the external drive, could i then take this external hard drive and after connecting it to say a friends pc use the backed up programs and other info just like i would have on the original drive?

Also can you partition the external hard drive, and back up say 2 different pc's. If so can you then log on to either of these partitions and use them as separately?

Regards

Woody
 

RogerS

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Woodythepecker":3vd0lpop said:
Getting back to the external drive. If i was to backup all the 18gb of my laptop's hard drive onto the external drive, could i then take this external hard drive and after connecting it to say a friends pc use the backed up programs and other info just like i would have on the original drive?
Not as simple as that, I'm afraid. Microsoft and software companies spray related files all over the place, make entries in the registry etc which makes doing what you suggest possible but most likely highly problematic. You could end up fiddling around with all sorts of registry entries, dll's etc and still not get anywhere.

Regarding backup...don't make the mistake of expecting a backup program to backup your entire drive per se. To do THAT you have to use something like Norton Ghost. The problem as I see it with Microsoft based PC's is that your data (which is really what you want to backup as everything else can be rebuilt from your source disks (except the OS as we discussed earlier) can be spread all over the place. Most of it will be in My Documents but there is no guarantee that all programs will save data there. For example, IIRC if you are using Outlook (not Outlook Express) then your mail is stored elsewhere.

My approach to my PC has been to partition the main drive into at least two partitions...C drive where majority of programs and OS reside (and which can be rebuilt easily) and D drive for data. My Documents is shifted over to D drive. As is my Outlook mail etc. Any program has its' data saved on D as well. that means that the backup program can backup the entire D drive quite easily when I want to.

When I update the OS I download the files from M'oft first and periodically burn them to CD. That way when I need to rebuild my C drive I have all the updates to hand and don't need to worry about downloading them again from M'oft.

But there again...as i've said in earlier posts....I prefer using my Mac... :wink:
 

sxlalan

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Just to point out the a number of backup options will backup your entire drive, apps, OS, data etc. Retrospect, Livebackup etc will do this and create bootable CDs/DVDs that allow bare metal restore. With these products Ghost isn't necessary.

Also partitioning isn't a cure all. Redirecting your My Documents folder will tend to orphan off your cookies, favourites etc etc and even the files on your desktop, all of which will stay in their default location, typically on your C Drive (though you can change this with a bit of registry hacking). I would recommend leaving your My Documents folder in the default location and setting your backup software to backup your entire profile. By this I mean back up the C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME folder (and subfolders) rather than just the My Documents folder (which in reality is C:\Documents and Settings\YOURNAME\My Documents). This way you won't miss out on backing up all of your desktop files, internet favourites, cookies, outlook mail folders etc etc. As long as you store all of your user created documents in the My Documents folder or on your desktop then these will be covered by the backup as well.

Alternatively ,if you have a product like retrospect, just get it to do a full backup of everything and you will be able to do a full restore (windows, applications, data, everything) should you ever need to replace a drive.

Cheers

Alan
 

Woodythepecker

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I know i am being a pain and asking questions which most of you will see as having simple answers, but i have got to learn somewhere so i hope you will bear with me.

I have Norton Systemworks Premier 2005 which includes Ghost. In this program there appears to be 3 sections:

Basic, (containing), Backup Drives, Schedule Incremental Backups, Restore a Drive.

Advanced, Run Norton Ghost, Copy one Drive to Another, View Events Log.

Tools, Restore Files or Folders, Norton Ghost User Guide.

Is this the sort of program i can use to backup the laptop hard drive?

Where it states Schedule Incremental Backups, does this mean that after i set a time and date, anything i install, or download to the internal drive will be backed up automatically onto the external drive.

Where it states copy one drive to another, is this a complete backup, or isn't that easy?

Many Thanks

Woody
 
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