When your computer is brand new it runs fast and has lots of space on the hard drive for storing files. But as it ages its speed will appear to slow down, and worse-you will run out of space for the new files that you want to store.
Not only do you need to upgrade your hard drive when it gets full, you also need to consider an upgrade if your hard drive is older and slower. Slow hard drive access times will slow down your computer’s general running because the system spends too long looking for an important file that it needs.
Lastly, you might need to consider upgrading your hard drive if it is starting to fail. Common indicators of an upcoming failure include a hard drive that has become clunky, making lots of noise when the computer is trying to read it. In some cases, read times may become excessively long. If this isn’t because your hard drive is badly fragmented then it might be starting to struggle. Unfortunately many hard drive failures happen without warning, so if you are starting to get warning signs then it is wise to take action.
Upgrading is simply a case of removing the old hard drive and putting another of the same kind in it’s place. But the removal and replacement procedures will differ between laptops and desktops, and sometimes between particular brands.
The first place that you should look is the user manual if one was supplied with your computer. This should show you how to remove and install a drive, and tell you what drive you need to buy. If you don’t have a manual though, or if it does not give the information that you need, an internet search is your next best tool. Searching for your computer model, it should be possible to find out what type of drive you need, and how to do it with details specific to your computer.
All computers will share common features. Desktops will need to be powered down, the case opened, the screws that secure the hard drive removed, the drive unplugged. The new drive will have to be set as either ‘master’ or ‘slave’ as per its instructions.
A laptop may need to be opened, or may have a handy bay that can be accessed externally. This being the case, replacement is a case of removing the retaining screws, sliding out the drive caddy, putting the new drive in and replacing.
There are two ways to handle your upgrade. You may choose to clone your existing hard drive and set up the new drive as an exact copy of the old one. This way, once you install the new drive you can turn the computer on and right away start working again, with no changes other than it seeming like your hard drive has grown significantly. Special kits are available to help you do this, that give you the proper software and an external bay to hold the spare drive whilst cloning.
Alternatively you could take this as a perfect opportunity to start afresh by installing a brand new copy of your operating system. This is only possible if an operating system disc was supplied with your computer when you bought it. An external hard drive can be used to copy all files from the old drive, and onto the new.
Once your computer is up and running again, you can get to work on filling it up once more! Don’t forget to take regular backups-with a larger hard drive there is even more irreplaceable data that you could potentially lose.