I just increased the hard drive in my Dell E6410 notebook running Windows 7 from the previous 150 Gb to a full Terabyte. Total expense is right at $100. Boy, do I have “free space”!
But there *IS* a trick.
Cloning your existing drive is *not* trivial if you try to follow the various instructions you’ll find through a Google search. It took me a couple of days to zero in to a simple solution. That simple solution requires a specific brand of disk, Seagate, and their “clone” utility that runs only with their brand of disk drives.
The simple solution (below) is pretty straight-forward. If you’re good at following instructions and can deal with teeny-tiny screws and don’t panic at the thought of losing all your data — you do have backup copies, I presume — then this is easy. It took me about two hours to complete the process.
FYI: My old disk had a C: and an E: partition, both with a great many files. When this process is complete, the new disk will have the same partitions and drive letters except, of course, they will be much bigger. Everything *should* work. In my case, that seems to be true but, then again, I haven’t run *everything* yet. I have tried most of the programs I use on a daily basis and so far, so good.
- New Seagate disk
- USB to 2.5″ SATA adapter
- Blank CD-R to burn a boot disk
- Internet connection
- Screwdriver for teeny-tiny screws
NOTE: Except where noted, all of this was done IN THE DOCKING STATION.
- Buy a Seagate drive ($79.79 at Fry’s Electronics in my neighborhood). The reason for that specific brand is that the clone utility is then free and it works with almost no intervention. Without that utility, the steps are manual, numerous, and I never did find my way out of that maze of winding trails. [YMMV.]
- Download the Seagate DiscWizard utility from the Internet but do not install it yet.
- Get a USB to 2.5″ SATA adapter. Mine is some cheapo Chinese brand, again from my neighborhood Fry’s Electronics: Kingwin ADP-07 for $11.59. (The cloning *might* have gone faster with an eSATA to SATA (2.5″) adapter but the copying wasn’t that bad — maybe two hours? Hence, YMMV again.)
- Connect the new drive via the USB to SATA adapter. Windows will NOT show it as a drive even though it will beep happy. (To satisfy your curiosity, you can right-click “Computer” on your desktop and select “Manage” and, therein, select “Disk Management” on the left under “Storage”. You will then see your existing drive with C: and E: partitions and also the new drive with “Unallocated” space. But this view of the disks is not required by this process, just mildly entertaining.)
- Install the DiscWizard utility. (It won’t install without the Seagate drive attached, hence the previous step.)
- Run the DiscWizard and create a rescue CD.
- Disconnect the new disk (unplug the USB connector). [Booting in the next step “hangs” if the drive is still connected.]
- Boot from that rescue CD ***AND***IMMEDIATELY*** select the Seagate utility. (If you don’t act promptly enough, it will boot from the hard drive. In that case, shut it down and try again.)
- The Seagate utility will then prompt you to re-connect the Seagate drive so plug the USB adapter back in. The program will automatically continue after you have done so.
- Tell it you want to “Clone” the disk. Selection of source and destination disks will be relatively obvious but, yes, you do want to do this part right. Get it backwards and — well, you do have backups of all your data, don’t you?
- It will partition the new drive with equal size partitions completely allocating the new drive, and temporarily label them, in my case C: and D:. Understandably, these will be huge compared to their original counterparts. (This is good!)
- It will then copy your existing disk (C: and E: partitions) to the new drive (C: and D:). [This took about two hours on my system.]
- When finished, power down.
- Disconnect from the docking station for the next several steps.
- Remove your old hard drive from your system [for me, it was held in with two itsy-bitsy screws on the underside and then it slides out easily] and install the newly cloned hard drive in its place after transferring the bracket from old to new drives.
- Boot from the (now installed) cloned hard drive — it will show as drives C: and E: again (on my system).
- Windows will think about it, adapt to what it finds, and then ask you to reboot.
- Reboot, look around and decide to continue if things look OK.
- Shutdown, reconnect to the docking station and reboot.
I now have in excess of 400 Gb (not Mb, that’s Gb baby!) of free space on the C: drive, and the same on the E: drive. My previously installed and licensed programs all appear to work as before. There have been no hiccups, warnings or other fix-ups.
(If something doesn’t work, fall-back to your old disk. It has not been modified.)
Time to start ripping DVDs for transfer through iTunes to my iPad for those long flights!