One of the worst computer parts that can fail is your hard disk or hard drive. Unless you have been sensible and backed up your data regularly you could stand to lose everything.
A hard disk or hard drive is an internal component within your computer where all your files and folders including your operating system is stored. Without a hard disk your computer will not function. If you are unfortunate for your hard disk to fail then you need to know how to go about changing it for a new.
There are several ways that hard drives can fail. As a general rule then will not totally stop working without some kind of advanced warning. Perhaps clicking noises, warning errors often appearing or regular crashes at random intervals. Apart from the clicking noise, the other two symptoms I have provided could in fact be down to several hardware or software computer problems.
If you are certain that your hard disk is faulty then you need to obtain a replacement. In a desktop PC this is relatively straight forward – with a laptop it may be more specific to the product so speak with the manufacturer first.
Firstly you need to identify the type of hard disk you have. There are two main types – PATA and SATA. SATA hard disks are relatively new so if your PC is a number of years old then it most likely is not SATA. PATA is more common and has the typical 4 pin power plug along with a standard IDE cable – the same that connects a standard CD/DVD ROM drive. SATA connections are much smaller – almost a third of the size of the IDE connection.
If your drive is SATA then plug in and away you go, PATA you will need to ensure that you set the drive to master mode – this is usually done by a little bridge on some pins at the end. There should be a chart to illustrate which pins to bridge. As a rule most will come set as master.
Once you have made your selection then you need to go and buy the hard disk. As well as the type of hard disk you require, there are options on speed and buffer size as well as, of course, size. The faster speed hard disk with the highest buffer is what you should aim at within your budget. Size of course is your own personal choice but go larger than that you think you will need. Most of the time for an average user, the smallest of drives will provide adequate space.
Once you have your disk you need to turn off the power to your computer and unplug any cables. Open up the case and clean out any dust within your computer case. Carefully remove the existing hard drive for it’s mounts. This generally accomplished by undoing screws but computer cases can vary.
With your new hard disk installed you can then run your restore CD or operating system disk and begin the procedure for reinstalling. Be prepared for this to take some time – usually a minimum of an hour.
If you were unfortunate enough to not have a backup of your data then it may be possible to now go about recovering data from the faulty disk. If you are unsure about doing this then it is far safer to ask an expert.
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