How to Transfer Programs and Files to a New Hard Drive
Dan writes in with a hardware question
Question:I need help with installing a new Hard disk on laptop. My Laptop is 2 months old and the hard disk crashed so I bought a new Hard disk. So I wonder if guys could help me out how to backup all my programs/files and how to run the installation on my new hard disk. I have never done this before.
Answer: If the computer is still usable and if you have a USB flash drive, external hard drive or CD/DVD burner then you can backup your pictures and documents etc to one of those very easily. You won't be able to backup your programs and will have to reinstall them since 90% of programs have to be reinstalled because they put files in the Windows folder and in the registry and it's impossible to back them up. If the drive won't boot you may still be able to get your files off of it by putting it in a USB drive caddy and attaching it to another computer to see if you can recover the files.
Once you take the hard drive out and put in the new one then you can reinstall Windows a couple of ways. If you have a recovery disk that came with your computer then you can boot with that disk in the drive and follow the prompts to have it install everything back to the way it was when you bought it. Any additional programs that you added later will have to be reinstalled. If you don't have a recovery CD but instead had a recovery partition that was on your hard drive then this won't work since it was lost with the drive. You will have to check your documentation that came with the computer to see how they configured it.
If you have a Windows disk then you can boot with that in the drive and follow the prompts for a new installation. Different versions of Windows install differently.
After you get Windows installed you will need to go into Device Manager and see what hardware is recognized and what isn't. Then you most likely can go to the manufacturer's website and download drivers for the unrecognized hardware.