No. of Recommendations: 5
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the thread in response to my earlier post, "Refurbing a refurb computer."

Because so many recommended buying a new computer, I did research but found that the $200 computers were store pickups (not available in my rural area). I found some nice HP refurbs but they started at $300 and their capabilities (other than more memory) were not very different from my old HP computer. With software, the replacement would have cost at least $450.

I ordered a 2TB Seagate drive, an 8" SATA data cable with one right-angle plug, and Norton Ghost from on Cyber Monday. The total cost was $110 (including tax).

With a lot of advice from my older brother, Jeff (OrmontUS), the new drive is now installed as the C drive and is working well. The old C drive was slow because it was almost 60% filled. My files occupy only a tiny slice of the new drive -- it's almost comical. I feel like I just moved into Versailles.

The main reason for buying a new hard drive is that Jeff warned about a possible crash of an old drive. (I view this as preventive maintenance, similar to replacing the timing belt in my 1998 Honda but a lot cheaper.) Now that I have the new drive, performance is definitely faster.

Seagate provides very good documentation on swapping in a new hard drive because they sell the drives.

Norton Ghost was useless because it did not copy the operating system from the old drive to the new drive, although it advertised that it did and that was specifically why I bought it. This wasted a lot of time and was frustrating.

After a lot of false starts, this turned out to be the procedure. Both the old and new drives are conventional SATA hard disk drives (not solid state).

1. Download DiskWizard from the Seagate web site. Use DiskWizard to make a boot CD, which is easy and only takes a few minutes.

2. Shut down the computer. Unplug it. Carefully unwrap the new drive and install it in a bay next to the old drive. I used the new data cable and a second plug that was already installed in the middle of the existing power cable. If the existing power cable had not had a second plug, I would have ordered a Y-split power cable. (Sorry if these aren't exactly the right terms for these items.)

2. Use DiskWizard to establish sectors on the new drive. My old drive has two sectors -- 10 GB for HP's emergency system restore (which takes 5 GB of memory) and 65 GB storage. These sectors are treated as different disks and are given different letters in "My Computer." (The Local Drive is C and the HP_Recovery is D). I had to manually assign only 10 GB of the new disk to the emergency system restore D area or the automatic sector assignment would have walled off 200 GB forever. DiskWizard called the bigger sector (1.8 TB) "J" and the smaller sector (10 GB) was "K."

3. Use DiskWizard to clone the old drive to the new drive. I cloned C to J and then cloned D to K. This includes the operating systems and all other files of both areas.

4. Shut down the computer. Unplug it.

5. Take the power and data cables off the old drive. Take off the data cable from the new drive and plug in the data cable from the old drive. Turn on the computer. The screen will ask whether you want to boot from a CD. Now insert the Boot CD you made earlier. The computer will now boot up and recognize that the new drive is the C drive.

6. Shut down the computer again.

7. Reattach the power cable to the old drive. Plug in the data cable that was originally plugged into the new drive. Now the data cables are swapped and the old drive is the secondary drive. "My Computer" shows the memory in each sector.

I am able to do everything I need with Windows XP. I used Windows 7 at work but was unimpressed by the bells and whistles. Jeff is using Windows 8 but hates it so much that he changed the screen to Windows 7.

Since this is the LBYM Board, I can report that the LBYM approach of adding a larger hard disk is economical and not difficult. Seeing this, DH plans to swap out the hard disk of his laptop, which will be a different procedure using our external hard drive to clone the current hard disk.

Between the two of us, we will save hundreds of dollars on new computers. Eventually we will probably buy new computers, but skipping an entire generation of computers will save a lot of money.

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 3
One correction to Wendy's litany:

He existing hard disk drive was not slow because it was 60% full (this is not nearly enough to slow down a defragged drive). Her disk drive was slow because it is on its last legs (IMHO) and when she balked at a new PC from Costco, replacing the drive was the next best thing.

The Seagate DiskWizard software is by Acronis, which I think is an easier solution than Norton Ghost for many (and is free as well).

Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
It's a little late, since you're running XP, but if you had created another partition (D:) on your new, monster hard drive you could keep most of your documents/files on that. If you ever need to re-install XP you don't have to worry about saving your files. (I usually did, just in case, anyway.) I'll refrain from giving detailed instructions, unless you want to give it a try.

PM - who upgraded to Windows 7 from XP just before Thanksgiving and find I rather like it!
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
PM - who upgraded to Windows 7 from XP just before Thanksgiving and find I rather like it!

I am using both. I must have adjusted because most of the time I don't notice the difference.

I am planning on ignoring Windows 8.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I am planning on ignoring Windows 8.

Print the post Back To Top