How I upgraded my laptop's hard drive and almost lost my mind

In which a simple hardware upgrade allows me to channel my inner Laurel and Hardy

I bought a new hard drive for my laptop recently, and set out to install it Tuesday morning. No big deal; I've updated hard drives before.

True, I'd never swapped a laptop's hard drive, but how difficult could it be? The directions on Lenovo's web site made it look easier than losing money in Vegas.

But before you can lose money in Vegas, you have to get to Vegas, and earn some money. And before you can start using your newer and bigger hard drive, you have to clone the contents of the old drive onto it. That's relatively easy on a desktop, where you can easily plug in two internal drives. Laptops? Not so simple.

My solution was time-consuming, but easy--or so I thought. I would use Acronis True Image to create an image back up of the old drive onto an external hard drive, swap the internal drives, then restore the backup courtesy of the True Image boot CD.

No problem with the backup. And not much of a problem with the physical swap. True, the directions skipped one little step--just a minor chore that involved removing and re-inserting four of the tiniest screws this side of eyeglass repair. That little process only tripled the length of the whole swapping procedure.

I didn't know it at the time, but I was going to get to know those screws intimately.

Feeling confident after physically installing the drive, I booted into True Image. Then I ran into a problem in much the same way Daffy Duck runs into an anvil. The program just wouldn't let me turn the 87GB partition in the image file into a 200GB partition on my new drive. If I couldn't resize the partition, what did I need a new drive for?

I won't bore you with all of my attempted solutions and diagnostics. Let me just say that if a certain Acronis' tech support representative takes up drinking, I take full responsibility.

150484-DriveMate

Luckily, my friend Max lent me a lifesaver. No, not a candy, but a Bytecc USB 2.0 Drive Mate.

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Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
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