Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

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lightheir
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Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by lightheir » Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:37 am

My laptop HD is on the fritz. It still works for the most part, but every few reboots it'll go into a serious hang and all sorts of HD scan error messages start popping up.

The laptop is a mere 2 years old and is a good light Acer (I know, weird that the HD failed so quickly). I was hoping to just swap out the laptop HD with a new one.

The catch is the Win7 - when I bought the computer, it didn't come with a separate DVD installation disc for Win7. I do, however, have the 'certified Windows product' sticker validating the official Win7 purchase on the computer.

Is there a way I can get Windows7 onto a new laptop hard drive without having to buy a whole new Win7 copy? Someone at work mentioned to me something about creating a rescue disc and using that on the new HD? I'm also aware of commercial disc cloning programs, but I honestly would much rather have a clean Win7 reinstall rather than clone my old HD with all the accumulated software bloat over 2 years.

paulsiu
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by paulsiu » Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:41 am

Call up the manufacturer, they usually have a recovery CD for like $10, but I would try to use a product like clonezilla to just copy your old hard disk to the new one. In my case, I used a usb to hard drive to hook the drive up to the laptop.

Paul

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linuxuser
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by linuxuser » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:18 am

lightheir wrote:My laptop HD is on the fritz. It still works for the most part, but every few reboots it'll go into a serious hang and all sorts of HD scan error messages start popping up.

The laptop is a mere 2 years old and is a good light Acer (I know, weird that the HD failed so quickly). I was hoping to just swap out the laptop HD with a new one.

The catch is the Win7 - when I bought the computer, it didn't come with a separate DVD installation disc for Win7. I do, however, have the 'certified Windows product' sticker validating the official Win7 purchase on the computer.

Is there a way I can get Windows7 onto a new laptop hard drive without having to buy a whole new Win7 copy? Someone at work mentioned to me something about creating a rescue disc and using that on the new HD? I'm also aware of commercial disc cloning programs, but I honestly would much rather have a clean Win7 reinstall rather than clone my old HD with all the accumulated software bloat over 2 years.

Acer offers what they call eRecovery CDs http://support.acer.com/us/en/default.aspx

Next time, once you get Windows 7 and all its updates installed, make a hard drive image backup to a USB flash drive.

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magellan
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by magellan » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:35 am

linuxuser wrote:Next time, once you get Windows 7 and all its updates installed, make a hard drive image backup to a USB flash drive.
This is a good idea. The backup can come in handy if the HDD fails or if the OS becomes unstable due to a virus. If you don't have a flash drive big enough, an old HDD in a $10 USB HDD enclosure works too.

I usually redo my image every year or so, just to keep it relatively up to date. If you install windows from a product CD, it usually takes several hours to apply updates and reload your applications. With the backup image, you just restore the image and apply a few updates. This cuts a 2-4 hour operation down to 15-20 minutes. It's especially handy for people who are prone to getting viruses.

A trick that helps with this scheme is to create a separate disk partition for user files. Disk imaging tools generally don't let you exclude files or folders from the image. If the system and data files are on the same disk partition, you can't make a nice compact image that just has the system files, without all the user data files.

It's easiest if you separate out the system from user data when you initially install the OS. Create a system partition that's sized appropriately for the OS and programs. Then create a separate partition for user data. When I do the initial install, I usually create a temporary user account that I plan to delete. Once logged into the temp account, I create my own user account (say Jim). Then I mount that data partition on top of c:\users\Jim. Finally, I logout of the temp account and into my new user account and delete the temp account.

This keeps the system image from growing as my data files grow. The system image will only contain the system stuff, which I back up once a year to keep it fresh. Obviously, the user data is backed up much more frequently, in my case, using a second HDD and a cloud backup (formerly mozy, now crashplan).

Jim

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lightheir
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by lightheir » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:32 am

I like this idea. Do i need software or does win7 have this built in?

Sidney
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by Sidney » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:45 am

lightheir wrote:I like this idea. Do i need software or does win7 have this built in?
I assume you mean the ability to change disk partitions. Win7 does have some capability but I have found it easier to use a third party tool. There are several free versions. The one I used is this

http://www.partitionwizard.com/

I do something similar. I keep a separate partition for the OS. When I do a clean install, I let it run all the updates and do any minor OS tweaking that I like, but no application software, then I do a snapshot of that image and archive it. If I ever want to do a clean install, I start from there and only have to download updates since this install.

I also do an image approximately monthly so I have my "as-built" system relatively fresh in case I hose something up. If I plan to do anything risky on the system, I take a new image right before I (potentially) shoot myself in the foot.

By keeping the data in a separate partition, you keep the image size reasonable.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

brianH
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by brianH » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:01 am

Digital River, a licensed distr. of MS software, makes the ISO images available online: http://www.mydigitallife.info/download- ... oad-links/. You can burn these to a DVD to have a clean install disk. I'm not sure if OEM Windows keys work with these images. Retail keys should be no issue.

Sidney
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by Sidney » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:07 am

brianH wrote:Digital River, a licensed distr. of MS software, makes the ISO images available online: http://www.mydigitallife.info/download- ... oad-links/. You can burn these to a DVD to have a clean install disk. I'm not sure if OEM Windows keys work with these images. Retail keys should be no issue.
I couldn't tell if they keep these updated. The article dates back to 2010.

Restoring from an image is much faster than doing an install from the OS install disk.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

Dealmaster00
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by Dealmaster00 » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:26 am

A hard drive failing after a few years is not unusual. Hard drives can fail at any time really - whether its 2 months or 10 years of usage.

If you don't require a lot of hard drive space I would highly recommend purchasing an SSD for your next hard drive. This upgrade is as noticeable as buying a brand new laptop. Mechanical drives as typically used by laptop manufacturers are quite slow. Using an SSD increases performance by a factor of at least two. For example, when I switched out my mechanical drive for an SSD in my laptop, boot times and hibernation times were 5 times faster.

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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by Mudpuppy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:27 am

lightheir wrote:I like this idea. Do i need software or does win7 have this built in?
If "this idea" is making an image of the system, yes, Win7 has that built in. I've already packed my Win7 laptop to take to work so I can't give the specific steps, but it's part of the backup and recovery package of tools and services.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:32 am

You may already know this but there should be a label on the bottom of your PC with an activation key for windows. You need a windows install disk that will accept that key. You can either ask MS what disk you want or just borrow/download random disk images until you find one that accepts your key. Given the quality of MS customer support the random download is probably faster.

Restoring from an image of your disk is may be faster than reloading from scratch, but it reloads any garbage in the image, so if there is a virus, root kit or corrupt registry it also restores that. I can't say about Win7 but with older versions of windows reinstalling from scratch was often a good way to improve performance. Sure it takes time to do this, but it can run unattended, it's not like you have to sit there starting at the screen for twenty hours.

brianH
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Re: Replacing laptop HD - Win7 reinstall?

Post by brianH » Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:30 pm

Sidney wrote:
brianH wrote:Digital River, a licensed distr. of MS software, makes the ISO images available online: http://www.mydigitallife.info/download- ... oad-links/. You can burn these to a DVD to have a clean install disk. I'm not sure if OEM Windows keys work with these images. Retail keys should be no issue.
I couldn't tell if they keep these updated. The article dates back to 2010.
Why would they be updated? Windows 7 is 3 years old at this point. They might not offer versions with service pack 1 slipstreamed in, but that's not much of an issue for installing on one machine.

I agree with the original poster's preference for a clean install. This is particularly important if you are installing onto a solid state drive. Windows 7 will automatically perform optimization for a SSD if you do a fresh install.

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