What to do When Your PC Hard Drive Crashes
When your hard drive crashes you can buy replacement hard drives from ETC. You have some options, depending on how much work you want to do. You can buy a blank hard drive and reinstall Windows and drivers; or if you have a laptop, Eastern Trading Co. may have a hard drive with Windows and drivers installed for your specific laptop model.
Blank Hard Drives
If you buy a blank hard drive you need to make sure you have the Windows or Recovery DVD that came your computer. Alternatively, you can recover from a backup if you burned it to a bootable disk. Some people think that when they install buy a blank hard drive and install it that it will magically bring their computer back to life – it won’t! Blank hard drives are not bootable until you install an operating system like Windows or Linux. It is the OS that boots, not the hard drive.
Put your Windows or Recovery DVD into the DVD drive and then boot to the DVD drive. Once Windows, or any other operating system is installed, then the hard drive will be bootable. It takes at least 3-4 hours to install Windows, download and install all the Windows updates, and download and install all the drivers needed, if you know what you are doing.
Hard Drives with Windows and Drivers Installed
If you a hard drive with Windows and drivers already install you must buy one made for your specific model, and with the exact version of Windows installed that is on the COA sticker on the bottom of the laptop. The Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity (COA) sticker shows the version of Windows you own. It also has the Product Key you will need to validate Windows.
Older PCs used IDE hard drives, and Windows used a generic IDE driver so they would boot up in any laptop. This is not true with SATA hard drives. With blank hard drives this is not a concern, because Windows will install the SATA driver specified in the BIOS of your computer during the install process. Hard drives with preinstalled Windows have a specific SATA driver already installed. They will not boot into Windows unless you can match that SATA Operation Mode in the BIOS. If you buy a hard drive made for your specific model then the correct mode will be available. In addition, most of the drivers will not be installed, such as video, sound and wireless, as the hardware is different in every model.
There are four different SATA operation modes, ATA, AHCI, IRRT and RAID. ETC hard drives are made with BIOS defaults set. If you have a Dell Latitude E640, the BIOS default is IRRT. All you have to do is press F2 on startup to enter setup and Apply Defaults. If you purchase a hard drive with Windows installed for another make and model, the correct SATA mode may not be available. Only Dell uses IRRT, and not in all models, so a Dell E6400 hard drive will not boot up in any HP or Lenovo laptop. Instead, it will boot to the Windows login screen, then blue screen crash.
Make sure you purchase a hard drive for the correct model and with the right version of Windows installed. Then follow the instructions that come with the drive. The short version is; Install the hard drive. Set the SATA mode in the BIOS. Boot into Windows. Connect to the internet. Use your Product Key to validate Windows. Five minutes and you are up and running again.
All our replacement hard drives are refurbished, fully tested (including a full surface scan). They have been wiped and formatted NTFS. Most come with a caddy. The replacement hard drives with Windows and drivers install have a fresh install of Windows. Drivers have been installed some models have different hardware configurations so we have saved alternative the drivers to the hard drive. If you have any questions, contact us or read our Frequently Asked Questions page.