A failing hard drive can be quite a bummer, unfortunately - saving the data on the failed drive can be next to impossible. If you can, save/backup any important files you may still have access to.
Before we get into how to replace the failed HDD that we've sent you under your warranty, we'd like to go over some important precautions that everyone should follow.
- Always backup your system! Invest in a large backup storage (An external USB drive is a good option.) that is preferably about 2TB or larger. The most trouble free and easy to use setup would be the Western Digital MyCloud systems - We recommend this one found here.
- Purchase backup/imaging software - We have 2 servers at our location, that are backed up on a weekly basis using a program called Acronis. Acronis also offers a Home User software application that makes disk management and backup/imaging a breeze. You can setup Acronis to back up your system hard drive with a snapshot image, in a custom schedule, to your external hard drive setup easily and automatically. For more information on system images, refer to this support article: What is a system image?
- If your HDD fails at any point, you can use your latest image (From when your HDD was last operating normally) and image your replacement HDD with the backup image. You'll then remove the defective HDD, and boot from the newly replaced and imaged HDD and your system will be back to normal, with no data loss whatsoever.
Think of it like having a favorite photograph, that at some point was lost, but you had an exact copy tucked away in your storage closet.
Now that we've gone through those important key points, lets get into replacing your HDD.
- Please shut down your system, unplug it, and move it to a table (Dining room tables work great!) Be sure to discharge any static electricity, and wear shoes while working on your system. Especially if you are on carpet.
- Remove the failed HDD, there are two cables connecting your drive to the system. One provides power, the other is the cable that transmits data to and from the HDD to the computer. You'll want to unplug these, and plug them back into the replacement HDD we've provided you.
- Once you are confident step 2 is complete, go ahead and close the case back up, and return the system to it's original location. Before you bootup, please locate your Windows Installation DVD. Press the start button, and immediately install the Windows DVD into your CD/DVD drive.
- The system will ask if you want to boot from the CD/DVD drive, and to press any key to do so. Go ahead and press any key. If you miss this prompt, you can turn off the system by pressing the power button until it shuts off and try again.
- The system will now boot from the CD/DVD, you'll want to follow all on-screen prompts, and install Windows to the new HDD which will show up as "Unallocated Space". Windows Setup will automatically install Windows, and create any require partitions.
- The system will reboot a few times during this process, and generally takes about 15-30 minutes.
- After install is complete, Windows will run you through some general setup parameters, and eventually bring you to your desktop. Once you are there, you'll want to locate the Motherboard Driver Disc that was also included with your computer system. Insert that disc into your CD/DVD Drive and run the setup program.
- The Motherboard Drive Install application will begin, you will want to install DRIVERS ONLY. Please do NOT install any of the "extra" software included on this disc, as it is bloatware and is not needed.
- Once completed, please reboot your system. Once rebooted, please install your graphic drivers.
For NVidia, head here: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx
For AMD, head here: http://support.amd.com/en-us/download
Your installation is now complete, you may now proceed to install any programs/games.