Replace a Main Hard Drive
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  1. #1
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    Replace a Main Hard Drive

    I have two computers for which I want to replace the main hard drive, in other words the one on which the operating system resides. So I disconnect the old drive and plug in a new one and have to format the new drive and reinstall the operating system. Since all the drivers for the CD ROM drive have been removed with the old hard drive, how does one get the CD ROM drive to work so I can reinstall the operating system?

  2. #2
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    Assuming the machines aren't ancient, they should just boot off the Windows installation CD. At the worst, you may have to go into BIOS setup (look for a message during the memory test which shows the key to press) and change the boot order so the PC tries the CD before the hard drive.

    At the worst case, you can get a set of boot floppies which will start Windows Setup from the CD. www.bootdisk.com is a good source.
    Safe computing is a habit, not a toolkit.

  3. #3
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    They are not ancient. You mean that the CD ROM drive will boot the computer without any drivers installed?

  4. #4
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    Correct. Just put the Windows CD in the drive and reboot and see what happens. You should either get a prompt saying "Press any key to boot from CD...", or if Setup recognises the hard drive is blank it'll just run Setup automatically. If it doesn't, check the boot order in BIOS.

    You can try now before you replace the hard drive if you like; what's on the hard drive has no effect on whether the machine can boot from CD, and if you do successfully get into Setup then you can just remove the disc and reboot again. At least then you'll know it works before you do the swap.
    Safe computing is a habit, not a toolkit.

  5. #5
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    Thanks.

  6. #6
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    if you can't get it going, post the brand/mode and operating system of your pc. somebody should be to give you the exact instruction on how to re-install the o/s on the new hdd.

  7. #7
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    Two keys here:
    As Tuttle mentioned, the boot order should be set to boot from cdrom first.
    Your former OS drive should be jumpered as Slave and your new drive as Master. If the new drive is a WD, be careful. There are separate settings for Master, and Master with Slave.

  8. #8
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    You may want to visit the various manufacturers' website and download all the current drivers to the old HDD.
    That you are ready to install them right after OS installation.
    Another item would be to download Service Packs and Hotfixes as well
    or
    Something like Autopatcher for your OS.

    No link(s) provided, since you did not provide relevant information such as brand, model and OS in question.
    "I know nothing."
    Cheers.

  9. #9
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    Well I have tried several things to get going with the new hard drive without success. The computer is as follows:

    Sony Vaio
    600 Mhz
    Formerly running Windows XP Home
    Trying to reinstall Windows XP Home
    Have CD ROM Drive
    Boot order is currently CD ROM, A, HD

    I get "NTLDR" message when I try to boot. Am not sure that CD ROM is working properly on start up. CD ROM light briefly comes on when computer is started. After "beep" (Is this when boot starts?) CD ROM light doesn't come on and no activity on CD ROM. Boot then tries A then HD and then the message comes.

    Have booted to a Windows 98SE floppy and got CD ROM to work. However, XP disk won't run in DOS. Is there another type of boot disk that will run the CD ROM and get setup.exe on XP disk to run?

  10. #10
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    Win 2000 has a 4-floppy boot disk set that can be downloaded. XP is probably similar. Bootdisk.com would have it.
    One possiblility for the XP disk not booting the computer could be if either the disk or the Sony bios have code that looks for a manufacturer identifier and they don't match. For example, a disk supplied with a Brand X computer won't install on other hardware. Still ought to boot, though. Perhaps the disk is damaged. One other possibility is an older cdrom having difficulty reading a burned (cd-r) disk. I always try to use a cdrw drive to read a burned disk.

  11. #11
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    Good news. I got things to work by getting a boot disk at bootdisk.com. I would have probably been able to get it done with the first boot disk I got if I had better information. Apparently you can install XP from DOS if you go into the I386 folder on the XP install CD. I tried to run setup.exe from the root directory on the XP CD which will not run in DOS. If one runs winnt setup.exe from the I386 folder on the XP CD, the installation will begin. Thanks for your help.

  12. #12
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    By the way, the disk I got from bootdisk.com was from the "Windows XP fresh install" section. I had to pay 4 bucks for that one. However, I think if you got the free WIN98 SE disk with CD ROM drivers, it would have worked as well.

  13. #13
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    Spoke too soon. During the XP install, the screen says:

    The DOS portion of the install is complete. Please press enter to restart the computer and continue the installation. When I do that I get the "NTLDR missing message". Any suggestions? Can't one get some files to install on the hard drive to remedy that?

  14. #14
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    I am able to use a boot floppy and look at my new C:drive. The NTLDR file is on the disk. However, this is a 80 MB Hard drive and is only indicating 31 MB. Still getting the "NTLDR file missing" message. Please help.

  15. #15
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    However, this is a 80 MB Hard drive and is only indicating 31 MB.

    sounds like your bios does not support hdd >32gb. does your bios correctly support report the size of the hdd? you can either find a new bios which support hdd >32gb or get an ide ata66/100/133 controller card to get around this problem. try checking on the sony site and see if a new bios is available for your pc. if you can't find a new bios and are willing to live with 32gb, check on the hdd manufacturer's site and see if your hdd have a 32gb limitation jumper.

    after you correct the hdd issue, try reinstalling winxp.

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