Laptop surgery

October 16, 2006

I replaced the hard drive on my Sony Z1 laptop, thanks to these pictures. It’s not hard, but it’s nerve wracking to think one slip would force me to buy another computer. I couldn’t find any other help on the ‘Net, so I’ll add a few pointers for posterity. (1) To remove the keyboard, you should slip a small screwdriver into the corner above the Esc key. Gently force it up, then pull the rest of the keyboard out a little at a time. It feels fragile, but it didn’t break when I tugged at it. (2) The keyboard is connected to the main system by three delicate ribbons. Though two small ribbons can be gently pulled out of their slots, to remove the one large ribbon you must lift the small flap just below the slot. This flap (brown, pointing down towards the mouse) squeezes the slot to hold the ribbon. Just lift to release, then gently pull the ribbon out.

I needed to copy my drive, but I didn’t want to pay for Norton Ghost just to use it once. And I didn’t want to buy an adapter to plug a 2.5″ drive into my desktop. Instead, I cobbled together some free software to do the job myself. I used DriveImage XML to make a copy of my partitions. Then I made a bootable CD version of XP with DriveImage installed using BartPE. I replaced the failing drive with the new one. Then I booted from an XP install CD to partition the new drive, where each partition is equal to or larger than the original partitions. Next, reboot using BartPE and use DriveImage to restore the partitions. I used an external USB drive, but you could also use a network share. After restoring, everything worked fine.

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