Laptop hard disk problem

matboy

Junior Member
Jun 11, 2008
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Hello,

I have an old dell laptop (dell inspiron 8500) that I want to use to check email at home. As of now, the hard disk seems to have crashed. I was wondering if there's any place that I can get a cheap (maybe refurbished) hard disk. The more important question is how hard is it to change the hard disk? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

-a
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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I recommend never buying refurbished hardware that spins at 5000+ RPM. Too much investment in time installing it, installing software, and creating data. Laptop hard drives are typically less than $100. Dell sells them.

Dell.com's support pages for your model will likely have a Service Manual complete with directions for changing the hard drive. Changing a hard drive can take anywhere from ten minutes to several hours, depending on the design of the laptop.
 

bruceb

Diamond Member
Aug 20, 2004
8,874
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Changing it is very easy. As said, it will just slide right out.
All you need to do is either make a Clone of the old drive
to the new one with Ghost or Acronis TruImage or if your
system is all messed up, do a full reinstall from scratch.

I changed my laptop drive with Ghost a few months back
using the clone feature and it went without a hitch. Except
that I was using an external interface to my new drive which
was running USB 1.x speed .. so it took a while. Otherwise
it was very simple.
 

matboy

Junior Member
Jun 11, 2008
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Thanks guys. You guys are awesome. I am glad to hear that its going to be easier that I thought to install the hard disk.

One quick question, as of now its saying "Primary Hard disk not found" when I boot it. I assumed it meant that the hard disk has crashed.

Its an older computer, so should I try installing some version of linux than using XP. I dont mean to start any flame wars, but just wanted to ask if anyone had any suggestions. It probably has 512mb ram and will have a reasonably small hard disk too.

Thanks again.
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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I'd stick with whatever OS the laptop came with. That way, you can just grab drivers from Dell's Support site. Laptops can be tougher than desktops to get drivers for.

Originally posted by: matboy
One quick question, as of now its saying "Primary Hard disk not found" when I boot it. I assumed it meant that the hard disk has crashed.
Most likely.
 

matboy

Junior Member
Jun 11, 2008
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When I looked online to find the hard disk that matches my laptop, the website suggested external usb drives. I thought I needed an internal HDD which I could change based on your excellent suggestions above. What should I do? :|
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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Originally posted by: matboy
When I looked online to find the hard disk that matches my laptop, the website suggested external usb drives. I thought I needed an internal HDD which I could change based on your excellent suggestions above. What should I do? :|
With few exceptions, laptop hard drives are all interchangeable. To be 100% sure, you can search Dell.com for "Inspiron 8500 hard drive" and view many drives complete in the appropriate Dell housings.

You can likely order any other 2.5 inch IDE laptop hard drive in Dell's (or Newegg's, for that matter) hard drive. Or see what drive is currently in the laptop and buy another of those, puttng the new drive in the old housing. Be cautious about buying a drive with a greater THICKNESS of the curent drive (apparently 9.5 mm).

Dell Forums post on replacing Inspiron 8500 hard drive.