Replacing a VAIO laptop (TR2MP) hard drive

Clickety-clickety-clickety-krrzz-krrrrrrrz-clickety-clickety was the sound that started coming out my wife’s laptop the other day.
If you hear this sound from your laptop’s hard drive then I am afraid it’s end is near. It is time for a full back-up and hard drive replacement.
1. Copying data files to an external HD or another PC
This turned out to be the most time consuming part of the hard drive replacement.
I had made regular backups but wanted the latest data so chose to copy everything important manually.
Windows Explorer copy is very poor as it does not support resume, nor does it show a detailed progress. Since you are copying from a defect hard drive there are bound to be several file errors and you will need all the help you can get.
Secure Copy 2 from Pineda Networks is a better tool for the job. It is a bit unstable but free, allows resuming of file transfers and gives detailed progress information.
2. Purchase a spare identical or similar HD
To find out what hard drive model your laptop is using right-click on “My Compyter”, select properties, then Hardware, then Device Manager and check the drive(s) under Disk drives.
Google for the drive model and see if it is for sale.
In my case the drive was a 40GB Toshiba MK4004. I was not able to find that exact model but a MK4006 seemed to be a replacement. There were 60GB drives available. While that would have been a nice upgrade I could not gurantee that the larger drive would work with the VAIO system restore disks.
Cost of drive: £85.
3. Install the new HD
Do not attempt at opening your laptop if you are not comfortable with screwdrivers, fiddly electronic contacts and the possibility of destroying the laptop.
With the replacement hard drive in hand you should be able to take the laptop and drive to a back alley computer shop and have it replaced for a bargain price.
If you attempt at replacing the drive yourself I recommend you to do a dry run even before purchasing the replacement drive.
open vaio laptopStart with the laptop closed and with the bottom side up. Unscrew all 13 screws and note the sizes and locations as there are 2 different sizes.
Two of the screws are hidden under the (top) rubber pads. Peel them off with a screwdriver. When you put them back they will stick to the case just as before.
open vaio laptopTurn the case around and open it. You should be able to lift the top of the bottom part. If it doesn’t it means you have forgotten one or more screws.
Don’t attempt to take of the top completly because the keyboard is attached to the bottom part and you don’t want to mess with those connectors. Just lifting it will be enough to get at the drive.
Unscrew one last screw which holds the frame around the frame (see arrow above).
open vaio laptopTake away the frame and disconect the hard drive connector (see arrow above).
The drive is now free to be lifted away. It is surrounded by four little rubber pads which you need to move to the new drive.
It is a bit tricky placing in the new drive with the rubber pads on the sides so have patience and be careful. Replace the frame around the drive and the screw that holds it down.
You can now close the case and put all the screws back.
4. Restore the data
With a VAIO laptop you should have restoration disks which are a quick way of putting back the operating system and any proprietary software.
I chose not to install any of the VAIO extras as I believe they only slow down the computer.
Continue with installing any previous software and finally replace the backed up data.
Don’t forget to run Windows Update as soon as you can. Installing Service Pack 2 and 95 other critical Windows updates was quite the exercise.
If you at a later point need to restore data from the removed HD then have a look at external 1.8″ or 2.5″ USB hard drive enclosures.
Connecting via USB 2.0 very convinient as it doesn’t require the opening of your PC case to connect the hard drive via a HD adapter.
External enclosures are only £10 on eBay, shipping included!
PS I have one spare screw after replacing the drive so please do a better job than me and let me know which screw is missing from the photos above!