A Guide to Upgrading Your Hard Drive
If you have had your computer for a few years then it may be time to think about upgrading your hard drive to a bigger, better one. Three things happen to your hard drive over time that make it a good idea to upgrade. Firstly, they start to fill up quicker and quicker.
A combination of more and bigger file sizes mean that a spacious hard drive in 2010 is a small one in 2012. Secondly, they start to slow down.
Constant writing and rewriting over a magnetic disk causes an eventual slowdown and degradation of the hardware, put simply they just wear out.
The third reason why you need to upgrade old hard drives is that they simply become technologically outdated.
Adding New Hard Drives
If you have an extra expansion slot on your motherboard you may simply be able to add in an extra hard disk drive to expand your space. This way you can keep your old one plugged in as a backup and move all of your old files and your operating system files to the new one.
If this is not an option because you are out of expansion slots or are on a laptop then you may instead have to do a straight swap out.
Cloning Your Windows Hard Drive
If you need to swap out one hard drive for another you are going to want to clone your current one's contents to the new one, unless you just want to do a clean install. Doing this is stressful but it is quite simple, you just need to use a utility to make an exact copy of the entire contents of your old hard drive.
Many of these utilities are free to use too so it wont cost you any extra. DriveImageXML is a popular choice for this type of application but it does require that your computer is running for it to work.
If you want to avoid this step and put it in the hands of an expert you can take both of your hard drives out and take them to a computer repair store where they will do it for you using commercial software.
Upgrading a Mac Hard Drive
Similarly to Windows you are going to need to clone your existing drive to install a new one. Thankfully this is easy using the in-built Time Machine software, however you will need a Time Machine linked external hard drive to do this.
Simply create a complete backup of your existing drive, turn your computer off and install the new hard drive, turn the computer on and copy the backup back over using Time Machine again.
Choosing a Hard Drive: Standard or Solid-State?
The next level of technology in hard drives is the solid-state drive, or SSD. These drives have no moving parts, can be disconnected from power for a long period of time without memory loss and are extremely stable. They also load information a lot faster than standard drives.
However, currently they have smaller capacities then standard drives and are more expensive. Many people like to get both a SSD and a standard hard drive when they upgrade, they use the standard for most of their computing and the SSD for storing important or sensitive data such as financial information and family photos.
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