Hello! This is my long delayed blog on my experience of replacing my laptop's internal hard disk drive. Here is a shout out to Wener Heuser of http://repair4laptop.org/. Thank you very much for maintaining a site packed with useful DIY laptop repair info! The provided link to an article by Thai Tan on how to replace Sony SZ160P laptop HDD was detailed and thorough. I had no problem with the hardware at all. Took only 30 minutes to replace the hard drive. (Link to article, http://laptoplogic.com/resources/detail.php?id=43.)
However, I did run into some problems with the software. It took me 3-4 days to finally get everything working efficiently again. My new HDD is Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 which has 200GB and 7200 rpm access speed. I am very happy with this HDD. My main reason for replacing the drive was the faster 7200 vs. 5400 rpm. However, after this experience, I don't think the increased spin speed was worth the effort. It IS faster, but I learned that there are so many other issues that can make the computer run slowly, and fixing those other problems yielded more dramatic speed gains. (I list those speed fixes in Part IV.) I AM enjoying the extra 110 GB storage space and noticeably quieter spins.
Here's a quick photo of the internals opened.
You gently peel towards you the black-part of orange cable (see large circle). It feels like you are pulling on a Velcro tape. The bottom part has tiny pronged connectors. Once you unscrew the 3 Phillips screws holding the tiny hard drive cage, and take out the drive, the main orange socket is pulled off to your right-side (see arrow). You can wiggle the socket side-to-side to help get it off. Peeling back the black tape from underneath the socket helps too. The orange cable is a thin film but seems reasonably strong. I can't believe how miniaturized all components are. Once the HDD was removed, there was a lot of dust near the fan, and I used several q-tips to clean it out.
This is a photo of the tools you will need.
I used the needle nose pliers to help turn very stubborn screws without stripping their delicate grooves. The two tiny screw drivers are 2 mm slotted and 3 mm Phillips. I used a Seagate USB 500 GB portable, external hard drive as my temporary storage to transfer my data and program files.
Software you will need.
(1) Seagate's DiscWizard utility, a free, reduced version of Acronis TrueImage.
(2) Two recovery DVDs made using Sony's original 5 GB recovery partition.
If you no longer have the recovery DVDs or the 5GB recovery partition, then your best bet is to buy the full version of TrueImage, which creates a bootable and mountable image on another hard drive, and negates the need for the recovery discs. (Continued in Parts II to IV.)