Question from Kristen A .: My laptop’s hard drive has stopped working and I need to take it somewhere to get it fixed.
I have followed your advice on creating regular System Image backups and have a relatively recent backup that you can use to restore everything once the faulty hard drive is replaced.
What worries me is that I have a ton of personal photos that I backed up along with everything else.
I think I could restore the files from the copy myself, but I don’t know how to replace the hard drive (or even choose a drive that is compatible with my laptop).
I would like to know if the computer scientist will be able to see my personal files. I don’t have a password on the computer.
My Answer: The short answer to your question is yes, Kristen.
Once the technician replaces the damaged hard drive and restores all the files, everything on the hard drive will be visible, including your “personal” photos.
In my opinion, you have two options:
1 – Take the computer to the store to have the hard drive replaced for you, and then take the laptop home and restore the files from the backup yourself.
If you decide to go this way, make sure the technician returns the old hard drive to you, as he might try to retrieve your photos from him for viewing.
2 – Replace the hard drive yourself, then restore the files. This way you could save yourself some money and you would not have to worry about the possibility of someone seeing your intimate photos.
It’s really easy to replace the hard drive on any computer that has a removable cover over the drive bay.
You don’t mention the make and model of your laptop, so I can’t tell you if the drive bay is easily accessible or not. But you can find out by turning the laptop over and checking if there is a small removable cover attached with small screws.
If so, I recommend the video in this post for an overview of the drive replacement process.
You can purchase a replacement hard drive at your local electronics store. Alternatively, you can buy one on Amazon and possibly save yourself some money.
Just make sure you buy a 2.5-inch portable hard drive (or better yet, an SSD ) that is at least as large (in terms of storage capacity) as the drive your laptop now has, and you’re good to go.
Important: If your notebook does not have an easily accessible drive bay, the case will need to be removed in order to replace the faulty hard drive.
If this is your case, I highly recommend that you take it to a repair shop to have it replaced. Then, you could restore your files to the new disk yourself.
Hope this helps you, Kristen. Good luck!
Bonus tip : As mentioned above, since you’re going to replace the hard drive anyway, this is the perfect time to upgrade your laptop with an ultra-fast SSD!