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HD replacement in a Toshiba lap top

I am replacing the HD in my A505 Toshiba Satellite laptop. First, can I buy an off the shelf hard drive or do I have to get a replacement from Toshiba? It is a 500 GB I would like to replace it with a 1 TB.

Secondly, I want to "Clone" the drive I'm replacing (not sure if that's the right term). Is there a way to create an exact copy of the old drive that will boot and function like the old drive. What I envision is hooking both drives to my desktop computer, creating an image of the old drive and transferring the image to the new drive. Is this possible? Any advice would be appreciated.
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    You've got the right idea twice. In most cases (no pun intended) it's a standard drive, with maybe the z-height being restricted. And there is lots of software, some free, that will clone a bootable drive to a new drive that will be bootable. You have to do a disk clone, as things other than the files have to be copied. I would use Easeus or one of the tools in the bootable Parted Magic distro.

    I'd need the manual for the particular laptop to see how easy it is to swap out the drive, size requirements, and whether or not it takes a standard drive. I'll see if I can find the manual online. Are you the handy type, who can disassemble a laptop and keep track of which screw goes where?

    EDIT: Step 8 here: http://www.irisvista.com/tech/laptops/Toshiba-Satellite-A505/removing-optical-drive-1.htm
    Mildly interesting: http://forums.toshiba.com/t5/Satellite-Laptops-A-Series/Satellite-A505-S6992-not-working-properly-with-replacement-HDD/m-p/548287#M13227
    Don't see the specs for the drive, just this: http://support.toshiba.com/support/staticContentDetail?contentId=2533647&isFromTOCLink=false
    More useful: http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/Toshiba-Satellite-A505-Laptop-Hard-Drive-RAM-Upgrade-Guide/

    I just googled "toshiba a505 satellite replace drive"
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