Help with hard drive replacement/moving Vista

Hi guys, I'm new to the forum, my apologies if this question is in the wrong section.

The hard drive on my girlfriends laptop is going bad, and I am going to try to replace it myself. Its only 2 yrs old, and has been babied, so it kind of sucks that its going downhill. After running some basic troubleshooting, I've determined that it needs to be replace, and I am not sure how to get Vista and everything onto the a hard drive. To start off with, I am a beginner in working with computer internals, so I apologize in advance for any slow moments/failures to grasp concepts.

After Googling, I've seen some recommendations to buy Acronis True Image. The laptop bluescreens randomly though, anywhere from 2minutes after Vista starts up, to a couple hours, and has trouble booting up, apparently due to bad sectors that can't be fixed. Will this prevent me from running the Acronis software to pull the info off of the old hard drive?

Someone told me that some hard drives come with this software, but which ones do?

At my disposal, I have a 1 TB USB external hard drive, and my ancient desktop to use as tools if needed.

Is the new hard drive pretty much plug and play once I have Vista etc loaded on?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

(I did try to Search for an answer in these forums but must not have searched the right keywords)
2 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about hard drive replacement moving vista
  1. Try searching for cloning software. Paid favorites include Norton Ghost, and Acronis. If you'd rather not spend money however, you can try free alternatives like Clonezilla.

    Keep in mind that even if you clone your existing hard disk properly, you may have to reinstall your drivers when you boot up with your new hard disk for the first time.
  2. Best answer
    This could get tricky. A cloning operation requires that the Source and Destination drives be attached to the same computer and that it be running under some Operating System. Can you connect the new drive to the malfunctioning laptop and run long enough to make the clone? Or, can you connect both to some other machine for the cloning operation?

    Some hard drive manufacturers (like Seagate and WD) will give you for FREE the cloning software you need to make the clone TO one of their HDD units - you just download it and install on your durrent C drive to run. Seagate has Seagate Disk Wizard, WD has Aconis True Image WD Edition.
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