How do I replace my Sony hard drive

I have a Sony Vaio AX580G laptop that is about 3 years old. I've had a lot of problems with the thing crashing and subsequent need to "restore" my hard disk (reformat actually). For the past month I've had increasing problems keeping my wireless internet access. My "automatic" wireless network kept disconnecting and I would have to manually connect it. Finally, 2 days ago I got a SMART hard drive failure message, with a warning to replace my hard drive.

Needless to say, I am going to do just that. I'm currently backing up my C drive, and then my D drive (Sony partitioned my hard drive when they configured the thing when I bought it). I have 2 questions:

1. What is the best hard drive to get for this? I don't want this to happen again!

2. How do I reload the hard drive after I put it in?

I don't have a boot CD - whenever the thing crashed before (and I got the error message to either go to an earlier timepoint, which never worked , or to "Restore" my hard drive, which meant reformatting my C: partition of the hard drive), a Restore screen would pop up, I would select "Restore hard drive" and my C drive would be reformatted and I'd have to reload all of my software, etc.

I have a 320G external hard drive (finally got wise after the 3rd crash), and I keep backups of all important files there. Is there a way to image my C and D partitions from my Sony hard drive even though I have other files on the external drive? Right now I'm using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to move all files and settings.

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  1. There's a variety of commercial disk imaging software, I believe it also gives you the ability to make a bootable disk. Acronis, or Norton Ghost.

    As far as which disk, probably any of the major brand HDs are going to give you several years of reliability. WD, Seagate, Samsung...
  2. Put the new hard disk in a USB enclosure and use one of these programs to clone.
    Shut down. Replace the hard disk per Sony manual instructions.

    Comparison of disk cloning software
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