I have a Toshiba L350-17P running windows Vista. It has a small memory by todays standards and is irritatingly partitioned 50/50. I'm thinking about putting a larger drive in. As far as I can tell that seems possible (feel free to contradict!) and the actual process seems straightforward. Adding drives to pcs is uncomplicated because you keep the old drive with everything on it. But with the laptop you have to replace the drive. So my question is: how do I put the operating system back on? Can I just back up to an external drive or do I have to burn discs and reload them? I how do I do it?
And as an aside: would it be worth buying xp and installing that I have xp on my pcs and its so much easier
First, you need to know which type of disk you have before doing anything else - PATA (with two rows of connecting pins) or SATA (with two little plastic connectors).
For about £20 British or $25 in the States, you could buy Acronis True Image and clone your entire system into the larger disk. Other cloning software is available, some of it free, I believe, but ATI works well for me and I use it a lot on customers' systems.
Buy a USB converter and put the new disk into it then install the cloning software on to the laptop and use it to clone the system to the larger disk.
The converter you need to buy wll be useful in future. Your old disk becomes your back up of data and software and could always be used to oboot your system if the new disk ever fails. Converters are only a few pounds/dollars on e-Bay.
First create a system recovery DVD set with the app that is already installed on your laptop, I think it is under the Toshiba menu item, under all programs. Next remove the old drive and install the new hard drive. Put in the recovery DVD and restore Windows to the factory settings. Then copy over all your files by installing the old drive in an external enclosure and connecting it via USB.