Hard Drive Failure
Loud clicking sounds whenever the computer accesses data from the hard drive
Online backup sites, replace hard drive
Obviously, the best defense against a hard drive crash is a good backup solution. These days, plenty of options abound, but among software solutions, we like Norton Save & Restore 2.0 ($49
) for its ease of use. If you're going to back up your data online, go with Mozy.com (free for 2GB, and $4.95 per month unlimited), which backs up your system automatically and tracks changes in the background without hogging precious system resources.
Even if you go the online route, a hard drive failure will bring your notebook to its knees. Fortunately, a number of tools can test your drive for problems. Hitachi offers some in the support section of its Web site
). If hard drive replacement becomes necessary, be sure to back up as much data as possible and then switch out the hard drive. You can find step-by-step directions for the replacement procedure on most manufacturers' support sites. For instance, Lenovo goes the extra mile with videos showing the replacement process; type "replacement movie" on www.lenovo.com
to check it out.
If you want to preserve the data on your old drive and make switching to a new one as painless as possible, we recommend Apricorn's EZ Upgrade Universal & Hard Drive Upgrade Bundle. Available in 40GB, 80GB, 100GB, and 120GB capacities, and ranging in price from $109 to $149, this kit enables you to upgrade your hard drive in three steps. The package includes cloning and backup software, and it lets you use your old hard drive for backup purposes--assuming it still works.