T420 Storage Upgrade

As mentioned in my previous post, the T420 is getting a hard drive transplant. Well, how did the machine fare?As you’d expect, it fared fine. However, there were some roadblocks which were part of my hastiness to get the new drive in. (And yes, Garrett does make mistakes from time to time.)

The first problem I encountered is: how am I going to backup all of my files? I don’t have an external drive, and I only have a 16GB flash drive that is already half full. The server (Mint Machine) seems like a good choice, but its hard drive is nearly full (it needs to be “purged” of unused files that are no longer needed.) Sadly, I ran out of options and there was only one real option left: to transfer the files from the drive AFTER the new drive and Windows has been installed.

Taking the drive caddy out rendered another roadblock that I did not expect. I have a screwdriver with multiple bits that work fine with desktop machines like the Mint machine. However, there were no bits that would fit into the small screws used in the ThinkPad. So my “inner redneck” came out and I decided to (extremely carefully as to not strip the screw or cut myself) use a pair of scissors to remove the screw. As fate would have it, I came across another screwdriver in a random drawer after I finished buttoning things up. As you probably have already guessed… that screwdriver had the correct screw.

Thankfully, unlike the Mint Machine, the procedure is fairly straight forward and only took about 30 minutes, although with the proper tools it would have only taken 10 minutes. The new drive went right in with no issues and the computer turned on. Now we need the installation media to get into the Windows Installer. No problem, I have a disc with that burned on it. Oh, but where is it?

Once again, my poor sense of humor fails me. The installation disk was missing. Well, that means undoing and redoing what I just spent 30 minutes doing. Thankfully, I have the right tools now.

After putting the old drive back in and burning a new Windows installation disk, I repeated the process. About 10 minutes later (2 hours if you count how long it took for the Windows Installer to prepare to burn), we were in the Windows Installer.

I’ve done this about 2 previous times on the ThinkPad, once after I originally bought it, and again when I upgraded from 32-bit to 64-bit. So, nothing new here.

However, reinstalling all of my previous programs was the hard part. The two previous times when I had to reinstall Windows on the ThinkPad, there were very few programs and even fewer files. However, over the year I’ve owned this machine, both programs and files have collected like dust. This makes reinstalling everything tricky.

As of me writing this, most of my programs have been reinstalled. Now I just have to (once again) pop the old drive back into the ThinkPad to *properly* shut down the hard drive, as I forgot to not do the “fast shut down” on the drive before removing it. Then it can be connected to the Mint Machine to harvest the files and (finally) format the drive for storage.

P.S. – The old drive was also rated at 7200 RPM, like the new drive. While I could have bought a 1 TB drive for roughly $10 more, I would have sacrificed speed. Plus, I stated my justifications for going for a 500 GB drive in my previous post.