How I Successfully Installed a 1 TB SATA Hard Drive Into an IDE Laptop.

Many website state that this cannot be done, but these instructions show that it can. I am a mechanical engineer, not a computer expert. I have no gain from any of the companies or products mentioned here except for my three books that are offered below. I hope you can benefit from my experience.

My Computer:

HP Compaq nx7400 Business Notebook.
Purchased: May 2007.
120 GB IDE Hard Drive Toshiba Model MK1234GSX (SATA and ATA-7 IDE Compliant).
IDE ATA controller as stated in Windows 7 Device Manager.
Windows 7 Professional upgraded from Windows Vista Professional several years ago.


The small 120 GB hard drive was nearly full with just a few favorite programs and utilities. Larger drives are not available for an IDE controller and the Seagate DiskWizard would not recognize the new SSHD SATA drive when attached with a USB external enclosure. I could not clone the old drive to the new drive using Seagate's methods.


Install a new Seagate 1 TB SATA SSHD (1000 GB) with hybrid solid state feature into my old HP Compaq nx7400 computer. Seagate calls it a 2.5" internal "kit", but the package only includes a bare drive. The old drive must be cloned to the new hard drive in order to preserve the Windows 7 Professional operating system and all program and files. The new hard drive was then installed into my computer. I adjusted the partitions (Drive C and E) to utilize all of the unallocated space on the new huge drive. You can also add new partitions if desired to divide the space as described below.


Don't buy anything yet.

Determine the controller type in the computer. Go to Start - Control Panel - Hardware and Sound - Device Manager. Look for the type of controller, either IDE ATA or SATA. The Seagate DiskWizard software on the Seagate website will install the new hard drive if the computer has a SATA controller but will not recognize the new hard drive if the computer has a IDE ATA controller as was the situation on my computer.

Don't buy anything until you can ascertain that the new hard drive will physically fit in the old hard drive bay and the connectors match. My old IDE ATA Toshiba hard drive has the same physical size and same connections as the new. The old drive must first be removed to evaluate the size and connector. Take the battery out of the computer to by moving the latches to slide it out. Touch the frame below the battery compartment to ground any static electricity from your body. Loosen the two screws in the hard drive cover. Lift the cover off. Loosen the one screw holding the hard drive container. Lift slightly and slide the hard drive container from the connector. Never touch near the connector terminals and never press on the flat sides of the drive. Handle the drive only by the side edges. Measure the old hard drive. It should match the 9.5 mm thickness (3/8") of the new drive or allow space for the new 9.5 mm drive. The old IDE ATA drive connector should look identical to a new SATA connector. Some older IDE connectors are different and will not allow the new drive to be installed. The connector should look like this:

SATA 2.5" Hard Drive Connector Layout

Reinstall the old hard drive back into the computer.

What to Buy:

If the size and the connector pass inspection you can proceed.

Buy the new Seagate 1TB SATA SSHD 2.5" laptop hard drive.

Buy one Sabrent Ultra Slim USB 2.0 to 2.5-Inch SATA External Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure [Black] (EC-UK25). This enclosure temporarily holds the new drive to connect it to the USB port on the computer.

Free Software to Download:

Download and install the following two free software programs. These should be installed on the old hard drive.

Macrium Reflect Free Version Software to clone the old hard drive to the new.

AOMEI Partition Assistant (PA) Standard Free Version Software to adjust partitions on the new drive.

Important Installation Steps:

1. Install the new hard drive in the new USB enclosure. Plug in the USB cable.

2. The computer will not recognize the hard drive. Open My Computer or Computer. Look for the USB device that the computer cannot recognize. Right click on the device. Select Properties. Look for "Initialize" and click. I don't know if this is necessary, but I did it.

3. Launch Reflect software. The graphics should show the old hard drive as the "Source Drive" and the new drive as the "Destination" drive. Click "Clone This Disk." Make sure the program is not cloning the new empty drive to the old drive; otherwise, the old drive will be erased.


Look for the message asking to make a selection. As I can best remember the questions are these:

O Make the new drive for use in this computer (Recommended) --- Do NOT select this option.

O Make the new drive for use in another computer --- Select this option.

Continue with the cloning while being patients. It does take a long time. Progress and percent complete bars tell how the cloning is going. A success message should appear when cloning has been completed.

4. Remove the battery from the computer. Remove the old hard drive. Install the new hard drive. Install the battery.

5. Start the computer. You are likely to be successful if Windows boots to the "log in" screen. Expect Windows to give a message that it has found a new device or is installing a new device. Be patient and let Windows do it thing. Windows will also give a message that it is installing a new device driver. Click "Restart" when prompted to do so. You have now successfully install the new hard drive and it will work with your computer.

6. The partition or partitions on the new hard drive are only the same size as the old hard drive. These can quickly and easily be adjusted to utilize the unallocated space on the new drive by using the free AOMEI Partition Assistant (PA) Standard software. You can also move, divide partitions to make a new one or change the sizes.

7. Launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant. The graphics interface will show the new hard drive with lots of unallocated (empty and unassigned) space. Do not use the numbers to adjust the partition size. Use the graphical interface. If your old drive had two partitions (two drive letters) click on the second one next to the unallocated space. Click in the middle of the partition and hold to slide the partition to the far right end of the unallocated space. Now you can expand the second partition by clicking the left border and moving it back to the left as desired. Increase the size of the first partition by clicking the right boarder and sliding it to the right next to the second partition. This is the same procedure for only one partition. You can highlight a partition and click to divide it, if you want more partitions. Click "Apply" in the upper left of the top menu when the partition or partitions are set to utilize all of the new hard drive page.

You now have a massive new SSHD drive in your laptop.

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