help me swap out a fried hard drive for a new one

I’m helping a buddy with a computer problem and I need a little help. If anyone would be able to provide some walk-through information, I would appreciate it.

The computer was built from one of our other friends so it isn’t a factory-built PC. It is a pretty basic setup and has been running for about 1 year without problems.

Until the past week everything was fine… then, something happened to the hard drive. Following the loading of the BIOS, the window’s blue screen of death appears. My friend thought Windows just needed to be reinstalled but I found out that the hard drive isn’t being recognized. When windows is attempted to be installed, it states that the hard drive is not recognized.
So, we’re ready to install a new, fresh out of the box hard drive. (500 gbs! Wow!)

This is my first time doing this so I’m unsure how to go about this.
Is the BIOS contained on the hard drive or in other memory? How should I deal with it… if I need to at all…?
Like I said, the current Hard drive is pretty worthless. I also tried to dock it in an external enclosure but could not come up with anything so I think I’m SOL with retrieving any drivers. I plan on installing a copy of XP that is a solo copy (no drivers… didn’t come with the computer) and I’ll get the drivers on there from an external computer, downloading them, then transfering over. Is this the most practical way?

Any help with a walkthrough is welcomed and appreciated

Thanks in advance!

The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is stored in flash memory on the motherboard. Since it’s a fairly new system, installing a new drive should be as simple as plugging in and mounting the new drive, then booting the system with your XP CD in the drive. Let Windows Setup format the new drive as NTFS, which it should offer to do at some point early in the setup process.

If you’re not worried about salvaging data from the old hard drive then things are pretty simple. Physically remove the old hard drive and put the new one in place. The BIOS is contained on the motherboard itself and if it’s only about a year old I don’t think you’ll have any problems with it not recognizing the hard drive.

Odds are that “Boot from CD” is already in the boot device order, so just pop your Windows CD in and power up. That should take you into the Windows installation automatically, it’ll walk you through formatting the new hard drive and away you go.

If it won’t boot from CD you may have to go into the system setup (watch closely when you power on, the simple text stuff that appears will mention the CPU, installed RAM, detect the hard drive and it’ll say something like “Press DEL to enter system setup”). Once in there find the screen that shows boot device order and make sure that “CD ROM” appears there; you can temporarily switch it to the first device if you like.

One thing that would be handy to have is the driver disc for the motherboard itself - this would have shipped with the mobo and it’d be a CD with drivers for all the stuff that is builtin to the mobo which probably includes your soundcard, ethernet and so on. If you don’t have that and you’re having problems getting those devices recognized by Windows, go to the mobo’s manufacturer’s website from another machine, look up your specific model (if you don’t know the exact model, look inside the case, it’ll be stencilled on the mobo somewhere) and download all the drivers (at least the ethernet drivers) onto a USB thumb drive or burn them to a CD, then pop that into the machine you are rebuilding. Once you’ve got internet connectivity you can go online and get all the latest drivers you need (such as your video card).

Swapping out a hard drive. Choose your poison. We’re here for any questions.

Hopefully, you have a Windows XP install disc with SP2. If you use an older XP install disc, the installer will not recognize the entire 500GB of the hard drive. Here’s an article about sliptreaming the service pack into the install disc: http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slipstream.asp