Laptop hard drives: a story and a question

It seems that the hard disk drive (HDD) in my Sony Vaio laptop has failed. So I decided to look into purchasing a replacement. I expected that Google would quickly take me to various websites that would explain what drives are compatible, how much they cost, etc. But a good hour Googling left me not much wiser: It seems my model HDD isn’t available any more, but I couldn’t find much info on what HDDs might be compatible.

Included in my search was a visit to the Support area of the Sony website - not the world’s greatest, but I did find a Knowledge Base. In it I came to an article entitled “Hard drive replacement” which definitely sounded promising. But the article stated emphatically that my HDD is not removable and so cannot be replaced.

Unaware of this, I’d already removed the HDD. You loosen a single screw and it slides out neatly, much the way the battery does - takes about 5 seconds. It’s by some margin the most easily removed HDD I’ve ever owned.

I decided to call Sony and ask them about this. No joy - It costs $19.99 to talk to a real person. I sent an e-mail explaining how easy it was to remove the HDD, and asking for model numbers. I got a response explaining that Sony laptop HDDs aren’t removable, so there would be no point in providing any info.

So that leads to my question: does anyone know of websites that might help me find a suitable 2.5" HDD for my poor Sony?

There should be a label on the drive. Try eBay and put in some of the numbers from the drive. If you can remove the drive, others have probably done so as well.

Sony Vaio harddrives

2.5 IDE drives are more of less universally cross compatible as long as you do not exceed the drive height restriction for a particular drive bay. The vast majority of modern notebook hard drives are 9.5 millimeters in height and the vast majority of bays will accomodate this height. You also need to make sure the drive is jumpered correctly to be a stand alone master, just like in a larger IDE drive.

The only other potential restriction would be the limitations of the notebooks MB BIOS in terms of how large a hard drive gigabyte-wise it can handle. has some good prices on notebook drives.

If your laptop is modern and modern laptop harddrive will work. They’re all the same dimensions. I believe they are 2.5 x 9mm. The old ones were I believe 2.5 x 12mm. There may be thermal concerns however. It’s doubtful, but to be safe i’d stick with a harddrive with the same RPM rating(eh, actually personally i’d buy a fast 7200 rpm one :smiley: ). has some good prices on notebook drives.

PIMF - Make that instead.

My current laptop is on its fourth :slight_smile:

It was born with an 8 gig IBM drive (noisy and slow and tall at 12mm), ran for awhile on a Toshiba 18 (faster, much quieter, 8.5), got upgraded to an IBM 60 (faster, little tiny klunking sounds on access, 8.5), and then that one became the external and a Hitachi 60 (blisteringly fast, very quiet, and skinnier - 7.5??) took its place internally.

Manufacturers of computers will never tell you the truth about what you can put in your machine. They want you to buy a new machine. Ask the vendors who make the products. I’ve broken out beyond spec in a half-dozen different places with this computer.

Ugh… Egghead’s still in business? Hmm… “powered by Amazon” whatever that means. At least they got rid of that Professor Egghed mascot.

Have a look at these guys also - I recently bought a replacement laptop drive from them, and their prices were considerably less than local sources, even with overnight shipping costs added. Quick service too - I ordered online at about noon, requested next-day UPS and had the thing the next morning at 9:30.

It’s been my experience with Sony that they often try to convince you something’s impossible to fix.

Many thanks for the useful advice. I had not understood that 2.5" IDE drives are generally compatible with each other. I will soon be buying a replacement that’s bigger and faster than the original, and looks as if it will cost around $100.

[And for the guys at Sony tech support, one word: Nuts!]

Be very careful when replacing the drive. While it is true that the form factor is standard, you need to look at power consumption and especially heat output.