I have a Compaq Presario and I’ve installed System Mechanic and it has said
that my hard drive is overheating. It said 113 degrees, failure is imminent.
This PC is only for home use to check emails, search the web, and online card
games – not gambling. I’ve searched hard drives and they go from 10 GB to 250
GB. Would you give me some idea of how to choose a hard drive for simple
In this excerpt from
Answercast #24, I outline a few steps to take that may reduce heating on a hard
drive and give some criteria to look for in a replacement drive.
Cool the machine
Before you go choosing a hard drive, I would prefer that you first look into the underlying problem that’s been reported.
If your hard drive is overheating, replacing the hard drive may not fix the problem:
The problem may simply be that your computer does not have sufficient ventilation.
It may be that your computer has malware on it and it is driving the hard disk continually.
It may be that the hard drive is failing; but there are other things to look at.
This is a symptom of a potential larger problem that I would suggest that you look at first.
So, check the ventilation on your system and make sure that there’s no dust in there; that it’s all cleaned out; that it has lots of good airflow; that the fans are all working and so forth.
Make sure that this overheating problem that’s currently manifesting in your hard drive doesn’t become an overheating problem that manifests in a new hard drive or somewhere else on your system after the hard drive is replaced.
Replacing the hard drive
Now, when it comes to replacing a hard drive, I would say the size doesn’t matter.
What you have is a hard drive that is a certain size. You probably have something like 100 or 200 GB hard drive. I would recommend that you get something that is at least that big. In other words if you’ve got a 100 GB hard drive you’d be safe getting 100 GB or bigger.
That being said, in reality, I haven’t found any hard drives in the 10 GB range for a long time. 250 GB seems to be a minimum right now. Hard drives are currently going into the 3 TB range.
I would suggest (based on price and making sure it fits) that you go ahead and get yourself a hard drive that has a bunch more room. This would be the time to do it. If you’re going to replace a hard disk this would be the time to do it.
The thing you need to realize is that the hard drive needs to have the same interface. In other words, it needs to be IDE or SATA depending on what your computer supports. You’ll be able to tell that from the old hard drive.
The old hard drive will either be IDE or SATA and you simply need to make sure that the new one is the same.
Match physical size
The other thing is, literally, the physical size of the drive (if it’s 2 ½ to ¾, or whatever.)
Make sure that you’re getting a drive that is physically the same size so that it will go into the same slot that the old hard drive was in.
Are you backed up?
What I do want to recommend you do… and I hope you’re doing it…
Is make sure you’re backing up!
Replacing a hard drive
The mechanism for replacing a hard drive that’s still functional is to take an image backup of that hard drive. Replace it and then restore that image backup to the new hard drive. That way, you’ll get your system working in almost exactly the same configuration that you left it in… except it will have a working hard drive.
There are a couple of articles that I’ll point you at.
One is “What does it mean if you get a warning that your hard drive is about to fail?” that goes into a few of these items in a little bit more detail.
Of course, I’ll recommend Macrium Reflect. Macrium Reflect is the backup software that I’ve been using myself and am now recommending regularly as the best way to get your system backed up to something like an external hard drive.
Next from Answercast 24 – Should I dedicate a hard drive entirely for virtual memory?