Replacing a hard drive on an identical model laptop might just work, but let’s make sure there are no misunderstandings here.
More than likely, you will want to keep the new operating system on your new machine. All that you need from your image backup is the data that has luckily been preserved.
Scammers are an international problem and that makes it extremely difficult to stop. In the end, it’s all about the money.
There is very little about your computer that can be transmitted over a WiFi connection… provided you know how to keep yourself safe on the internet.
A grinding noise and slow computer probably indicate the worse. Stop everything right now and back up!
Even if you don’t use all the software on your computer, malware might! So it’s best to always accept updates when they are offered.