Originally Posted by Erin
Did this a year or two ago on a Dell Inspiron 8200. The hard drive is a standard 4200rpm 2.5 inch drive. I bought the adaptor case which you fit the new hard drive into and then slide it into the accessory slot on the laptop, where the floppy drive or second battery normally resides. Then use Norton Ghost to copy everything accross and make the new disk bootable. Finally take the old original disk out of the side of the lappy and pop the new disk in its place.
Or as Codders implies, you can do it all on a desktop if you have a drive with enough spare capacity to take the Ghost disk image (or your laptop doesn't have a second bay).
1. Take drive out of laptop, may need to remove from carrier
2. Connect to desktop using USB -> 2.5" hard drive adaptor (there's also ones you can connect directly to disk controller card)
3. Save image to desktop drive (after checking you have enough space)
4. Connect new drive
5. Ghost the image back onto the new drive
6. Install new disk in carrier
I was going to do this with an old laptop of mine but unfiortunately the drive died beforehand. However, the laptop did take the disk upgrade with no trouble.
Don't know what the BT Digital Vault is like in terms of restore but the external USB drive is a good option for quick local backup/restore even if you don't cart it around.