How likely that it is the HDD that is slowing my laptop down?

Jacky817

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Jul 7, 2017
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Hi guys, I have a Lenovo Z400 Ideapad (non-Touch), which is around 5 years old.

I can still use it to run simulations and games that its graphics card is suppose to handle. But in terms of browsing, launching anything, or using file explorer. It comes to almost a dead halt. In other words, after i wait through the launching of my simulation software, running and using that software itself is still manageable.

I have done a windows reset and the problem still persists, so I think it is solely because of the 3 or 5 years old (can't remember if I've changed once before) HDD that it's running on. Defrag doesn't seem to put a dent in it, at this point.

I think it's still a pretty decent laptop for browsing and light usage, and it currently doesn't have anything else that is faulty.

Is it a good idea to invest 100+ to clone a HDD and replace it? I just need to be reasonably confident that it is not slow as hell after the replacement.
 

geofelt

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Oct 9, 2006
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Laptop hard drives are designed to save battery power. They are slow, particularly the 5400rpm ones.
Then, there may be some weak sectors that take several tries by error recovery routines to read properly.

One common reason for laptop performance problems is dust accumulation.
If the laptop gets too hot, the cpu will throttle.
That does not sound like your problem.

I have replaced the hard drives on every laptop our family owns with good results.
The easy way is by using a Samsung ssd. Their ssd migration tool works well.
You buy a Samsung 850 evo ssd large enough to hold the used part of your C drive.
Attach it via a simple usb to sata cable and move the contents to the new ssd.
google " lenovo z400 ssd replacement" will find you a youtube video of the process.
 

mazboy

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Dec 28, 2017
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Long story short: It's time to backup all your data, wipe the HDD, and do a clean install of Windows, then reinstall all of your applications. The Windows "reset" isn't the same thing. If you've upgraded to Win10, the wipe/reinstall is pretty simple. Again, back up all of your data.

A new HDD isn't going to make a difference (they don't really get old and slow down mechanically, they just get noisy and then fail), but if you wanted to spend the money, replacing it with an SSD does make a noticeable difference in speed.

BTW, don't "clone" or migrate from the old disk to the new. If there are any problems with the software/apps/data on the old drive, you'll just be importing them to the new drive. Do a clean install, whether you decide to wipe the old HDD or buy a new one.

If you're going to install/reinstall Windows10 go here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 and make yourself a Win10 USB boot/install drive. Don't use your old Win10 install media for this: things will go much smoother if you use the latest install version. If you're not using Windows10, you'll have to use your original OS media discs to reinstall.

Then download DBAN Disk Wipe (https://dban.org/) and use it to wipe your HDD (here's instructions: http://www.techfleece.com/2013/08/22/how-to-securely-wipe-your-hard-drive-using-dban/).

After the wipe, use the Win10 USB boot drive to boot and install the OS. Immediately after the install completes, go to "settings->Update & security->Windows Update->Check for updates" and get all the latest stuff downloaded and installed. Now you can reload your applications. You should see a noticeable improvement in the speed of the system.

If you're not using Win10, use your original OS media to install the OS, then be sure to go to Microsoft.com and get the latest updates. After that, load your applications and see what happens.
 
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