I just bought a new Western Digital 320GB Notebook hard disk to replace the stock Toshiba 160GB hard disk in my VAIO SZ laptop. Expecting the hard disk to be where it usually is in most laptops, I opened up the back panel of the hard disk. Replacing the hard disk should be easy – just a matter of unscrewing a few screws, take out the stock hard disk and put in the new one, and screw the covering panel back together. It should take no more than 15 minutes to do that.

And it actually took hours.

First surprise, there’s no hard disk to be seen when I took off the covering panels underneath the laptop. There’s only RAMs and the processor and it’s heatsink. No hard disk. So I went online and did some Google searches, and came up with this website. Heck. I need to do a lot more.

So, with only fairly good description on how to do it and a series of very small and low resolution pictures to guide me, I took a few screw drivers and began dissecting my Sony VAIO. I’ll spare you the step-by-step description of how I did it, but I want to tell you this. If you own a VAIO and want to replace the hard disk, do so only if you are familiar with electronic components and have steady hands. The operation requires surgery-grade precision (literally, really..ok, maybe a bit exaggerated), and especially so when it involves a Sony VAIO (that you’ve spent quite a huge amount of your hard-earned money to get), go get somebody who have at least did it once. If not, your best bet is to send it to the Sony Service Centre and let them do it for you.

Just so that you get a rough idea of how you far you have to go in cracking your laptop open, this is my own Sony VAIO when I cracked it open to replace the hard disk:

The look of my VAIO after I disassembled the keyboard and the magnesium palm rest. The keyboard was especially tricky to disassemble if you're doing it for the first time.

Yes, that's my VAIO. I didn't copy the picture from somewhere else :D

The stock hard disk removed. Believe me, it is much much harder to remove that hard disk than it seems here.

The new WD 320GB hard disk in place. This is tricky too. That brown ribbon cable is very very short and trust me, you don't want to be bending it too much, or risk damaging it.

It sits nicely there, after a few hours of surgical operation.

Give it some light!