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New Harddrive

I got a used laptop that needs a new hard drive. I found the exact model number that's already in the laptop I just need to buy it. I'm wondering how to reinstall the original OS on the new hard drive.
The new hard drive says it's not formatted. I was thinking about ordering the recovery disc from the manufacture website for my exact laptop model, However it's almost $30 for these disc and I'm not sure if a "Recovery Disc" would work or not. Was wondering would this website work https://wudt.codeplex.com/ ? If I created a bootable usb maybe I don't need the disc?

EDIT: Do I need to format the drive before attempting to reinstall the OS and how? Or will the method of reinstalling the OS automatically format the drive?

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1


Old Guys Rule!
VIP Member
Pro User
N. Calif

First of all, you don't need to order the exact same model hard drive. The same model will work, of course, but you could also take this as an opportunity to install a larger capacity drive (or even a smaller) or even switch to an ssd instead of an hdd. Unless your laptop is more than a few years old, a 2.5" SATA drive of any capacity should work.

The tool you linked to requires you to first have an ISO of an OS disk in order to write it to a USB and make a bootable USB from it. Does the laptop have a Windows sticker on the bottom with a Product Key? If so, you may be able to download an ISO of the OS.

Your best best is probably to order the recovery disk from the manufacturer. Not only will this install the OS, but it will also install all the required drivers and auxiliary programs. Unfortunately, it will also install any bloatware that came from the factory as well.

You do not need to format the drive beforehand.

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    W10 Pro (desktop), W10 (laptop), W10 Pro (tablet), W10 (laptop)
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Home built i7-8700K, Toshiba Satellite S55-A Laptop, MS Surface Pro 3, Dell Inspiron 15 5000
    3.7Ghz Core i7-8700K, 2.4Ghz Core i7-3630QM, 1.9Ghz Core i5 4300U, 2.8Ghz Core i5 6200U
    ASUS TUF Z370-Pro Gaming, Toshiba, MS, Dell
    16G, 12G, 4G, 8G
    Graphics Card(s)
    Nvidia GTX 1050, Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Sound Card
    ATI High Definition Audio (Built-in to mobo)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell S2817Q 28", 15.6"
    Screen Resolution
    3840x2160, 1366x768 (laptop)
    Hard Drives
    500GB ssd boot drive with 2 & 10TB Data on Desktop, 512GB ssd for laptop, 128GB SSD tablet, 500GB ssd laptop
    Corsair CX 750M
    Antec 100
    Coolermaster CM 212+
    IBM Model M - used continuously since 1986
    Microsoft IntelliMouse
    Internet Speed
    120Mbps/6Mbps down/up
    MSE on desktop, Defender on laptop
    Other Info
    Retired after working in the tech industry for 41 years. First 10 years as a Technician, the rest as a programmer/software engineer. After 1 year of retirement, I was bored so went back to work as a Robotic Process Automation Consultant.