How to replace the Hard disk in a Zoostorm Freedom 10-270 netbook

My netbook is out of warranty and the hard drive has died, or just not working very well. My first hints should have been the noise coming from the netbook – it wasn’t quiet anymore but I’d just got used to it.

I contacted ZooStorm (manufacturer) via email at “” to see what they’d suggest. They got back to me quite quickly – well within 24 hours which is good I think. They suggested a hard drive failure after my explanation of chkdsk freezing, and the amount of error messages. I assumed they would but couldn’t find where to change the drive. No info online, and nothing in the manual/papers I could find.

They told me I could replace the hard drive myself but it does involve a complete strip down of the unit. They say they do not have guides on how to do this and I’ve not found any online either so I share a basic overview:

1. Remove all screws from the bottom and remove the wireless card.
2. Remove the keyboard
3. Undo all screws under keyboard
4. Disconnect the screen and take the top c plate off
5. You should see the hard drive.
6. Replace the hard drive

You will also require:

  • a small cross headed/philips screwdriver
  • a flat edged blade
  • Lots of Patience
  • Somewhere to store all the screws and bits
  • Optional: A camera

It sounds simple enough, and I found out that you need a 2.5″ SATA Drive before starting. I had an old one from another laptop, I re-Imaged the Netbook image onto the old drive on another PC before attempting the task of netbook di-section.

The Process as I did it (following the guide above)

I have some pictures to go with this lot but have not been able to transfer them off my phone yet, so will update this when I do.

I would recommend you take pictures as you go along, it will help you when putting it back together as you can do everything in reverse.

1) Remove all screws from the bottom and remove the wireless card.

I found there to be 8 screws on the bottom of the netbook, 2 for case compartments and only 2 for the wireless card which when removed springs outwards but is still attached to the board. There is a delicate connection wire to the wireless card that needs to be removed.

2) Remove the keyboard

This sounds easy but doesn’t seem to be loose to be removed easily. The front of the case opens up but not the whole thing. I’ve removed every screw I can find but so far, not there.

After about an hour or so of searching for a way to remove this, I decided to re-contact zooStorm Support as without bending back the plastic and watching it snap, I was not getting any further.

I got these instructions the next day:

To remove the keyboard you need to push up the 3 clips along the top, one just off of the ESC and F1 keys, one about halfway along, and one towards the other end. While doing this carefully raise up the keyboard and it will then come away, the keyboard is attached to the motherboard via a cable which will need to be unclipped.

Under the keyboard you will see more screws that will be required to be removed. Additionally you will need to remove the screen, this will have 2 screws holding it in place located under the hinge caps. You can remove these by placing a small flat blade between the back of the hinge and the metal plate and twisting slightly which will then lift it up.

Once these screws are removed the top and bottom panels will start to separate, please note that there are 3 plastic clips within the battery bay holding the top on, you will need to use a flat bladed screw driver or knife to release these.

So I’m back attacking the system again.

2 screws for screen
6 screw under keyboard

To unclip the keyboard you need to raise the black strip up and the cable just falls out easily.

Drive has a caddy, its held in with 4 screws around it, the caddy holding the drive also has 4 screws. Remove the screws and the drive slides out. It took me ages to find the fourth screw holding the caddy in place as its down the side and is black, the same colour as the surrounding.

I used the pictures I’d taken in reverse to put back together. When attaching the keyboard and other things with the light flat ribbon cables you need to raise the black part up and then put cable in and lower the black down clipping it in place. It does make quite a strong hold.

Once everything was put back together it was the moment of truth, I switched it on and the boot screen came on followed by the windows logo and then everything loaded up. It was just as though it was new again (well new to last backup) – works fine and well now and proved to me that taking backups was worth it. Everything re-synced and windows wanted to update itself but otherwise the PC was back up and working.

so.. Result!

Dead Netbook

My netbook seems to have died – well at least it looks like the hard drive has died. It starts to load windows and gets so far and then just stops and stays on a nice screen with nothing useful except a mouse cursor that moves around.

I thought, oh no – another re-install due to coruption (i’d tried the startup repairs and none of that had worked neither had safe mode that crashed in same place) so a Re-Install. That’ll be easy – I have a ghost image of the netbook.

I ghosted it last time I re-installed and update windows and other software. I removed all the “freebies” you get like trial AV & Office software and installed a free AV (Avast) and Open Office as well as a few other apps. Ghosted it using “Symantec/Norton Ghost” – its an old copy – it booted from 3 floppy disks originally (now bootable usb) but just works.

To restore should have been a simple 20 minute job, it didn’t work. Ghost wouldn’t even load which was odd but I thought, oh well lets chkdsk the drive.

So I did the full “chkdsk c: /r” to check the drive. That took a while, I guess it would have taken forever really as it got to stage 4/5 and froze. It stayed on 0% for over 14 hours at which time I stopped it, rebooted and tried again. It froze again implying major faults on the drive. My inital hint was the hundreds of error lines where it couldn’t read parts of the drive and finding orphan files all over, so yes – a deaded drive.

Backing up

Its really important to backup, and people previously have said that I am paranoid about losing stuff. My routine may be a little over the top sometimes but at times like this it really pays.

My backup routine consists of a daily backup of all documents and work to an external HDD, aswell as uploaded to personal web space over 2 servers located in different parts of the world. Once a month, DVD/Blu-Ray Disks are burned of the backups and stored in a safe in an offsite location (These backups contain all work and sometimes ghost images of the system). My documents are also saved in Dropbox, and anything I want to keep private I password protect (to a point)

Documents and general settings were safe. I don’t use my netbook for anything major – just usually thoughts and web/email stuff. I use IMAP for email so everything is stored on the server and Dropbox for documents which is shared on other PCs. I also copied my pidgin & firefox profiles into my dropbox there by syncing them elsewhere so nothing was lost.

Useful Backup Tools

SyncBack – Useful to auto backup to external drives and online, as well as automatically make archival copies of stuff. I use the SE edition (which is paid for) but the free version works well.

Ghost [Amazon Affiliate link] – Great to make a copy of your system as it is on a set day. If anything goes wrong you can usually have a system up and running in about an hour.

Dropbox – a set of about 2GB of disk space to auto sync documents and work, and share with friends if wanted. Great for collaboration work or just to share an idea.

Web Disk Space

You can get webspace almost everywhere but a lot of them will complain and is against there terms of service for you to use their space as storage for non-web based things or even as an FTP server. I’ve found the following to be good.

Allows loads of space and their servers seem quite fast. I once got one script slightly wrong and it transferred over 200GB of data to their servers – No complaints or comments sent to me. I once ran a PHP script to make thumbnails of all my photos I’d uploaded and it was done quite quickly. I’d ran the same elsewhere and it had taken about an eighth of the time here.
Costs: Around $60 a year or £37 after exchange rates and you get a domain name too (which is helpful and usually around $10/£8)

Great support but not a lot of space. Good as a starter set – Not tried the scripts here. But I’ve been with them since 2003 and in that time there has only been around 4 times of downtime that affected me and none of that in the past few years.
Costs: Between £4 and £8 per month (£48 to £96) also free domain name

I know some of the people that run this company. They spoke about it when we were in college together and soon after they started it up. I’ve been with them since early 2003 and they have been helpful to me whenever I’ve needed it. Occasionally I’ve really messed up DNS Records and they’ve put them to how I’ve needed them and explained what had happened. Which has been a blessing in the learning curve.
Costs: Depends on the account you want. A basic hosting account will cost around £54 a year – I use the reseller account that gives me more space and control and costs near to £24 per month.

If you want a full control area, you could go down the VPS route but they don’t usually come with backups of the space with it. If interested, a good one is:

* Linode – Linux Based where you can put whatever you want on (within their terms of service) and it will just live there. Comes with a good chunk of space for the smallest package. Costs around $20/£13 a month

Next… Replacing the Hard Drive in the Netbook

University – Will I get in?

I dont write much online anymore, and if I do its in spurts. Mainly because I don’t have free time to stop and think and word what I want down – it doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to say just that I only get it if on holiday usually away from home life otherwise always working on that other project thats on my mind.

I am hoping that I get into University, I’ve a place on a conditional offer on them getting proof of my results from college and GCSEs – I’m not sure why they need to see them as already studied with them a while back and was on a degree course with same requirements but they insist on seeing the proof.

I have not found them and had to pay the exam boards for them to send confirmation to the university – they won’t send out certificates unless you have a crime reference for their loss. I’ve not needed them for any job interview, or other education and moved house multiple times since getting them so they could be somewhere in the house but after searching all drawers, cuboards, boxes and even the loft I could not find them.

I sent for results to the boards that covered my area. They say it takes up to 28 days – I only had around 40 days to get it before the course was due to start so I thought OK, I’ll send it to them. After about 2 weeks I get a call to say one board had only had half of my results but the rest were at their other office and to get them I had to pay again and send to that office – again with 28 days. Why you have to pay twice, from the same company for results that were all taken at same time by the same board is annoying and expensive to say the least.

So far, the univeristy have all my results except maths and english results – which in most places are the most important ones to get. The course is due to start in about 2 weeks time – in start of October. I’ve not been able to prepare much like sorting books etc as you need to be enrolled to get more details and can’t enroll until the place is accepted. So now I wait.

I am going for a part time Law degree. I’ve spoken that I wanted to do something related to Law but never had got round to it. Now I’m going for it, although its taking a lot of time just to get onto the course. I know it will take a lot of time to work through it but have been busy for the past few months re-organising and building a structure so that I will have the time to work on it and through it. Its something that will be hard, challenging and help me grow again. It could even give me new direction in life.

I’m not interested in the idea of getting money back, sueing people all over but more in the defending and protecting people side of it all but to have a knowledge of it all means you can try to see things from all angles and where and what people may say from your statement so you can defend it and not be caught off guard.

While at university the first time around, I would have discussions with lots of friends but often there was only one side to it. I would often take the complete oposite view, even if I agreed with the other side just to get a discussion/argument going. I learned a lot from them, as could see what led people into different directions for pursuing their point.

I used to challenge one friend in particular as he had strong views, he was one of my closest friends while at university. He didn’t realise I was doing it for fun and challenge for a while, and was not so pleased when he found out. I didn’t do it to hurt, but after explanation he understood the reasoning and I think still often forgot when discussions started again.

Time Out

I’m having a little time out in London for a week. My work in the medical centre has been very busy recently which is quite nice, but quite tiring too. It is coming up to flu season which means preparing all the recall lists, promotion and trying to get people to come in for things. I am part of the main team that does the prep work so been quite busy with that as well as a few other things.

My other jobs have also been busy, and to be honest I think I prefer it that way. I’ve been in jobs in past where you get a call and have to do something there and then and soon after its just waiting and nothing you can do productively and ends up reading online. I often took this time to read up on news or science stuff that interested me or attempted the online training while the sites were accessable.

I’m hoping to meet with friends this week, some are travelling down thursday – others are already in London. I don’t have a structure for the week apart from getting something from an office one day and a little shopping for supplies. I enjoy just wandering, or sitting in a park with a pad of paper drawing and writing my thoughts and ideas and allowing my imagination to wander. I did manage to forget my pad of paper and pencil but should be able to get some while in London. Maybe it will mean this is updated more often.

I’ve missed my french holiday this year, mainly because of money costs. My trip to london will cost around £200 including most costs and food. A trip to france would cost me around three or four times as much but would usually have nicer weather and I’d get to know more people. I’m having the break now, and thats something I really feel I need. I’ve had a great sleep last night, slept about 12 hours – longest I think in months. I did however wake up around 7.15 (Normal time for work) and then remembered I was not at work and turned over and back away.

I know what I write isn’t really interesting to most people, and its my outlet – occasionally I’ll put something useful on here but mainly its just me rambling on.

Facebook – Changes again

I quite like the new change to the news system, its useful to have everything in one place although on a small screen its quite full. I like the idea of what others have been up to on the right hand side and it does make it a lot easier to be nosey about whats going on.

Isn’t that what a lot of facebook is about though, to be nosey and discover what others are up too. To see what their current interest is in and if you feel that way too – a style of connecting with others.

I think facebook likes to change things every so often to raise its awareness in the media. Whenever they make a change they get lots of attention. The media outlets bounce onboard announding the new changes, people blog about it (like this) and tweet. They talk openly about “the changes” and if they agree/hate the changes and all in all, facebook gets a lot of people openly talking about it.

I wonder how many other organisations could get free publicity by changing something that gets peoples attention. It doesn’t seem to matter in facebooks case if its good or bad for the masses, they get a lot of attention and more people visit their sites. If more people visit, they get more page views, more page views equals more ads served, more ads means more income.

So by making a change they get more income and now you ask: “Why did they change?” – well its not like people don’t want to make more money is it?

A Hungry Day

Some days I get very hungry and it doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, I am still hungry and keep on eating. Today was one of those days. It started as normal – breakfast: a bowl of cheerios with milk and off to work.

Brunch which seemed to start around 9.30am consisted of 2 bananas and 3 apples, followed by 4 slices of roast beef, and 8 slices of ham, then the rice biscuits – they were not filling but tasted nice, and then the half pack of fig rolls, and two slim fast milkshakes (I like the strawberry one). Then it was coming up to lunch which was sandwiches and a break. Dinner started with a bacon butty, then a burger and chips then ice cream.

Still feeling hungry, I’d felt I ate a lot and should stop so continued with stuff and later ate more crisps and some crunchy salad I found in the fridge yet still I feel hungry and writing about food hasn’t helped that.

But today, today has been a good and quite productive day and not just in the eating way. I seem to be getting on top of a load of things at my morning job that I’ve had issues with recently. I’m getting information back for the one on the afternoon job and actually able to do what I need to do instead of waiting on others and got to practice some of what I’d been learning with people instead of just writing – I was speaking with people too – I know it sounds simple, and in reality it is – but to get the right information from and to the person can be quite a challenge.

This evening (around the food stuff) I tried something new, I was meant to be going to the Parkmore with a friend for near 8pm but he was working and not due back til 9ish so we went later… that wasn’t new… what was new was attempting some meetup group I found on the internet.

I’m in lots of different things, and have many friend groups now but its very hard to actually find a group that can go out and do things much or get people together. While at university, I was in many groups, clubs, societies – that had things organised to do things. I liked the option to get out and do stuff. This meetup site seemed to offer that. I joined a local group, initially I thought this looks like a USA Site but typed my post code and found something…

They have a monthly meetup in a pub in Thornaby, where new and current members come and chat and meet one another. I was terrified at the idea of going – not knowing anyone, not telling anyone I was going (thinking about it now, that wasn’t so smart) – just going and meeting a group of people in a pub that I’ve only a little chatted online with.

When I got there, my nerves kicked in while in the car outside. I stopped and just thought about it… “Well, it can’t be as bad as turning up to that interview and making everything up on the spot because they didn’t send me all the information I needed” or “It can’t be like that networking thing – that worked out OK” and somehow a calmness came over me. I was still quite nervous, but at the same time I wasn’t and just went in and met with people. They were easy to spot – they had banners on the table with Meetup all over them.

The group was very welcoming, and chatted to me and several other new members to the group. I didn’t feel presured to talk and to start with, chatted to only a few people but felt as though a friendship was instantly created and was really enjoyable.

The meetup started around 7.30pm – I left to go to the Parkmore around 8.30 – I look forward to the next one as think I’d stay much longer. It was a lot of fun and would recommend to others to go too. I would think that it may be better to go with other people but I often find it easier to be myself and judge a group when I’m not with someone else… so I’m not trying to be how people expect – there are no expectations and everything is new. I’ve found that I’ve made loads of friends in many groups this way and intend to keep on going.

So overall, its been a good day but still hungry, I’m not eating more – otherwise I won’t sleep well and I enjoy my dream world way too much to mess that up.

Meetup Group: Teesside