So, you google it.. it tells you what it is, in this case a XXX size 30GB drive, how fast etc.. then you go see how fast a HD your laptop can use ATA66. ATA 100 etc.. then you go on ebay and see what is available.. Perhaps you try google groups to see if there are any complaints on the model you are thinking about. Then you bug your local PC shops for something the same physical size, or smaller , for a a price close to what you see online.. If you do it yourself, you'll need tiny screwdrivers and patience.
A laptop to desktop ide adapter ($10 on ebay) will help a lot too..
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You can get Bart PE at www.tucows.com online and look it up it will allow you to start-you have no choice. You can start up windows to look at the drive, this is assuming you have Xp or XP professional. It will allow you to reformat the drive, do not format the partition that has the drivers in it unless you have to bart pe also has a disk repair on it to allow you to fix some of the most common problems on windowsxp. If you need averatec's web site for support let me know and I can give you their 800 number so you can call them, there computers are junk I owned one had to replace three mother boards in one year.
sounds like either you have a disk in the cd drive and it won't boot because of it or you have some other device that it is looking to boot from instead of the hard drive.... if not, then you have a bad hard drive. I would first unplug all accessories and eject any discs... Next go into the bios (if your comfortable with it) and make sure the hard drive is in the boot priority... if nothing, then take the cover off and disconnect and reconnect your hard drive. If that doesn't work then you probably have a faulty drive.
The link to all the manuals is no longer valid, Averatec has been purchased by Trigem. Averatecforums.com and Averatec-forums.com have both gone under and there is painfully few dis assembly guides available.
The only one I've been able to find that was useful is found here:[url]http://www.larwe.com/technical/av3715-open.html[/url]
I have a tip.
Don't forget to set up the drive as master or slave (depending on what you want the drive for).
I personally have forgotten to double check this on numerous occasions (its always the simplest thing you overlook with everything) only relizing when I have the case screwed back on and am trying to boot the drive up.