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Safest is way to install a removable drive tray such as Welland EZStor ME-751 Trayless HDD Rack 5.25" Bay for 3.5" SATA HDD/SSD - Anti-Shock, Scratch-Proof.
Then you can swap HDD anytime.
You can also install new (now upgrade) Windows 8.1 on a 2nd HDD internally. But sometimes the 2nd OS can damage the first OS if ou are not careful with C: drive letter.
you could run the check disk utility click start run type cmd then type chkdsk/r/f which willscan for and attempt to repair any bad sectors and automatically fix any corrupt files on your hard drive then defragment your hard drive
You can't change the internal parts, you'll lose all your files on the disk if you do so. This is called the 'click of death' and it means that your disk has physical problems with it (and it's not repairable, you'll have to get a new hard disk drive to replace it.) There are many short-term remedies that will allow you to try and get some if not all your files off it before it fails for good; take a look at Google for some advice.
If the information is very, very important then it's a good idea to call up a data recovery service; it's effective but can cost a significant amount of money.
power source jack/plug might be the problem if it has been bumped about or if it was powered up and running before plugging in to the comp..... i had the problem of my 1tb ext/hdd no longer being recognized because when i plugged it into my comp, the jack was live and not switched of at the wall. the only way i got it to work was to pull it out of the casing and switched it with the 320 ext/hdd i have as they are they same brand..just diff sizes. going to put the 320 into comp to become master drive as the internal is a measly 40g. i think i had burned out the connector pins on the power jack when it was plugged in live. i hope this is an idea for you to try.
if you are installing red hat 8 and higher there is no need to install extra driver because linux is the only operating system which will install everything including drivers, office suite,programming tools etc .... as far as my suggestion dnt install old versions of linux instead install new version ... there are many linux available ex: fedora core 4,5,6 ,knoppix live cd linux ( which boots linux from cd no need install it) ,ubuntu,red hat,mandrake,suse .... you can download it from net 4 free as linux is open source 4 all ... be careful while installing linux especially during partitioning..... if u make a mistake you will lose all datas