Saving data while upgrading a laptop hd
My HP dv7 hard drive is full. I think it's around 300 gb. I need a larger hd, so here are my questions and concerns:
1. Is upgrading the hd even possible on this laptop?
2. Is it possible to precisely copy the entire contents of the old hd in working order, including several virtual drives, onto the new hd? I have some very expensive language software on the virtual drives, and I no longer have the original CDs, so losing this would be very expensive.
3. Most of my hd space is filled with photographs and home movies, hundreds of thousands of them. Instead of replacing my whole hard drive because I keep too many pictures, is there another safe, practical way to keep so many photos and movies? DVDs are out of the question. I want to be able to access and search my entire library at once, not search dozens of DVDs. Also, I don't have Internet except on my mobile, so keeping everything on a server wouldn't really work for me.
Please write clearly, and dumb things down for me a bit. I know a little more about PCs than the average user, but I had never even heard of a virtual drive until a friend walked me through the setup, and I don't remember how we did it (except it took forever). I don't want to give you the impression I know more than I do.
Thanks in advance,