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On my HP Pavalion G7 laptop I am getting a hard drive not exist message which leads me to assume that my hard drive is dead.

I did an image backup about 2 weeks ago.

Can I purchase an identical or semi identical hard drive and restore from the image?

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Depends on type of image you have. Which software did you use? Look in BIOS first, there could be option to disable HDD, also you may try it in another computer. –  week Aug 26 '13 at 14:25

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Yes that should work assuming you have an image of the entire hard drive.

What might be better though is to do a fresh install of the OS and applications on your new hard drive and only restore the data from your backup. This will give you a clean machine without extra drivers, software etc that you aren't actually using.

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