I used another desktop and copied the laptop hard disk to the desktop hard disk, then put in the new laptop hard disk and copied it back with Norton's Ghost.
I've done this dozens of times. The adapter is $3.65 at compgeeks.com.
As to no CDs, all the HP's I run into offer to make the CDs or you can get them if yours didn't offer such.
best of luck,
I have an extremely slow 4200 RPM harddrive in my HP Pavilion laptop. I would like to upgrade to a 7200 RPM HD. HP does not send disks for the OS (XP) so I need to know how to transfer all my information to a new HD?