Replacing Macbook hard drive. Please help me make sure I understand all the steps.
August 27, 2008 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Replacing Macbook hard drive. Please help me make sure I understand all the steps.

I am running Leopard on a Macbook. I'm installing a 250GB internal hard drive. Am I missing any steps? Using this as a manual.

Here's what I've done so far:

- Create bootable copy of hard drive with SuperDuper.
- Test backup by using it as startup drive to reboot macbook

My next steps:

- Install new hard drive.
- Reboot macbook using backup drive, format new hard drive per instructions from tutorial link above

Will that work?

I'm most concerned about having to re-register Leopard or any of the other software I'm using (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc.). Any reason to think that might be necessary?
posted by kdern to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Super Duper is good. Carbon Copy Cloner is also good. MS Office will work in a clone, as well as 90% of apps that store licensing info on the HD. Leopard won't be an issue.

You should be good to go, especially if (as I understand it) you're starting this project with 3 hard drives: Original, pre-tested bootable back up, and new...

Also, since I'm sure you havethe necessary licenses for the software neatly filed away with their corresponding installation discs, at most, you're looking at a few extra steps, should something go wrong.
posted by Debaser626 at 1:35 PM on August 27, 2008

"I'm most concerned about having to re-register Leopard or any of the other software I'm using (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc.). Any reason to think that might be necessary?"


"Will that work?"

Well, I have no clue who's behind that macinstruct site and how reliable their steps are, but the general outline of what you're trying to do is correct. I'd consider following the actual self-service manual instead of some random site on the Web, but that's just me.
posted by majick at 1:37 PM on August 27, 2008

Nope. I replaced my hard drive not that long really is that easy.

Not all things on a Mac are, but this absolutely is.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 1:42 PM on August 27, 2008

Here's what you want to do...

1) Backup your system as a DMG to an external drive using SuperDuper!.
2) Turn off the computer and install the new hard-drive.
3) Boot from your OS Restore disc.
4) Open "Disk Utility" from the Tools menu
5) Format the new drive and restore it with that DMG.

All done. You shouldn't have to re-license anything at all unless it is tied to a hardware configuration which almost no consumer-grade software is.
posted by cgomez at 1:54 PM on August 27, 2008

Your plan should work fine, I've recently done it. I used this guide which I like slightly better than the one you linked to for the hardware part, but I couldn't tell you why. They have similar guides for other models as well. Good luck! The trickiest part is going to be unsticking the ribbon cable from the drive. Just take it nice and easy and use something flat and blunt.
posted by The Bellman at 1:56 PM on August 27, 2008

I've had to do this exact procedure on two MacBooks. I used SuperDuper to create the bootable disk, then replaced the hard drive, then booted off the bootable disk and used SuperDuper to create a new bootable copy on the newly installed disk.

In both cases I did not have to re-register the software.

A note regarding the PDF from Apple (linked above by makick) - that document does not mention the need to swap the EMI shield or the need for a torx screwdriver.

My non-Apple replacement disks didn't come with the EMI shield, so I just used the one currently in the MacBook. If you're using an official Apple replacement disk, I'd use the Apple instructions. If you're using a non-Apple disk, I think you'll need to refer to the macinstruct version.
posted by joe vrrr at 2:05 PM on August 27, 2008

Note: Watch the height of the drive. I don't know exactly which MacBook you have, but many notebooks can only take 9.5mm high 2.5" drives.

You can install a smaller drive into a larger space, but you can't reverse that. If you 250GB is a 12mm drive, and your MacBook only has space for a 9.5mm, it won't close up.
posted by eriko at 2:32 PM on August 27, 2008

I did this a while ago and was very pleased with the result. Last weekend, my MacBook took a nosedive off my lap so I will be doing this again when the new hard drive arrives...

Off the top of my head, things to note:

1) Make sure you have the special screwdriver. The L-shaped bracket is fine but you really do need the Tor (or similar) screwdriver for the screws on the EMI shield.

2) Most software should be fine and not need re-registering. I seem to remember, however, that Windows needed to be re-registered (which involved phoning up a helpline, but it was automated and very easy) so if you have Boot Camp or Parallels installed then bear that in mind.

3) I was utterly paranoid about static, and bought an anti-static wristband, but I don't think it was at all necessary. (And, in fact, it was a bit of a pain. Of course, I probably shouldn't have attached it to a freestanding lamp. Accidentally pulling it over gave me rather a shock...) So just touch the metal part inside the computer and you should be fine.

Oh! This was the biggest hold-up for me:

4) When you first boot up the laptop from the new internal disk, it may refuse to boot and greet you with an image of a folder with a question mark. I assumed this to mean that I'd done something catastrophically wrong, and took the drive out again, put it in again, tried to boot again, took it out again, etc. Turns out, this just means the laptop doesn't have a start-up drive assigned, and you'll need to boot it by holding the option key and choosing the new drive, and then later assigning the new drive as the default start-up drive. You are probably much less stupid than me, but I thought I'd warn you in case...

Good luck, I am sure you'll be fine. If I can do it then anyone can!
posted by badmoonrising at 2:33 PM on August 27, 2008

Those instructions are sound, although I don't understand why they refer to the SCREWS that hold the EMI shield to the hard drive as pegs.
posted by BryanPayne at 2:42 PM on August 27, 2008

Response by poster: For future readers - I just completed the hard drive replacement. Using the tutorial above (in my original post), it was as easy as could be. Actual drive replacement took about 3 minutes.
posted by kdern at 7:23 PM on August 27, 2008

Also for future readers,

At some point CCC had problems with Tiger and newer OS X, not sure if it still does.

You might also want to boot off of the cloned hard disk by holding down C on startup just to make sure your clone is ok.
posted by kenliu at 6:05 PM on August 28, 2008

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