It has been almost a trend nowadays for macbook/macbook pro owners to upgrade their old laptop with a higher capacity hard disk, from 80gb to 320gb or 500gb. I’d know sometimes for a casual user, 40gb is probably than enough, but who’s the complain when you can have extra (MORE) space? Blame it to technological indulgence. Anyway, this guide serve to aid you on how you can remove the original hard disk that came with your macbook and replace it with your newly bought hard disk.
To start off, you’ll need few things in hand prepared so you won’t go “Ah shxx!” half way through.
A 2.5 inch notebook harddisk, ranging anywhere from 120gb to 500gb is fine, 5400rpm/7200rpm is fine either.
But it’s best if you get yourself an external notebook harddisk that is pre-packaged, so that you can use it to backup/clone your current hardisk’s content, and then rip the external hard disk off, remove the enclosure, and replace it with the new hard disk, so then your old macbook hard disk can still be used as an external one.
A set of screwdrivers for removing screws inside the laptop.
A TORX T-6 screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the macbook hard disk, this is important and crucial since I halted halfway through the entire process because I didn’t have one. You should be able to find this at your favorite hardware shops.
This guide basically is divided to 3 parts where it consists of :
- Plugging in the external hard disk, and make a carbon-copy of the current hard disk’s content, so nothing is lost.
- Removing the external hard disk’s enclosure and take only the hard disk to replace the old hard disk inside your macbook.
- Installing the hard disk inside your macbook.
Making Backup Copy from External USB hard disk
If you have no idea what to start, perhaps you can refer to How to connect a 2.5inch external harddisk to your computer/notebook?
And once you got the external hard disk connected to your macbook, download Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s a free software an extremely ridiculously easy to use!
If you have plugged in your hard disk, it should appear as an external media icon with the yellow USB logo.
Thought it might not always be this case, that some pre-packaged hard disk might have some softwares included inside, just like the image shown above. Do not fret, we’ll deal with this later.
Save the .dmg installation file on your desktop. Double click to open it.
And a window will open instructing you to copy the software to the Application folder on your mac.
Once copied, you should be able to see the new software inside your application folder, launch the software, and select Open.
Once the software is launched, you should see the window as above. There’s only 2 panel that you need to fiddle with. Select the hard disk that you would like to “Clone/Backup/Copy” on the left hand dropdown menu.
And select the hard disk that you would like the backup content to be copied to. As you can see, the external hard disk that came with the software are formatted in a partition that Mac couldn’t write files. We will fix this with few of the steps below.
Formatting the external harddisk using Disk Utility
Every mac comes with this software that lets you diagnose and partition your hard disk, namely Disk Utility
If you can see from the list on the left, you can select the external hard disk, then go to the Partition tab, and Under Volume Scheme, select on 1 Partition to repartition the disk in the correct format.
Click on the Options
And you should be prompted with a list of partition table. Select the first one on the list.
And click on Apply when everything is done. The formatting only takes about 1 minutes.
When it’s completed, you should see this message if you’re on Leopard, but on other version of the Mac OSX, there should be indication that it’s completed.
And if you notice, if you didn’t give it a name to the hard disk earlier when formatting, you can actually rename it later.
Now when you check on the content of the hard disk, there’s nothing in there because you have just reformatted it! We are now good to go and make backup.
Making carbon copy of your Mac OSX with Carbon Copy Cloner
Select the hard disk that has your current operating system on the left dropdown menu.
And select the hard disk that you want the backup to be copied to on the right dropdown menu.
When selection is done, click on Clone.
You should be prompted for an Adminstrator password to proceed, if you didn’t have one, just click on OK.
And now sit back, and relax. this whole process is really dependent on :
- The speed of your computer
- The amount of content inside your hard disk that needs to be copied
Mind took approximately around 1 and a half hour on a 80gb hard disk.
When the backup is complete, you should see a folder structure inside the external hard disk that resembles your current hard disk.
And we now ready to remove the old hard disk from the macbook. We will need to shut down the computer.
Disassembling the macbook harddisk and replace it with a newer hard disk
After shutting down your computer. Remove the external hard disk from your USB port.
Make sure that your laptop’s charger is not switched on.
And remove the laptop charger’s cable. And the steps below is actually varies to what type of external hard disk you used, and it’s even not necessary for you sometimes to go through the trouble that I did. But I’d recommend you to read what happened below.
Removing the enclosure of your external hard disk
If you bought the new Western Digital Passport Essential 320gb like me on 2009, behold, something interesting and frustating at the same time going to happen. Anyway, the steps below going to demonstrate on how you can remove the enclosure and take out the hard disk enclosed inside.
You can start doing the “peeling” motion on the side of the enclosure itself.
Move your peeling motion all around the enclosure and it would definitely feel like you are going to break the case at any time, but do not worry, it’s a pretty durable plastic.
It would be better and faster if you have several cards that you can use and slot it in between the enclosure to create an opening.
There’s actually no screws holding the enclosure together, but much more like a “snap-on” mechanism like our plastic toys.
Once it gets loosen, it’ll be pretty easy for you get it out.
The enclosure with the hard disk separated.
The blue rubbers are actually noise damper to reduce the rattling noise created by the hard disk itself.
Be sure to keep everything in place not to loose it. To my surprise, there’s actually no screws at all inside this enclosure, yet the built is pretty solid.
The moment of truth
Something that you are about to witness below are going to break your heart if you have just bought the newer batches of the Western Digital Passport that is not sealed through those old blister packaging.
As I’m very excited to remove the hard disk from the enclosure. I noticed something very weird…
THE USB PANEL IS SOLDERED/CONNECTED to the logic board of the hard disk!?!
That leaves me no choice but to get a newer hard disk…I’d guess it makes sense they eventually creates this kind of security measure since if you were to calculate that it’s much more cheaper to get this one (older batch) and take off the harddisk, and you get both hard disk and enclosure that is high in quality at a lower price than you get it separately.
Removing the hard disk from macbook
As someone said on the internet, removing the hard disk on the macbook can be easy as a 5-years old can do it! Really? Let’s see, to start off, you will need to use coin to open the back cover that holds the battery.
With the coin pressed down, turn it towards the “unlocked” icon.
The battery is now free and you can remove it from the laptop.
We will need a screwdriver for the steps below in removing the L-bracket that protects the RAMs, and harddisk in place.
There’s total of 3 screws to be loosen.
Remove the bracket.
And you should see a white paper strip that is located on the left corner.
Pull the paper out to retrieve the hard disk.
As sweet looking as it is, you can actually see it bears the Apple logo on it. There’s actually an aluminium cage that is holding this hard disk.
And if you place a close attention, normal screwsdriver wouldn’t really work in removing it, unless you want to destroy it.
You will need the unusual Torx screwdrive that is more common towards electrical components (not daily use). The one I used are the Torx T-6.
Remove the 4 screws on the side of the harddisk that holds it. 2 on both side.
This is the new hard disk. Install it with the aluminium cage.
And place everything back in place. Hoo-ray! You have successfully completed in upgrading your hard disk! Enjoy your newly overkilled disk space!
And below are some links that might be helpful, for you to check out how others are doing this instead. Most importantly, Enjoy!