macbook hard drive upgrade

A good friend of mine wanted to upgrade the hard drive in his mac book pro and I happen to be the resident techie in our circles, so he asked if I would be up to the task. I accepted the challenge, well I would be getting his old drive and dinner as a sort of payment so I’m not completely selfless.

I know there are a lot of these tutorials out there but most of them take way to long so I decided to post my method.

For anyone who would like to attempt this a few things are needed:

SuperDuper! – A backup utility. Free trial that is good enough for upgrading a hard drive
SATA to USB adapter - Device for connecting a hard drive to the mac
Torx Screwdrivers – Apple uses random Torx screws making things hard

Step 1 – Setting Up the New Drive

The first thing we need to do is backup the current hard drive in the Mac.
Connect the new, larger hard drive to the USB adapter and power, then hook it up to the computer. Open the Disk Utility application. (Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility)

  • In the left pane there are two drives, the internal one and the just connected larger drive.
  • Select the new drive and select partition.
  • Set the Volume Scheme to 1 Partition and give it a name. (Apple uses Macintosh HD but you can use anything)
  • It should default to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) but just make sure its right.
  • Before clicking partition, click on Options.
  • This defaults to Master Boot Record, which will work, but for future compatibility select GUID Partition Table.
  • Click OK, make sure everything is right and click Partition.

(As a disclaimer in case you aren’t using a truly new drive, this will erase everything on it). I haven’t tried this, but I’m assuming that if you have boot camp installed just make the extra partition for that and do the backup step an extra time for that partition.
Once this is done we are ready to copy the old drive to the new one.

Step 2 – Backup

With the hard drive still connected, open up SuperDuper! The interface is fairly intuitive but I’ll walk through it anyway. In the first drop down box select the internal hard drive, in the second box select the external hard drive. In the third select Backup – all files. Read the nice info on what it is about to do. Click copy now. Enter password and confirm it again. Now just sit back and relax, go watch a movie, or get some dinner, this is going to take a while. When the backup finishes we can test it out. (If it gave an error about an option not being available in the free version, click Options
and under During copy select the first option)

Step 3 – Test

Testing that the backup worked is very easy. Reboot the computer and just after the chime press and hold the Option key until the cursor shows up. Select the external hard drive to boot from. When it boots up take a quick look around to make sure everything is there (Not really necessary but it always makes me feel beter). The computer is now running on the new copy and we are ready to swap out the drives, so shut down the computer and go to the next step.

Step 4 – Install the Drive

This part is either very easy (macbook) or very in-depth (macbook pro). I’m just going to cover the Macbook as that’s what I have. The Pro is a little more in depth and there are other guides out there for that. Make sure everything is unplugged from the laptop, flip it over and remove the battery. There is a nice little sticker showing how to remove the metal covering and get to the RAM. We don’t need to get to the RAM but we do need to take off the metal covering. Unscrew the three screws and take it out. To the left is where the HD is. Use a jewelry screwdriver to pull out the white plastic flap. Pull on the flap to remove the hard drive. Remember the Torx bits I recommended, those come in handy now, just remove the old drive from the sled and put the new one back in, make sure to put everything back in the same way. Replace the metal covering. Reinsert the battery. Boot up into a brand new hard drive!

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