Photo of Jamie & Lion

The personal site of Jamie Knight, an autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

Upgrading Macbook Hard Drive.

I love my MacBook, it has served me very well for the last year or so and apart from maxing out its RAM at 2gb i have not done any major upgrades. Well not until recently.

The MacBook is my main machine not only for work, but for media, communication and education. At the same time, it is my phone, my TV, my notebook and of course the device i use to make my shopping lists! Over the last year i have been steadily filling up its hard drive and with the recent addition of becoming my media center the storage needs have surged. so it was time to upgrade the drive.

The MacBook uses a standard 2.5�? Laptop hard drive, so sourcing a new drive was not difficult, in the end i went for a 320gb Western Digital Scorpio as this combined a performance and a storage upgrade. On top of that it is also advertised as quiet (though in practice i can’t hear my old one either).

As my current internal drive is of a decent size (120gb) and it still had 2 years of warranty left, i also purchased a SATA to USB case for laptop drives. This would enable me to use my old internal drive as an external portable drive in the future, and it would make doing the upgrade easier. Cloning my current drive to the new one, then installing the new one into my machine.

Setting up the drive

So, a couple days after ordering the new drive and case they arrived and i was ready to start. I decided too take a two step approach to performing the upgrade to minimize the risk of loosing data. I had decided to take a time machine backup, and leave it disconnected till i knew that my new system was running smoothly.

The first step was to place the new drive into the 2.5�? portable case and attach it via USB. As this was a brand new unformatted drive i had to use the leopard instal DVD version of Disk Utility to initialize it. In the end i went for a single large (300gb) partition which i named Macintosh HD to preserve the paths for things like my web development testing environment.

After doing this i downloaded and installed the excellent SuperDuper and used it to clone my existing internal drive to the new drive in the external case.

Super Duper Screen Shot

After a couple of hours i booted of the new drive to ensure that everything was working. After passing a few simple tests (starting a few apps, checking permissions) i felt the new drive was good and was ready to move onto installing the new drive into the MacBooks internal bay.

Installing MacBook hard drive

So with the booting drive safely inside the external case it was time to transition it into the internal bay. Before starting this i took a look inside the user guide (available at: ) which was helpful, but said nothing about how to swap the drive holder across. So after a quick bit of searching i found the following video:

I purchased myself the Torx 8 screwdriver at a local Halfords store and in about 3 minutes i had my new drive installed.

A useful tip which i found no where had mentioned, is that when you first go to boot your mac with the new drive installed it doesn’t do anything, the first time you have to start up while pressing the ALT key and selecting the correct drive to boot.

So with the new 320gb drive installed, i have plenty of room for my media collection, my college notes and my work files. Job done!

Published: 24 May 2008 | Categories: , Permalink

Commenting is closed for this article.