Apple, Computers, hackintosh, Mac, MBA, Personal

Upgrading my MacBookPro’s hard drive (tweaking some hardware)

Yes, I’ve been busy lately. I know. Building an airport and acting as a globalisation agent is hard sometimes. If you also need to find time to study, things even get trickier. And then your loyal ally tells you that its hard drive is full… well, you get the picture.

Don’t ask me how I managed to fill my 160 gigs hard drive. I just did. And while I was away I realised I wanted a windows emulator at hand because interchanging files between Mac’s Office 2008 and PC’s Office 2004 is not that easy. Sometimes weird things happen (thank-you Microsoft) and you need a bridge inbetween.

Yes, I do need to carry most of my music with me wherever I go. And I like watching StarGate and Yes Minister from the computer while I’m flying somewhere. I am not ashamed of that!

The thing is that I needed a bigger hard drive. And instead of going to the closest Apple center and paying 300€ for the operation I decided to buy a 60€ Fujitsu drive, the same quality that Apple offers of course, and do it myself. The tools: a torque 6 screwdriver, a Philips ++ screwdriver and a sound methodology not to mix and lose the screws.

The first two you can find in any hardware store. The latter at this website:, as well as any accessories you might need.

First of all I made a copy of my hard drive. SuperDuper is the application to use. You can find it here. Encase your new hard drive in an external USB or Firewire unit, format in GUID, copy the whole drive and you are done. After you have an external copy verify it by booting from it holding the “Option” key at boot.

Opening a MacBook Pro to change the hard drive is trickier than one might think. Thanks again to ifixit for this comprehensive foolproof guide. I won’t bother you with the procedure, some highlights may suffice:

Opening the case after removing almost every screw, scary, huh?

The guts of a MacBook Pro. The hard drive is on the left. That’s the moment when you have to detach the wires connecting the keyboard (top center) and hard drive (left). Will they ever work again?

The final moment of glory: when you swap the old 160 gigs Hitachi for the new 320 gigs Fujitsu. In any case the hard drive is still Japanese.

Then I did the same steps in opposite order to put back every single screw in its right place, crossed my fingers and voilà, the thing simply worked. I love my Mac. Even with a virtual PC inside it, that I only needed to copy from my other computer. Right now my virtual PC is upgrading to XP service pack 3… and I’ll need an antivirus…


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