10 January 2008 @ 22:12How to Replace a MacBook Hard Drive

Last night I replaced the 80GB hard drive in my MacBook with a 120GB Western Digital Scorpio drive. The 80GB was getting a bit cramped, and I was afraid that of a potential hard drive failure. This was the easiest drive replacement I’ve performed on a laptop. Here are the steps I took to migrate to the new drive.

  1. Connect the new drive to a SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter and then connect that to the MacBook’s USB port.
  2. Quit all open applications and launch Disk Utility, and click on the new drive in the left side pane.
  3. Click Partition, and select 1 Partition then click Options, and choose GUID (for Intel Macs).
  4. Click Partition.
  5. Once partitioning is complete, click the Restore tab.
  6. Drag the old volume (the current internal drive) from the left side pane over to the space labeled Source, and drag the new volume (the external drive) from left side pane over to the space labeled Destination.
  7. Click the Restore button. This will make an exact copy of all the data on the old volume to the new volume.
  8. Once everything is done copying, eject the new drive, disconnect it, shut down the MacBook.
  9. Remove the battery from the MacBook.
  10. Remove three small screws from the long side of the battery opening.
  11. Remove the L-shaped cover to expose a white plastic pull tab.
  12. Pull the drive out via that white pull tab.
  13. Remove the four screws holding the drive in its sled.
  14. Put the new drive in the sled and replace the screws.
  15. Slide the new drive into its bay in the MacBook and tuck the pull tab under the edge of the drive.
  16. Reinstall the L-shaped cover and screws.
  17. Reinstall the battery.
  18. Power on.

It looks like a lot of steps, but it’s an extremely easy procedure.

Also, if the old drive from your MacBook is still in working condition, you might consider buying an external USB enclosure (like this one) to use for the migration instead of the SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter mentioned above. Afterwards, you will be able to make yourself a portable USB drive using the old drive.

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by | 2 comments | Posted in hardware | Link to this


  1. hingua | 06 Sep 2009 @ 6:14 #

    can I use the USB enclosure to try and recover data from a damaged hard drive? Is it as simple as putting the hard drive in the enclosure, plugging it into a Mac and trying to see the files and drag them over?

    Please let me know I am desperate.


  2. Jon | 06 Sep 2009 @ 6:47 #

    That should work just fine. Recovering files will depend on how badly damaged the drive is. It’s definitely worth trying.

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