How to Upgrade you Mac Hard Drive?

How to Upgrade the Hard Drive of Your MacBook Pro

In Mac, Tips & Tricks by tigerNT0 Comments

Warning: In order to change the hard drive, you need to open the laptop and lift the keyboard cover. Changing the hard drive may void the warranty from Apple. Think it twice or consult with Apple before proceed.

As a web developer, I need to install a lot of large applications – all major browsers, Adobe Creative Suite, Komodo IDE etc. It didn’t take long before I ran out of disk space. So I decided to upgrade the hard drive of my MacBook Pro from 160GB to a larger one. Instead of going to the Apple store and paying a premium price for the disc replacement, I decided to do this myself. I found the whole process wasn’t really difficult. I’d like to share this experience with others who have the same need.

Hard drive and enclosure:
The new hard drive I bought  is Hitachi Travelstar 7K320 320GB 2.5″ Mobile Hard Drive – 7200, 16MB, SATA-300 (Hitachi HTS723232L9A360). The price is about $80, you can get it from Amazon or Ebay.  If you want to keep an exact copy of your current system after the upgrade without having to re-install  everything, you need to mirror your existing system to the new disc before doing anything else.  In my case, I bought a 2.5′ hard disk enclosure . Then I copied the curent system to the new disk using SuperDuper! Later, I am planning to use the enclosure for the old disk as an external drive.

Tools required:
To do the work, you need to use two kinds of screw drivers. Phillips #0 and a T-6 Torx Screwdriver. You will need T-6 Torx Screwdriver to remove 2 screws from the memory cover and 4 other screws from the hard drive. T-6 Torx is a must.

Phillips #0

Phillips #0

T-6 Torx Screwdriver

T-6 Torx Screwdriver

Move the data on the existing hard drive to new disk:

Launch SuperDuper!, choose you current system volume and simply follow the instruction to finish each step. It may take a while to transfer the data from one drive to the other. Although not necessary, it is always a good practice to backup you important files first. You can do this using Time Machine, which comes with the system.

Backup existing system using SuperDuper or Time Machine

Backup existing system using SuperDuper or Time Machine

There is one more thing you need to pay attention before starting. The screws on your Macbook Pro are in different sizes and lengths. Sometime, even though the they look similar they actually are slight different.  It is VERY important not to put the screws in the wrong holes. You need to remember where they belong. The safest way to do this is to take notes when you take the screws out so later you know exactly where they belong.

Operation:

With all the data safely transfered to new the disk and the necessary tools to do the job we will now move on to the real work.
(1). First, remove the battery.

Remove MacBook Pro's Battery

Remove MacBook Pro's Battery

Then you have to un-screw the 3 screws on the memory cover using philips #0.

Remove the memory cover and modules

Remove the screws from the memory cover

(2). Use T6 to remove the other two. Make sure you don’t mix the screws.

Use T6 to remove the screws

Use T6 to remove the screws

(3). use phillips #0 to remove two screws inside the memory container [if you take the cover off, you will be able to  upgrade macbook ram. see mac ram upgrade for details]

(2). use philips #0 to move the 4 screws on each side of the laptop.

(3). use philips #0 remove the 4 screws at the bottom of the laptop near the hinge.

(4). use phillis #0 remove the 2 screws on the hinge

Now it is time to take the keyboard cover off. You hold the left and right side of the keyboard cover like in the picture and lift it up slowly. You will probably get stuck in the front, because it gets very tight at the front. You need to slowly shift the cover left and right and then pull it out.

Lift the keyboard cover from the front

Lift the keyboard cover from the front

Once you have the front and the back of the keyboard cover off , slowly lift it up from the front. Inside you will see a yellow flat cable which connects the keyboard to the montherboard. You need to remove the connector from the monthboard. After this the keyboard is totally off and you can put it aside.

Remove the keyboard connector attached to the motherboard

Remove the keyboard connector attached to the motherboard

Here is a naked view similar to your  MacBook Pro, as you can see the hard dive is on that left side near the front end. There is a wide yellow cable gluded to on it surface. You have to remove this cable before you can take the hard drive out. You need to be patient while doing this. You don’t want to break the cable but you need to take it off from the drive.

A naked view of MacBook Pro

A naked view of MacBook Pro

Here is a technique you can you use: Use something like a hard plastic card (like your library card) and slide it beneath the cable from one end.

MacBook-Pro-remove-cable-from-harddrive

Once you have got the yellow cable off the hard drive, tilt it towards the front and side, then disconnect the SATA connector at the end of the drive.

Remove the connectors from the hard drive

Remove the connectors from the hard drive

Once you have the drive all the way out, it is time to use your T-6 Torx Screwdriver again.

Take the screws out using T6

Take the screws out using T6

You will use T6 to move those screws that hold the drive and the two screws on each site of the hard drive.

Remove the two screws on each side of the hard drive

Remove the two screws on each side of the hard drive

Next install the screws on your new hard drive connect the SATA connectors at the back and put the new drive back into place. Now you are basically all done.

Assemble all the parts back together in reverse order. Be careful! The screws are very delicate, make sure you are not too hard on them. REMEMBER, PUT THE SCREWS INTO THE RIGHT HOLES. Put the memory modules and the battery back. Check everything again, make sure you didn’t forget any screws and didn’t leave any extras inside the machine. Turn your MacBook Pro on. YAHOO! You now have a larger hard drive with your previous system the way it was.  That’s it.

Image Credit: Yutaka Tsutano

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