Monday, February 14, 2011

Upgrading My Internal Hard Drive

The 300GB internal hard drive on my MacBook Pro has been practically full for some months now, and I've kept putting off installing a larger drive....finally, I ordered a 500GB replacement, and decided to install it myself. I went with the Western Digital Scorpio 2.5-Inch 500 GB SATA after reading a few reviews. I hope I made the right decision!

The MacBook Pro is a second generation model (I determined) and I found some good installation instructions (with pictures) at ExtremeTechUpgrade Your MacBook Pro's Hard Drive: Second Generation. Good thing I have an iPad to follow along with while doing the install. No need to print out the instructions!

12:30pm Realizing that I didn't have the special screwdriver I needed, I tried the local hardware store. They only Torx T-6 they had was part of a $25 set. Had to drive to second hardware store to find an individual T-6 for $3.99

12:45pm Driving home, it occurred to me that I had been having problems because I had less than 3GB free; and I still remember buying 700MB drives and thinking they were huge.

1:10pm Though I backup the MacBook Pro using Time Machine, I had decided that it was a good idea to do a second "clean" backup of the drive before starting the process - just in case. Discovered that the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable FireWire 800adaptor/cable I had bought for the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drivedrive is for the portable GoFlex drives, not the desktop drives. I should have bought the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk Desktop Adapter - Firewire 800/USB 2.0 STAE105.
Looks like USB speeds for the backup and transfer...

1:15pm Just to be safe, updated the current Time Machine backup first.

1:45pm Formatted the new external drive. Seagate includes a Mac installer, which was nice, but why-oh-why did the installer install a couple of .exe files on the drive? I told the installer I didn't want to use this drive on PCs!

1:55pm Started the second - complete - Time Machine backup.

4:07pm Only 89GB copied so far, just under 1/3 of the way. This is going to take a long time!

4:14pm 100GB copied...192 to go!

7:00pm The backup is completed!

With it all backed up, I shut down the computer and started the installation. The installation on the second generation MacBook Pro's is really simple;
  1. Lift a latch to release the battery cover
  2. Pull of the battery
  3. Unscrew a single philips-head screw that keeps a bracket in place
  4. Lift up the drive and unplug it
  5. Unscrew four posts on the sides of the drive (using the T-6 driver)
  6. Screw the posts into the new drive
  7. Attach the cable to the drive
  8. Put in the drive and screw the bracket back in
  9. Replace the battery and cover

The list makes it seem harder than it actually is.

With the drive replacement done, I rebooted using a Snow Leopard system disc. The machine itself is running Leopard, but I was thinking I'd upgrade (now that I had some free disc space.) The machine booted okay, but when I went to try and restore from a Time Machine backup, it wouldn't let me do it. It took me a lot longer than it should have to realize that I hadn't initialized the new internal hard drive!

After I did that, I tried to install from my original Time Machine backup (which contains incremental backups from over a year ago), and it said there wasn't enough space to restore! So I took the complete backup I had made that day and tried that instead, and this time it was happy (I can't help thinking it must have been confused; it should have worked!) My adventures in not formatting the drive may have confused things...

7:50 pm Started the Time Machine restore. Initial time remaining estimates: over 6 hours!

10:48 pm Reinstall completed! Restarted and found that it's still running 10.5.8. Guess I should have guessed that it would restore everything from the backup, not install the OS from the booted disc and then update from the Time Machine backup!

At this point, since everything seemed to be working, I decided to postpone the upgrade to Snow Leopard until another time...

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