Upgrading The Hard Drive On My MacBook

Yeah, I know, I haven’t even had the machine for a week yet and I’m already looking to upgrade the hard drive. Well, I wanted more than the 120GB that came with the machine but Apple charges so much more for drives that I couldn’t justify it; not when I could simply buy a 2.5" hard drive off NewEgg and plop it into my machine.


So I set off to find a decent sized replacement drive. I take a lot of high end digital photos and my current library of photos runs over 44GB. In addition I shoot some video that I want to edit on my Mac, so 120GB gets shallow awfully quick.
I popped onto NewEgg and found the Western Digital Scorpio 320GB drive. Looked like a winner; nearly triple my existing space and only $179. I also picked up a small USB 2.0 enclosure from Bytecc so that I could set up my new drive properly and have a place for the 120GB drive once I removed it from the MacBook.
The first thing I did was plop the new WD drive into the Bytecc so that I could configure it. That took all of about 30 seconds. I plugged it into the USB port on my MacBook and it saw it, loaded up Disk Utility and I was prompted to set up the drive. I created a new, single partition on the drive and let her rip. It didn’t take long at all – I went upstairs to do a couple of things and when I came back down it was ready to go!
Next I loaded up Carbon Copy Cloner. Great little application for cloning your hard drive. That took all of about 12 minutes since I didn’t have too much on the machine yet.  Once that was done I had my two drives ready to go so it was time to do a little surgery.
I followed the directions that Apple provides for replacing your hard drive – it really is a simple DIY job. All that’s required is a coin to pop out the battery, a very small phillips head screw driver and (no one told me this one) and extremely small Torx drive. The only thing missing from the directions that Apple provides is that there are 4 small Torx screws that secure the small drive housing to the hard drive. Fortunately I happened to have one but if you’re considering doing this make sure you have a small Torx drive bit available.
It only took about 5 minutes to swap the drives and that was with me in full "meticulous" mode. Once the drive was in I fired up the Mac and everything worked! There was a very long delay at first, likely the BIOS detecting that a different drive was in there and having to reconfigure itself but after that it allowed me to log in normally.  I used the Spotlight to try and pull up Disk Utility and the machine had to think about that for a while. It needed to reindex everything, which took about 20 minutes with the CPU running at about 50%.
After the reindexing was complete the machine ran perfectly. The drive is just as whisper quiet as the last one and I am not experiencing any problems at all. As I type this I’m copying my digital photo library over from one of my internal servers – looking forward to seeing what I can do with iPhoto!


  1. I prefer the Wiebe Tech enclosure for my Macbook. With only two USB ports I like the ability to plug into firewire.


  2. You can also boot from the system disc and fire up disk utility and use the “restore” feature. That will clone one hard drive to another.
    BTW, you need to set the startup disk after such a maneuver to prevent slow bootups in the future.


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