Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Upgrading Macbook HDD - My Experience

I have a 1st generation Black Macbook that's at least already 2 years old, but still going strong. I haven't upgraded to Leopard, either - don't feel like spending that much money. Then again, I did spend almost the same amount of money yesterday on something more immediate - upgrading the harddisk!

After doing a much-needed RAM upgrade last year (to 2 GB, which is the max for this model), I used up my yearly bonus and splurged on the upgrade. Indowebstore was offering good prices on internal HDDs for MacBooks, so I contacted them and they agreed to pick up the MB from work, install the new HDD, and deliver it back to the office. There's a catch though - they won't do any data backups for you, and won't move the data from the old HDD to the new one. I think this is pretty reasonable as every customer would have different preferences on what they want to do with their data.

This left me with a small problem - how to transfer the data? I first simply copied all the user files to an external harddisk I borrowed from my wife, but copying the OS and applications was a problem. After asking around, I was introduced to SuperDuper! which is a pretty simple program. Just choose your source disk, and select your target disk. So I did that. After days of agonizing and tweaking the configuration, and asking around again, apparently the problem was that the backup was done over USB - which is simply too slow for copying 80 GB of data. The only option was via Firewire - and I don't have an external Firewire drive.

This time I just searched the web for an answer, and found this article. It was certainly helpful - although I would of preferred to be able to ask someone directly about this.

So following the instructions on the website, I send the MB to the store for installment, and asked them to install a Firewire enclosure for the old HDD. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock, and I spend my lunchtime scouring Ratu Plaza to no avail.

I had to ask someone again, and the id-mac mailing list was very helpful - apparently the JakartaNotebook.com store was walking distance from my office, so I walked over and bought myself the Firewire enclosure. Not long after I reached the office, the MB arrived with its new HDD!

When I reached home, I followed the instructions on how to start the MB from an external Firewire drive, format and partition the new HDD, and then use SuperDuper!to copy the contents of the old HDD to the new HDD. A few hours later, the MB with a new HDD is ready to go!

I spend a few early hours organizing the data and transferring stuff from external HDDs that were getting too full, and now my eyes are a bit puffy :P

Well, that's my story folks, hopefully it will be useful to someone else.


  1. could you please let me know what the specs your new HD are ?, and how much the price ?

    i am actually considering to upgrade my Macbook (unibody) HD, but not sure which kind of HD should i choose ?

  2. I'm using a Fujitsu SATA 500 GB 5400 rpm; price was around IDR 1.1 million. As long as the HDD is 9.5 mm thick, you should be fine