The hard drive on my early 2009 17″ MacBook Pro has been giving me hints for months that it was going to fail. The cost of a replacement drive and the fact that the swap is a DIY job meant that it just wasn’t worth waiting for the drive to crap out. Doing the swap now would mean doing so on my own terms when I was ready for it and well prepared.
First, I had to find a new drive. I did some (a lot) of research and found a WD Blue 500 GB Mobile Hard Drive that was well reviewed, suitable for a MacBook Pro, and available cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else, including Newegg.
The physical job of swapping the drive was very easy. I used a YouTube video to show me how to do it. Since I watched this before buying the drive, I knew to add a T6 Torx screwdriver to my order.
What troubled me was how, exactly, to get my new hard drive up and running. All my research was telling me that the new hard drive would magically boot up and I would be able to restore my system from my last Time Machine backup. That didn’t sit right with me and I dug deeper.
As it turns out, that above info is fine for folks who have newer Macs with internet recovery, as well as access to an open wifi signal or hard wired internet. This was not my case with an early 2009 Macbook Pro. What I had to do was create a recovery disk on one of my external hard drives.
I partitioned my 2TB drive and used the recovery assistant app to create a recovery disk on the partition, which took just a few minutes. That combined with a fresh Time Machine backup meant that I was ready to do the surgery.
One of the mounting bar screws was so tight that I stripped it and had to remove it with needle nose pliers. Otherwise, swapping the hard drives was just as easy as the video claimed.
The new hard drive installed, I turned on the computer, holding down the Option key after the chime. This allowed me to choose a drive for booting, and I selected my new recovery disk.
The recovery disk allowed Disk Utility to open. This made it possible to select the new drive and format it it correctly. I was then able to mount it.
The final step was to to restore my system by choosing my last Time Machine backup and having it restored on my newly formatted hard drive. This took about two hours.
And that’s it! I restarted the computer once the restoration was done and it’s almost like I never did the surgery. I am finding the new hard drive to be a lot louder, but this is something I was warned about in the reviews, so I’ll learn to put up with it.
I also gained 180GB of hard drive space since I went from a 320GB drive to a 500GB drive. Combine that with my external drives and I have 4TB of hard drive space available to me. I won’t be running out of space anytime soon!
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