Thursday, September 03, 2009

How to put a bigger hard drive in a Mac

  1. Buy new hard drive, and an external USB case capable of holding said hard drive.
  2. Back up your Mac (i.e., make sure Time Machine is on and has made a backup within the past hour).
  3. Remove old hard drive from Mac and put new one in.
  4. Install MacOS onto the new hard drive. I used Snow Leopard.
  5. While MacOS is installing, put your old hard drive into the external USB case.
  6. When MacOS prompts you to import your data from your old Mac, plug in the USB drive into any available USB port on your Mac, wait about a minute, then tell it you want to import your data from a volume on the local system.
  7. Wait a couple of hours (if you have hundreds of gigabytes of data).
  8. Log in. You're back to your Mac -- except with a bigger hard drive!
It just friggin' *works*. Too bad you have to pay so much effin' dough to get something that just works. Meanwhile, upgrading my hard drive in a Linux box is always good for a week's worth of tweaking and fixing things, and for Windows... mwahahaha! Just install a new Windows install and manually copy your data by scratch after re-installing your programs onto your new Windows install. And once again it's an all-day affair that'll have you tweaking and fixing things for a week...

-- Badtux the MacPenguin

Oh, and the specs of my new MacBook Pro... very fast, slick, and cool.


  1. Yes, have done it a couple of times either larger hard drive or machine transplant. The song keeps going in your head "Is that all there is ?".

    Also very much enjoy your excellent articles on health care. Thanks for the sanity (and it comes with numbers....).

  2. The problem is, I'm a geek. I actually enjoy fiddling with things for a week. On the other hand, I do need at least one stable computer to do my work on, and that's my MacBook Pro. So I'm quite happy with the fact that it just works, it means I can get some work done while waiting for programs to install on Windows (and a reboot between each installation, gah!).

    - Badtux the Geeky Penguin

  3. A few years ago, I worked at a computer sales/service shop. I'd ask everyone who had drive issues "did you backup your files?" and most would give me a blank stare, or state no. We didn't do data recovery, but had a rate sheet for a firm that did - most of the customers went very pale on seeing it. Time Machine is a godsend for those who wouldn't backup otherwise. Set it up, and forget it. One of the best features of OS X, IMHO.

  4. My new Mac Book with many of the same specs arrived a few days ago. This is my first since the old Apple II I bought in 1979. That one had 16K RAM, no internal storage and the IO was via cassette tape. Later I got into PC's.

    My geekyness is long lost so I wouldn't have the skill or energy to add a harddrive, but I ordered this one with the 500Gb 7200 rpm drive, and I have a 250Gb USB drive. Enough, I hope.

    I'm looking forward to unlearning Vista.


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