MacBook Hard Drive Replacement

They say bad things happen in threes. Ok…I broke my foot three weeks ago, I blew a loudspeaker on my stereo (but it was 36 years old, “The Smaller Advent”) and now a week out of warranty, my MacBook hard drive headed south, giving a forlorn “click, click, click”… I found this out on a Saturday as I attempted to syncronize some files between the MacBook and the iMac. So far the aftermath has been relatively painless.

1. I put in a call to Small Dog Electronics. Within two minutes I was talking to a knowledgeable tech support person, who immediately verified that they had a replacement drive in three sizes in stock at both of their stores.

2. Went to the South Burlington store, stood in line at their repair window (equivalent to a genius bar) and got the replacement drive. I took the opportunity to upgrade it to 320 gig, from the 250 gig drive that failed. $120.00 for the drive. I also asked if they could do the replacement on the spot, but they demurred, saying it would be a couple of days before they would be able to get to it. Having seen several explanations on how to do this myself, including a YouTube video, I had no fear.

3. Disassembled everything per instructions. Vexacious. Tiny screwsheads easily stripped. The worst are the TT8 Torx screws that hold the shield on top of the drive. Naturally, I’ve never needed a #8 Torx screwdriver in my entire life, and didn’t have one. Ran to the hardware store, they didn’t have one either except as part of a Christmas special of 40 screwdrivers packaged in a blister pack for $13.99, product of China and evidently fabricated of pressed cardboard. Never mind, it worked.

4. Fiddled with restoring the operating system. The install disks from the iMac don’t work. The MacBook Leopard install disk was an “upgrade” disk, and since I haven’t already installed the earlier version of it said it wouldn’t install Leopard, until I had installed Panther. However, in the disk installer menu there was a restore option to restore from Time Machine.

5. Booted again with the Time Machine disk attached. Went around in circles as the restore program didn’t see the new disk. I hadn’t formatted the disk, so how could it have seen it? (some things would have been second nature in Windows, oh, and by the way, a format on a Mac is called “erase”). Once I did format the disk I was able to start the restore process , and it has been merrily restoring now for about 90 minutes with another 30 or so to go. I’m excited…will my new Parallels installation with Office 2007 and Vista survive the restore? Will my eMail be there and the VPN?

So far so good… everything works; Parallels, Mac Mail, Safari, iWork, iTunes and all the bits are there. Nice.

More on Time Machine

While at the ‘Dog, I took a look at the new alumininum MacBooks, trying to justify a full replacement. Something equivalent to mine would be about $1600, I think… a little steep, considering that I’m happy as a clam with my current plastic one from November of ’07. The performance appeared to be better on the new one, of course, and it seemed substantially lighter. In short..they are nice.

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