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Step by Step Guide: install a new Hard drive on a Macbook Pro

written by: Balachandar Radhakrishnan•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 7/5/2010

Looking forward to upgrading your hard drive on your Macbook pro (unibody)? If you don't have extra cash for taking it to the Apple Store, we'll give a quick and easy guide to replacing your hard drive.

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    Requirements for installing a new hard drive on the Macbook Pro

    macbook pros Apple has simplified the process of upgrading or replacing the hard drive on the new Macbook Pro Unibody models. Please note that the following steps only refer to the Unibody Macbook pro and not the previous generation of full aluminium Macbook pro models. Changing a hard drive is a relatively simple process, but caution is recommended. Please backup all data on your existing hard drive before attempting installation of a new hard drive.

    Image Courtesy: Benjamin Nagel

    Requirements for installing a new hard drive in my Apple Macbook pro:

    1. a new hard drive

    2. philips #00 screw driver

    3. T6 torx screw driver

    4. Spudger - not necessary, though can come in handy!

  • slide 2 of 3

    Installing a new hard drive on a Apple Macbook pro

    1. Shut down your Mac and disconnect power by removing the power cord.
    2. Set up your Macbook pro in an inverted manner such that the base of your notebook is facing you. Place this inverted notebook on a piece of cloth or other protection to prevent scratches on the surface of the notebook.
    3. Now you remove the 10 screws holding the base to the notebook assembly.
    4. Once the screws have been removed, simply lift the base slightly and slide it towards the rear of the computer to unlatch the mounting tabs.
    5. Remove the 2 philips head screws holding the hard drive to the notebook assembly through the hard drive retainer bracket.
    6. Now remove the hard drive retainer bracket out.
    7. Gently lift out the hard drive with the help of the pull out tab.
    8. Remove the hard drive connector from the drive by gently pulling it away.
    9. There are 2 torx T6 screws on either side of the drive; unscrew them.
    10. Now your hard drive is free and you can replace it with the newer one.
    11. Follow the exact steps above in reverse to reassemble your MacBook Pro.

    If you require further guidance on installing a new hard drive on your apple macbook pro, I suggest to take a look at the excellent iFixit guides which even provide video guides that could make things much easier.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Tips on installing a new Hard drive on a Macbook Pro

    macbook pro Shown above are the innards of a unibody Macbook pro; the hard drive is located at the right hand side upper corner.

    Most Macbook pro machines come with a 5400 rpm hard drive, so replacing these with faster 7200 rpm drives could boost performance considerably. Hard drives from popular manufacturers like Western Digital, Seagate etc. should be a good choice when shopping for hard drives. As a general trend, the higher the capacity of the drive the lower the speed. Most cheaper fast hard drives have less storage. Ideally you won't be requiring huge amounts of storage on a laptop, hence picking a faster drive should still be comfortable.

    Once you have the hard drive installed on your machine,it's time to follow these directions to install the Mac OS, guiding you through the process easily. If you do plan to install your Mac OS from an external USB drive then we have that covered as well.

    At the install screen of the OS you can also choose to import all your older files and preferences. This requires you have the older hard drive connected to your computer during installation via a USB or firewire interface.

    Remember, you can always retain your older hard drive in a firewire casing to serve as an emergency boot drive in case something goes wrong or you have trouble with your existing installation.