Are you the not-so-proud owner of a slow Macbook Pro? Last spring, my Macbook Pro (bought in the summer of 2012) was as good as dead, and I was panicking. I didn’t have £800 for a new computer, but my old one had gotten so slow, noisy and … well, hopeless that I knew I had to do something if I wanted to stay alive and kicking on the interwebs. And then my boyfriend suggested I change my hard drive and fix up my computer all by myself. I mean, he did offer to help, but I kinda wanted to do it on my own. It’s a feminist issue, guys. And so I fixed my own, slow Macbook Pro for less than £70 and after that, my computer was as good as new. Better, actually (except for the chocolate residue on the keyboard, but let’s pretend that’s part of its charm).
I know some of you are the not-so-proud owners of dying Macbooks so today I’m telling you how to revive your slow Macbook Pro and save a tonne of money. I’m not an expert, but here’s how I did it and how you can do it in a matter of hours. I probably won’t use all the right words, because I don’t really know what they mean. This is for dummies, alright? 🙂
You will need
- A new solid state disk (SSD) to replace your old hard disk
- A magnetic Phillips #00 screwdriver
- An HDD enclosure
Step 1: From HDD to SSD
The new SSD (Solid State Disk) is the essence of your new computer. In my medio 2012 Macbook Pro there was a 500 GB HDD (Hard Disk Drive) from Toshiba. The difference between the old HDD and the ned SSD is enormous. Some of the advantages of solid state is that they are (much) faster, more durable and not as easily breakable as a traditional hard drive.
In a traditional hard drive there is a smaller reader that runs through all of the stored material. Over time the material will be spread out across the hard drive, and the reader will have to run all over the place looking for pieces of the fragmented material (yeah, that probably not how the experts would phrase it but I hope you catch my drift!), and compared to the new technology incorporated into the SSD this is a very slow process.
An SSD works like a USB flash drive. There is no physical rotation of any kind and in contrast to the traditional HDD, the solid state drive is fast even though it is full. For economic reasons I chose a 250GB SSD instead of 500GB, but that’s really up to personal preference.
A 250GB SSD is £63 (link), and the 500GB is £121 (link).
Step 2: A magnetic screwdriver
You will have to use the magnetic screwdriver twice – first on the HDD enclosure and then on your Macbook Pro. It’s very important you use the right screwdriver from the beginning – otherwise, the lever is easily destroyed and then it will be hard to do anything. The screwdriver should be a Phillips #00 precision screwdriver. Because the screws are so small it helps if the screwdriver is magnetic. They’re cheap as chips (link).
Step 3: An HDD Enclosure
For me, this step is the most confusing, but I’ll explain it to the best of my ability. When you receive your new SSD it’s empty. There’s no operating system, no files, no programmes, no nothing. Therefore you have to transfer everything from you old HDD to your new SSD and this is where the HDD Enclosure comes in handy. You put the new SSD in the box and connect it to your computer. But more about that later.
The HDD case enclosure is only £4 (link).
Step 1: Buy all the products
This is pretty self-explanatory.
Step 2: Transfer from HDD to SSD
Unscrew the screws on the HDD enclosure. The screws are located at one end, one on each side. When you pull out the end of the box there’s a harddrive cable that fits in your SDD. When the plug is inserted, put the SSD into the case and fastens the screws. The external case connects to your computer via the USB cable.
Now you want to create a back-up of your computer, and to do that you need to download a programme called SuperDuper! This is a free programme that makes it easy to create a so-called “fully bootable backup” (link).
When you’ve downloaded the programme, open it. At the top you’ll see two boxes. In the first you choose what you want to copy from (your old HDD), and in the second box you choose what you want to copy to (your new SSD). Then you just press “copy now”, and you’re done transferring your files. This process can take a few hours.
Step 3: Put your new SSD into your Macbook Pro
When you’re done transferring your files there’s nothing left but to remove the old HDD and replace it with the SSD. At first glance this may seem confusing, but it can be done in less than 10 minutes.
- Shut down your computer and turn it over.
- Remove all the screws. Begin in the left corner, remove them clockwise and place them in a line so you remember where they go. Once the screws are unscrewed you can just remove the bottom plate.
- Disconnect the battery by prying free the connector. This is virtually impossible to explain so I recommend you watch this video.
- The harddrive is held in place by a bracket. Unscrew the screws in the bracket and remove it.
- Now the harddrive is only connceted to the computer by a harddrive cable (the same as we encountered in the HDD enclosure). Carefully disconnect the harddrive and remove it.
- On each side of the harddrive you will find two screws. They are there to keep the harddrive in place in your computer. Unscrew them and put them in your SSD.
- Now you just have to reverse the proces: Connects the SSD to the harddrive cable and place it in the computer. Screw the bracket back on, reconnect the battery and close up your computer using the tiny screws you removed when taking off the bottom plate.
Now you’re done!
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
HDD enclosure: £4
You’ve saved your slow Macbook Pro (and your bank account) and all in all, you’re only out £69! That’s a whole lot cheaper than having to buy a new computer!
Good luck with your power woman (or man) project! I’m telling you it a great feeling when you realize that yes, you actually can do this. The feeling of saving a couple month’s rent ain’t bad either 😉
- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD SATA3 (link)
- Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD SATA3 (link)
- 2.5 Sata To Usb Hard Drive Caddy Hdd Case Enclosure (link)
- Phillips #00 PH00 Precision Screwdriver (link)
- SuperDuper! (link)
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