There comes a time in our lives when we realize our hard drive (HD) in our Mac is beginning to fail. Sometimes we don’t get any signs, it just goes. I have been lucky the last few HD’s gave me warning signs, so I had time to react. If you find yourself in this situation, these 7 lessons I learned before, during, and after recently replacing my HD will help you take it all in stride. Cause, let me tell you, this process can be a little frustrating at times.
- Try not to get too excited about an item that could arrive at your doorstep inoperable and you won’t even know about it till your completely done installing. I ordered my hybrid 500GB HD ($75) from Amazon and was super excited to receive it on a Friday evening. When I opened the package, I should’ve known there was going to be a problem. It was on the bottom of the box and all the protective packaging was above it, not….good. After I installed it and tried to format the HD, it wouldn’t even register as a working HD in Disk Utilities. Project postponed till the following Monday. Huge bummer.
- Have all the right tools. I have changed out many pieces of hardware on my Apple products and I bought a tool kit about a year ago that has everything I’ve needed to complete a job. It cost me around $20 for a bag of tools that had all the right screwdriver heads and proprietary fittings to fit Apple products. Money well spent, since I don’t waste time ordering special tools. (Silverhill 20 Piece Tool Kit for Apple Products, now 13.99 from Amazon)
- Watch videos on YouTube about what you plan on doing. YouTube has, in my opinion, 95% of the information I will ever need on DIY projects. I’ve found videos to replace appliances in my house, parts on my automobiles, wiring a humidifier to my furnace, etc. You get the point. Take the time to watch some of the videos specifically pertaining to your project. At least this way you have an idea of what to expect when you open up your devices.
- Backup your computer. It’s a good idea to backup your computer. Did I mention it’s a great idea to backup your computer? If I didn’t, you should backup your computer. Spend the relatively small amount of money it will cost you to get an external HD to backup the information on your computer. You won’t realize how important your files are until you lose them. If you’re swapping out a HD that is going bad, it makes it easy to get things back to where they should be. If you’re replacing one that failed, you will get your computer fairly close to where it was before it crapped out on you. This is assuming you’re plugging the external HD in regularly for backups. You’ll thank me one day.
- Always save your OS discs included in your Apple product box. You will need these in order to reinstall the OS. Newer Apple products with Lion and above will reinstall via the App Store. If your computer, like mine, came installed with an OS prior to Lion, you will need the discs. Once you get the OS loaded, don’t fall for loading your Time Machine backup yet. Go ahead and update your OS all the way up to the current OS you were using prior to losing the HD. Then, after that is all complete, use the Migration Assistant to load your most current backup.
- Cloning a HD, I believe, would be easier and faster than the process I chose to go through. There’s a lot of information out there you can research to clone your HD. Other World Computing (OWC) has always been a place I refer to for a lot of information, so I would advise going there to get some information. Here’s a link to the hard drive cloning information on OWC: HD Cloning.
- Patience. There’s a reason people say “patience is a virtue,” and it’s not because they want to piss you off, as I’m sure you are when they remind you of this. Taking on these frustrating tasks will save you some money, but may add a few grey hairs to that pretty little head of yours (I know it did to mine). In the end, I got it all taken care of and everything is back to normal. Everything is running just a bit quicker too, so it was so worth it.
If you want to avoid this frustration, you can definitely take your Apple computer into the store and they will be happy to take care of this for you at a not so minimal price. The last time this happened to me, I was quoted around $250 for a 250GB HD for my Mac Mini. Also, I would have to surrender the HD that they were taking out, even though it was mine. To add insult to injury, I don’t believe this price included moving everything over from the still functioning, but starting to fail, HD. It doesn’t hurt to try and do some things yourself. If you take the time to do the research on everything, you will save quite a few bucks and get yourself comfortable for the next time something like this comes up.