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Tips on replacing a MacBook Pro's hard drive

Scott McNulty

Friday I found myself doing what anyone who was soon to be flying across the country to cover Macworld would be doing : replacing the hard drive in my MacBook Pro. A smart idea? Well, considering that my old drive was making some not so good noises I thought it better to replace the darned thing before it failed during the Expo.

I headed over to Other World Computing and ordered this drive. OWC is great because they offer up many of the same parts that Apple uses in their machines (in fact the drive I bought turned out to be the exact model drive that was already in my MacBook Pro, though the new one has twice as much space). And no, I am not getting paid by OWC in any way, shape, or form. I just have had several excellent experiences with them.

One thing to keep in mind is that the hard drive isn't classified as 'user replaceable' in the MacBook Pro, unlike the MacBook (replacing a hard drive in a MacBook is very, very easy). That didn't stop me because I've swapped out countless drives. I followed iFixIt's great guide to disassembling my MacBook Pro, but one word of caution: be sure you have a T6 Torx Screwdriver before you start. I have access a large number of computer tools, so I didn't think that would be a problem. However, after sifting through 4 different toolkits with no success (most tool kits have a T8 Torx as the smallest screwdriver), I thought I was in trouble. I finally found one in a very large, very expensive set of tools, but the screwdriver itself isn't pricey. Make sure you know that you have one before starting this process because there are 6 Torx screws that need to be removed (2 holding the keyboard to the base of the machine, and 4 holding the hard disk in place), and it is much much easier with the right tool.

Overall, this is something I would recommend that only people who are comfortable cracking open a laptop should do. There are lots of little screws and wires one has to move out of the way to replace the drive and a certain level of comfort with a computer's innards is required.

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