Migrating to a new computer is, for all of us online today who plan to continue using digital technologies in our lives, as inevitable as death and taxes. The process can be quite unpleasant, however, especially if important files have not been properly backed up and saved. This evening, thanks to the wonderful help of my neighbor who has virtually every tool known to humankind at this point in our collective history (including the requisite “Torx T8 Screwdriver” and “Phillips #0 Screwdriver”) I am now up and running on a 250 GB 5400 rpm hard drive from Newegg that amazingly cost just $120. (The cost went up a bit since I ordered it Monday, it was on special.) I have been running with a 120GB 4200 rpm hard drive for the past two years on my Macbook, and it is amazing what that hard drive speed difference can make. I have 2 GB of RAM in my Macbook, while my wife only has 512 MB, but her hard drive has been a 5400 rpm model since she got it and that has made her computer seem much “zippier” than mine quite frequently, even though I have four times the RAM she does. I have been fighting to maintain the recommended 10% minimum free space on that 120 GB drive for many months, so the chance to double the size of my drive is WELCOME. I’ve also needed to do a clean install of my system, and this hard drive upgrade provided a reason to do it. So far, in addition to just installing the operating system, I’ve installed Mars Edit and Skitch. Those programs are my right and left hands when it comes to blogging. All my applications are (hopefully) listed on wesley.jot.com/macapps, and I’m going to begin the laborious but necessary process of installing all those programs from scratch tonight after finishing this post. The following one minute YouTube video was of assistance in replacing the hard drive tonight, as was this tutorial from Macinstruct.

While the video may make this process look easy, I made the unfortunate mistake of putting the hard drive in upside down the first time, and getting the rubber guide pads inside the laptop pushed down to the bottom of the hard drive space. So…. a process which should have taken 15 – 20 minutes ended up taking several hours. Thanks to the wonderful patience and assistance of my neighbor, however, the deed is done and I’m computing with a new hard drive!

I am VERY thankful for my .Mac account, which permits me to sync my local Safari bookmarks, contacts, widgets, dock items, passwords saved in my “keychain,” preferences and notes:

Mac is wonderful!

It does NOT appear that all my saved network configurations for different locations were copied over, but it actually may be a good thing. I have had some trouble with my system slowing down, particularly when I ran Skype, and I’ve thought that I probably had too many extra preference files and other installed files on my system for its own good. I’ve had both the Smartboard and Promethian software programs installed on my system, and I know that many of these programs were slowing things down for me. I’m VERY happy to be starting “clean” with a fresh version of the operating system.

If you have a recommendation for a relatively inexpensive 2.5″ hard drive USB enclosure I’d love to hear about it. I may put my old hard drive in it and use it as an extra hard drive for iMovies and backups.

Isn’t it hard to believe that our children today are going to look back at 2008 and say, “Wow, can you believe they were using laptop hard drives back then that were only 250 GB?! That is so SMALL!” 🙂

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5 Responses to New Macbook hard drive bliss

  1. Joe Brennan says:

    Wes, I like Out of this World Computing, http://www.macsales.com. You definitely want to put that old HD back into service. There are helpful how-to’s in their support section, though slipping that old 2.5″ into a case is a snap and few tiny screws. It should then fit nicely into one of the pockets in your laptop case giving you 370G’s total wherever you go. Indispensable! And I think those kids will be even more amazed that our HD’s had power draining moving parts. I can only imagine what a difference the next few generations of flash hard drives will make on a couple of different fronts.

  2. Paul R. Wood says:

    Thanks for the memories. Made me think of when I really splurged many years ago and actually had a pc with 1 mg of ram, 40 mg hard drive and my brother in law said “now you have all the memory you will ever need.” How long before a laptop has a TB in it? I don’t think it is far away at all.

  3. I had a high school computer teacher tell me (in the late 1990’s) that computers would never have more than a 1GB hard drive because it would take the computer to long to find the information on it. I figure that one statement is what kept me from creating YouTube because I didn’t think it’d ever be feasible… haha

    I’m in the process of changing computers. I wish I had backed up more, but I transfered quite a bit over my network and on a few usb drives. The pain will just be reinstalling all of the programs I use.

  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    Yes, I am in the midst of that “pain” now reinstalling apps– It’s a good process tho, since there were a fair number of programs I had installed that I don’t really use, so I should end up with a slimmer and hopefully faster system… I think I would enjoy a virtual machine I could sandbox test stuff in, and then blow away from time to time… As it is now, I install apps on my main system and then I end up with extra preference files and other settings which never get uninstalled, if I stop using the app or even if I delete the app itself.

    Thanks for the recommendation of OWC, Joe, I will check it out.

    I certainly am looking forward to continued development of solid state / flash based media drives. I am amazed by the Macbook Air. It seems a little underpowered storage-wise and the solid state drive is definitely to expensive now, but in a few years….

  5. John Peters says:

    Wes;

    Take a look at this site concerning an enclosure for your old hard drive: http://tinyurl.com/47fehf I hope this helps.

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