Ever have a hard drive fail? I have. Here’s my story:
I put my late 2009 Apple Macbook Pro to sleep late one Saturday night. Being late at night I didn’t have the time, or patience to let my computer fully fall asleep and have the little light in the front blink, indicating it had gone to sleep. I jumped the gun and rotated my computer onto its right side, hard drive still spinning. A definite NO, NO, according to Apple’s website. You MUST allow the hard drive disks to spin down and wait for the light to pulsate.
The next morning I awoke, ready to dive into the new website I was developing for my photography business. My Macbook Pro awoke without incident and I thought everything was ok. Then Adobe Lightroom didn’t save a file I was working on. It said it needed a place to save the files I was working on. I thought to myself, “you do have a place you moron, it’s called the hard drive.” I restarted as I do when things don’t work right and what I saw next is seared into my mind. The terrible FLASHING FOLDER and QUESTION MARK. This means, in Apple speak, something is wrong. I would later have the Apple “Genius” tell me it was my HDD. He wanted nearly $200 with tax to fix it and still I wouldn’t be able to recover my data without sending my computer into a data recovery service. NO WAY!
So, I did it myself and got all of my data back for less than $100. Here’s how:
1. Order a replacement HDD from Newegg, or Amazon. I had a Seagate 500gb 2.5 SATA 7,200 rpm and so I replaced it with the same drive.
2. Also order a sled. A sled is basically a HDD enclosure, which allows you to create your own external HDD. Amazon is also a great place for these.
3. You’ll also need a set of small screwdrivers, a #00 Phillips screwdriver and a T6 torx screwdriver. These are available in sets from Amazon, Best Buy, etc.
4. Place your Macbook Pro on a static-free work surface and make sure to touch something metal before touching any of the computer components. This will discharge any static.
5. Turn it upside down and remove all of the screws, taking note where they all go.
6. The hard drive is located on the bottom right, if the laptop is facing away from you. Unscrew the black mounting bracket on the top of the hard drive.
7. Pull the connecting cable from the right side of the drive, CAREFULLY.
8. Unscrew the 4 mounting screws from the drive and place to one side.
9. Unpack your new hard drive and screw in the 4 mounting screws to the new drive.
10. Attach the connecting cable to the new HDD.
11. Do up the mounting bracket.
12. Put cover back onto your Macbook Pro and replace screws.
13. Turn your computer over and press the power button.
14. Insert you Mac OS install disk. Hold down the power until the computer turns off and then press it to turn it back on while holding down the C key on your keyboard.
15. You will get the install screen for OS X. Click DISK UTILITY from the menu and select the new HDD. Select erase and create as many partitions as you want. I only use one. Name this new partition Macintosh HD.
16. You now have a formatted disk. Go back to the main menu and follow the prompts to install OS X onto your new hard drive. You have the option to install a backup from Time Machine at this point.
17. Once the OS has been re-installed, plug your sled into your old HDD and plug the USB cable into your computer. If it mounts and shows up in your finder you have a good chance of recovering some, or all of your information. Just drag your files from your old HDD onto your new one.
And that’s it. Pretty simple. But there are some things to watch out for.
If you are backing up from Time Machine, please note that you will have to use the install disk that came with whatever OS you were last using. If you had Snow Leopard installed on your old HDD, you CANNOT restore using Leopard, or Tiger. You MUST use the Snow Leopard install disk.