Drive Swapping – Installing a New Drive in a MacBook Pro

Me and the wifey did pretty well for ourselves this Christmas. After all, with a kid on the way and both of our birthdays within a month or so of the big holiday, we took home a pretty decent chunk of change. Once we bought all of the baby stuff we needed, I decided to pick myself up a little present of my own – a new hard drive for my MacBook Pro.

After some searching, I found this bad boy on Newegg. Normally, I would’ve just ordered it from them, but the Fry’s Electronics less than a mile from my house had it for $10 cheaper, so I headed down and picked one up. A few hours later, I was ready to go with my install, tools in hand, ready for some excitement. What followed was a little less than exciting.

When I installed Snow Leopard on my 15-inch MacBook Pro, I experienced a few little problems here and there that would have been resolved with a fresh install, so I decided to hook my new 500 gb drive to an external enclosure and start new.

I started by writing zeros to the drive using Disk Utility, then I installed Snow Leopard on the drive via the USB drive with no problems to speak of. The drive booted up fine, ran great, now I just needed to transfer over all of my programs. I decided to use the migration tool to get it done.

6 hours later …

I installed the new drive in the computer which took all of 5 minutes to do once I found the correct screwdriver. Then I fired it up. It was peppy, responsive, and since it had over twice the previous capacity of my old drive, roomy. I loved it.

And then the problems started happening.

Daylite wasn’t working correctly. An e-mail was sent off to the company to ask for help, but it was a Sunday and I needed the computer to be operating 100% the next morning, so I decided instead to go with redoing the install, but this time, handling things a bit differently.

I pull the new drive out of the MBP and swap it for the old one, boot it up and put the new drive in the external enclosure. Once again, I write zeros to the drive, and this time used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the new drive from the old one. The next day I swap the drives and I’m good to go. Sure, the old quirks are still there, but at this point I’m used to it so it’s not that big of a deal. There’s really only one issue so far. Whenever I right click a file and go to “open with,” I get this:

It’s a bit hard to see, but all of my programs are doubled. Not sure why, but both versions open up the program, so until I figure out what it is, I’ll just deal with it.

It’s been a few weeks now, with no issues to speak of. It’s nice to see all that free disk space, which makes my life a lot easier. Being a photographer, I go through gigabytes of storage pretty quickly. This is a great option for local storage, plus my Time Machine can back it up easily. I’m not planning on filling up the drive, but it’s good to know that if I needed to, I’d be alright.

Kevin Whipps

Kevin Whipps is a copy editor, writer, photographer and custom car builder based in the Phoenix, Ariz. area. For the past 10 years he's been building his portfolio, mostly in the automotive publishing industry. When he's not wrenching on cars, most of his time is spent discovering new gadgets and toys, and of course, using everything Apple. Whipps is also married, and has a baby boy, Kevin Whipps Jr., coming on February 7, 2010.


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  1. Always nice reading your articles Kev. I’ve been a lurker on this site for some time now and keep coming back mainly cuz of your articles. Keep it up