Replacing My Laptop’s Hard Drive

I purchased my MacBook in the second half of 2007 with a relatively large hard drive of 60GB. Remember, 60GB is sizable in 2007. I then replaced it with a 160GB drive and even that drive now is full. My hard drive du jour is a 500BG, which should last me a couple of months while waiting for the 5TB version 🙂

Backing Up

Last night, my hard drive arrived from NewEgg and I started my upgrade process. The first order of business was to take inventory of the applications I currently have in the system and kept track of this list using a plain text file. I am not going into details on the how part–that’s another topics for later. Next, I went through my list and hunt down the product key (AKA license code) for each application. Since I use 1Password to keep track of my lincense codes, the process was fairly painless.

Next, I fired up iBackup and backed up some application settings and data I would like to carry over to the new system: Address Book, iCal, keychains, and mail. I used one of my external hard drive as backup destination. I also used iBackup to copy over the one application which the installation CD was damaged: Toast Titanium 7. Yes, that ancient version is still working with Leopard and I see no need to upgrade.

Before I turned off the laptop to perform surgery on it, I make a final back up using SuperDuper!. Upon finishing backing up, I restarted the laptop and booted from the backup drive to verify it was bootable and made a few checks to see if SuperDuper! correctly backed my files. Finally, I turned off the laptop and replace the hard drive. Again, I am not going into details of how I did it, there are plenty of help if you search the internet for it.

OS Installation

Once the new hard drive is in place, I used the Leopard installation disc to install Leopard onto the new hard drive. After installation, I immediately ran Software Update to bring my system up to date. This process required one reboot.

Restoring Mail, Address, and Other System Data

Right after the OS installation, I downloaded the latest version of iBackup and restored the data which I backed up earlier. To test how well iBackup performed, I fired up the Mail application and saw that all of my mail settings and messages were still there. I am glad that I donated to iBackup. This software is a must-have.

Another must-have I installed right away was 1Password since it stored all of my software license keys. Finally, I scanned through my application list and classify them as followed:

  • Must have. These are the applications I would need. Examples in this category includes 1Password, Aperture, Backblaze, and SuperDuper!
  • Unwanted. These are applications that either I don’t like or don’t need. For example, I don’t need the EPSON scan application because the built-in Image Capture application can scan just as well.
  • On Demand. These are applications which I rarely need and I will install them when the need arise. Applications such as the Logitech Harmony Remote Software, Garmin and RegExhibit fall into this category.

I am now in the process of installing my must-have applications, one at a time and verifying that they are working correctly. This process should take a day or two to complete.


Replacing a hard drive is not hard, but it does take some planning to reduce the risk of losing data. Imagine having to re-type 250 contacts because you forgot to make backup! I hope you enjoy this post and post any comment, correction, or questions to the blog.


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