So at the end of last week, it was that time. I’d been doing temporary countermeasures over the past month or two to put it off, but it was inevitable. I tried to run Illustrator, the program with which I do my painting for The Project, and while opening, it stopped and complained – I’d run out of hard drive space. Somehow, since what feels like only yesterday, I have filled (well, with 4GB spare) 320 GB of had drive space with…. Well… Who knows what? Lots of little bits of everything, I expect. So after a bit of research, I decided to go wild and get a 750GB 7200 rpm drive from Seagate – new on the market this year, apparently. Usually I wait for new things like this to have their creases ironed out, but it seems that they’re really just gluing two smaller drives together, and their 500GB version of the same thing seems to be thought of as reliable, so I decided what the hey. And this whole series of drives is called the Momentus, so surely that’ll be a good thing too.
This meant a fast trip to the always-fun Fry’s Electronics, in Burbank, about which you’ve maybe read a post from me before. Fast because it closes at 9:00pm and I was leaving the house at 8:30pm, but wanted to get it so I could begin the cloning process (see later) overnight, so as to get back to work on the computer the next day.
The trip was great, as I expected, made even better by the fact that the things I wanted were actually on the shelves – said hard drive (a steal at $99), an enclosure for it to make it USB accessible ($9.99) while I clone my existing drive to it, and some tools ($13.99), since Apple, fresh in their new role as Evil Empire, keep changing the screws on the inside of their electronics to odd sizes and shapes to discourage DIY work, trying to force you to take it into their amusingly called Genius Bar… Happily, people have been making screwdrivers to undo the five round pointed head screws on such models and selling them in kits. I found one. Hurrah! (Turns out that I did not need the one for the pentascrew… it was introduced on a different model than mine. The smaller Phillips head driver was good to have though, and as I’m always taking things apart and fixing them, the other numerous parts of the kit will be very useful in the future…)
The drawback of going at closing time at Fry’s is that you have the super-long line of everyone leaving. Actually, they are aware of this, and so the line moves quickly, since they staff all the 30+ checkouts. But then you are doomed to go past all the interesting mostly-confectionery things that line the route of the queue to the checkout. I usually get all high-minded about this and resist this obvious manipulation, this puny attempt to break my will, my resolve… and smile at all the packaging calling out to me as I go by. I tell myself have willpower…self-control…am determined to leave only with what I came for and certainly not sweets… but then I saw it. A whole spread of Altoids. Good try, but no cigar… I can get them at Trader Joe’s… but! Liquorice flavour!!? Spearmint!? Wow!
I caved and got three flavours…
Back home I quickly opened up the packages (the electronics – I already opened the liquorice altoids in the car) and got to work. I put the new drive into the enclosure to make it USB ready, just plugging it in the obvious way (the instructions that usually come with these things sometimes talk about first switching the drive to master mode… that’s not needed for these drives. If in doubt, google your brand of HD you are installing).
Then I connected the hard drive to Mingus (that’s the name of the computer, by the way) using the USB connection, and ran disk utilities to check that it was all fine (i.e. visible) and then did a format of it (just run erase on it, and choose the ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ option). Then I ran the basic (free online) version of SuperDuper, choosing the option to clone the entirety of my existing hard drive to the new drive. In other words, I let it make an identical bit bit by copy of my existing full hard drive to this larger hard drive. This takes a while, so I set it running and went to sleep. (Good idea to shut down lots of other programs, and to disable any automatic sleep or shutdown schedules you might have on your computer…)
The next morning I was ready to change over drives. First, I checked that the actual clone was a good clone. The size of occupied space seemed about right (with oodles of space left over – hurrah!) but a good test is to make sure that one can start the computer from this hard drive. So I went into System Preferences and set the boot disk as the external drive (that I’d now renamed the same as the one I usually call my hard drive) and restarted… after a few minutes, it did indeed reboot from the external hard drive, and all seemed fine and identical to my usual experience of the computer. Hurrah!
So time to go in and actually put it into the computer. I was about to follow a bunch of detailed instructions at ifixit.com (which I highly recommend – look for your model there for lots of tasks you might want to do under the bonnet) but then I remembered that one of the things I remember being awesome (yes, I said that) about getting this model back in 2009 (or was it 2008? mid 2009 I think) was the fact that the (then new) unibody design had super-easy access to the hard drive. So no digging around and removing keyboards and so on and so forth as I’ve done on two or three other models in the last few years (once on my old Powerbook, and twice for friends and relatives.) So, once I’d opened the battery compartment with a simply flip of a lever and taken out the battery, I had one screw to undo to take out the hard drive. One screw. So I did that, unplugged it the exsiting drive, swapped off and onto the new one (removed from the temporary USB enclosure) the four T6 torx screws used to snug the drive into place under the brackets designed to hold it, and put it the new drive in. This took about 10 minutes, tops.
Then the moment of truth… switching it back on and waiting for what happens after the grey screen…. Yes! There are my screensaver poppies!
Back to work, with my files rattling around (er… metaphorically) inside all that oodles (403GB+) of space… Mingus is reborn again!
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):