Installing a New Hard Drive

My wife’s hard drive failed while we were in NJ last month. A while back, I had replaced the hard drive cable (a dicey undertaking!), but this time, it was clearly a bad hard drive. The error messages when verifying the disk were unmistakable. Plus, the flashing folder with a question mark? Yeah.

Ifixit to the rescue, of course. Here’s their walk-through on replacing a hard drive. I ordered the same solid state drive for ~$90 cheaper at Amazon and put it in.

Of course it didn’t work.

Turns out that the SSD was too fast for the hard drive cable I had put in a while back. I could swear I got that cable from Ifixit, but can find no invoice of the purchase. Nevertheless, I went ahead and got another cable, from Ifixit for real this time, along with the bracket that holds the light sensor. (If you ever have to replace a hard drive cable for a Macbook, get the attached bracket. It’s so much easier if you don’t have to fiddle with the light sensor cable, which is terrfically easy to bend.)

Another tip: install the OS X first, before you put any Time Machine backup on the new hard drive. I reversed that order, and while it work–I had OS X 10.9 running, there were no applications. I mean none: no contact app, no Mail.app, etc. Downloading Firefox is easy enough, but Mail.app isn’t available for download.

All is well now, phew. Now, to work on my wife’s backup strategy!