MacBook Pro: Many Screws, All Tiny

This weekend I upgraded my 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro’s internal hard disk from 160 GB to 320 GB following the excellent instructions at iFixit. The two dodgy steps are freeing the top-case assembly and carefully prying loose the ribbon cables that are attached to the top of the existing hard drive. For the latter you definitely need some sort of thin plastic tool to work gently underneath the ribbons to detach them. To keep track of the variety of tiny screws encountered (both phillips and torx) I organized them according to their iFixit disassembly step.

I chose the 7200RPM Hitachi Travelstar 320GB 16MB SATA drive (model HTS723232L9A360) as a replacement. Since my 160 GB disk was also a 7200 RPM drive, I didn’t experience the noticeable performance improvements some people have reported when moving to a faster disk. If you do an upgrade, you should definitely use a 7K drive. I bought mine at Other World Computing.

Before replacing the drive, I did a full back up onto an external Firewire disk and then swapped my new Travelstar into the external drive enclosure and did another full, bootable backup onto the new disk. Both backups were done using Carbon Copy Cloner. After booting from the now externally-attached Travelstar to verify that the backup had worked correctly, I removed the Travelstar from the external disk enclosure and then inserted it into the MBP following the iFixit instructions. Once done, my machine booted with no problem. I now have lots of space for my growing collection of RAW photos, which eat disk space at an alarming clip.


3 Responses to “MacBook Pro: Many Screws, All Tiny”

  1. Kai Carver Says:

    what a clever way to keep track of your screws…
    I’m always happy when I at least find them all after an unscrew/rescrew operation, but often I don’t remember which went in where. So my current laptop sheds a screw now and then… Oh well they’re not all essential, right?

  2. Josh Simons Says:

    They couldn’t ALL be essential. 🙂
    I was surprised at the variety of screws Apple uses in the
    MBP. Of course, the disk isn’t designed to be user-replaceable
    in this machine so they can be forgiven for the complexity
    from an end-user perspective. From a manufacturing perspective it seems overly complex.

  3. Samir Samir Says:

    Ha Ha
    I found your post searching for where i went "wrong with the screws" while replacing the HDD on my MBP. That is definitely a clever way to track those minute little buggers. I should have been more prepared. I guess i was take by surprise by the number of screws and the variety of screws. Interestingly; although i didnt lose any; I am left with 2 tiny screws and an missing 2 long ones. Wonder where i went wrong. But as the OP said; not all of these are required 🙂
    Next time i follow your advice.

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