Q&A: Replacing a MacBook hard drive

Q The internal hard disk in our MacBook 13″ mid-2010 (MacBook7,1) has developed a discernible rattle. How can we replace the drive at reasonable cost?

A You need a 2.5” 3.0 Gbps SATA drive of at least 250 GB in size, preferably spinning at 5400 rpm as the original does. Seagate Momentus Thin, Hitachi-HGST Travelstar, and Western Digital Mobile Blue drives should be suitable for this, and cost around £40 inclusive of VAT for a nice 500 GB model.

Rather than throw the old drive away, you could perhaps house it in an external case, which for SATA 2.5″ drives to USB 2 should cost around £10 to £20. As the old drive is suspect, you should not trust any irreplaceable data to it, of course, but there may well be a couple of years life in it yet.

Performing the replacement is not as easy as working on a desktop Mac, as laptops are cramped and more demanding of special tools as well. Detailed instructions are available at EveryMac.com.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 3, 2011.