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Fyi: how I replaced the HDD in a MacBook Pro 4,1

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Craig Alan
Fyi: how I replaced the HDD in a MacBook Pro 4,1
on Nov 13, 2012 at 2:57:00 am

In case anyone wants to give some new life to an old workhorse.

I bought my MacBook pro 4,1 in 12/2008. It was starting to really slow down and certain apps were unexpectedly quitting.

My instinct told me the drive in my MacBook (the original 5400rpm 250-gig drive) was living on borrowed time.

I used the Voyager Q I bought from OWC to CCC the drive over to the new one.

And I updated another CCC clone of the internal drive onto an external enclosure.

I bought a 1TB HGST 7200rpm travel star drive from Frys on sale for $89.

I bought a IPHONE 3 / 4 / 5 TOOL KIT

I bought this for the plastic spudgers on the left but it turns out I needed the Philips #000 screwdriver as well.

I don’t like shopping at Frys but if you follow the weekly ads they have some great deals on hard drives. Otherwise mostly full retail, poor customer service and a pain return procedure. And don’t bother with any mail in rebates – not worth the effort.

I bought a T6 screwdriver and Philips #00 screwdriver in a kit at Lowes.
I watched a tutorial here:

In case you are interested in a different MacBook pro or any Mac, there are variations here:

However: a couple of things in the video did not match.
The screws used in my MacBook Pro were Philips #000 not #00. The T6 is the correct driver. I discovered this while removing the first set of screws. One would not budge. I looked closely and found the head of the screwdriver was just not going fully into the notches. I tried a 000 and it fit and was obviously the right size and I used it through the rest of the removal and reassembly.

I would advise having both Ph#00 and PH#000 on hand. I happen to have one because Frys only had the spudger in a kit for the Iphone, but it could have been a wasted effort or worse. If I had forced the issue, a screw would no doubt have been stripped.

There is also a slight variation in how the HD is screwed in. The bracket was a bit different than in the video. There was no small assembly pack of wires that fit in over the bracket on the right (as in the video), and on the left side the washers did not come off with the drive but rather there were small axel like parts screwed into the drive on the left that fit into washer/circle holes permanently mounted to a metal bracket which remained in the Mac on the left. The wires around my old hard drive looked a lot neater than the ones in the video.

The ribbon tape was a good deal more stuck to the old hard drive than in the video. It was so stuck that I was afraid of damaging it. I found a plastic tool designed for clay molding to be a big help.

In fact it might have worked as the spudger as well but I had a nylon pry spudger already which worked fine.

Were there variations on the 4,1 15" MacBook pro assemblies? I know OWC disclaimer mentioned the possibility, but I was not expecting it.

It is possible that my MacBook Pro differed due to some repairs I had done while still under warranty? The optical drive and ram were replaced. Maybe they changed out the screws, ribbons, and tidy upped the wiring? Seems unlikely.

Bottom line the video was easy to follow even with the variations. Having a complete precision screwdriver/T driver kit is on my to buy list.

One other thing I did that was helpful that was not mentioned in the video. As I removed the screws I put them in small cups labeled by steps 1-8. These tiny screws pile up and are easily lost and searching for the right set of screws would be a pain. I also got a Magnetizer/Demagnetizer
to keep the heads of my drivers with a charge so the tiny screws would stay on them. I didn’t need them but a pair of tweezers would help if you drop one of the screws.

Anyway hope this helps at least one person.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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