Skip to "**********" if you don't want to read the background and just want the questions! Model Name: MacBook Pro 10.6.8 snow leopard Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,5 Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor Speed: 2.53 GHz Memory: 4 GB I believe my 250GB HD is dying, an ornament smacked into the right hand palm rest leaving a big dent right over where the HD lives and from then on I kept getting rainbow wheels and then within a few hours everything just froze and I could not even shut down unless I reset. I could start up again but it just showed the same frozen screen as before. After some tinkering, Genius bar said it was just a software issue and kindly reinstalled 10.6.8 which got back all functionality... however it was not long before I started seeing rainbow wheels all over the place again. Console logs disc0s2 errors at these times so I assume it was not just a software issue. Several freezes and difficulty starting up again from sleep. Disk utility verifies disk and SMART status is "Verified". However 3rd party SMART utility tells me disk is failing. ******** At this point I think I better give up on the 250GB internal HD. I would like to buy a 3rd party 1TB HD and install it myself. My questions are: 1. With the new "blank" HD in there how do I get it up and running - I do not have install disks (thank you Fortress in HK international airport for that). I'd be willing to buy Mountain Lion but how to install this to a fresh HD? App store expects you to install "over" Snow Leopard or Lion. 2. I have Time machine backups on a Lacie 1 TB external HD. Can I use my Snow Leopard backups to restore all files and apps to my new Mountain Lion if I do go that route? Or will they restore Snow Leopard over my new Mountian Lion? 3. ANy other concerns / issues I need to think about?