Replacing HD on a PowerBook...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by karilynn, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. karilynn macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2011
    Saint Paul, MN
    Well, it finally happened. My beloved nearly 7 year old PowerBook finally let me down - the Hard Drive failed. I knew one day it would happen :(

    At least I think that's what happened. I was surfing the interwebs, minding my own business, when everything froze and I had to force shut down. I tried to boot it back up - got the lovely screen with a question mark and a folder. I reset the PRAM - same thing. I put in the recovery disk, tried disk repair, got an error. I don't have Disk Warrior and don't want to spend money on it, so I figured I'd just reinstall the OS (have all my stuff backed up). One problem: can't find a disk to install it on. None are listed... I'm guessing this is because my hard drive is dead, dead, dead? :eek:

    I'm not very tech savvy. I can install RAM and that's about it. How do I even go about replacing my HD? Where do I find an appropriate hard drive and how do I install it? Am I better off bringing it to an Apple certified tech or am I going to get robbed? Can a novice gal like myself do something like replacing a hard drive in a laptop? :confused:

    thanks guys!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You are going to want to find an IDE/PATA notebook drive. Western Digital makes some good ones. Currently, their 320GB HD is the largest out there (AFAIK). I have one of those in one of my PBs. So far it's been a very good and fast drive.

    You may have to look hard. IDE is getting old and most new drives now days are SATA. But SATA won't work with your Mac.

    The link for the iFixit guides is a good start. I usually use iFixit as a repair manual. If you just follow their directions you should be ok. Most of it is unscrewing screws and pulling ribbon cables. You will probably want to invest in a Torx wrench set (a special kind of wrench). Apple uses torx screws in certain parts of their Macs and you can't get these out with a normal Phiilips or blade screwdriver.
  4. Davy.Shalom macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    Go western digital. I have a caviar blue 250 GB in my 12" pb and it's great on power and it's very quiet as well. I've also noticed that it produces less heat as compared to the former drive that was in the powerbook. It shouldn't be too hard to find an IDE 2.5" drive... search PCCONNECTION and TIGER DIRECT first. Then take a look at new egg.

    Pretty much this is what you want

    A PATA/IDE 2.5" laptop hard drive

    Go to iFixit for the take-apart guide.

    Get a screw driver set (one that comes with interchangeable heads), and make sure it has torx heads.

    Heads up:
    the Aluminum powerbooks are a PITA to take apart, because you have to pry the case apart. Be very careful when doing this, because if you pry to hard you've permanently bent it. Also, there are a plethora of screws that you will be taking out, so I advise getting a few cups and labeling them with color names that correspond to the color outlines on the iFixit guide. This really saved me a lot of time when I had to put the thing back together.
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Good advice. The first 17" PB I bought off eBay was missing a bunch of case screws. The original owner opened it up to see if he could "fix" it. Apparently, he did this without a guide and couldn't figure out how to get it back together. This seems to be a common problem with some sellers of Macs on eBay. You can pick one up cheap because the seller was a bonehead and is now selling spare parts instead of a working Mac.

    $17 for a new set of screws fixed my Mac though.

    You may also wish to invest in a spudger. It's a little tool that you can use to wedge into small openings, twist and then separate parts. Should make short work of separating the top case from the bottom case once you have all the screws out.
  6. joepunk macrumors 68030


    Aug 5, 2004
    a profane existence
    I purchased a 320GB WD drive and have yet to install it because of this

    Also, are not some of the screws hole specific and have to be placed back in the same hole they came out of?

    I've thought about taking my powerbook to an apple store and seeing if I could pay them to install the hard drive. Think it's possible?
  7. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    The iFixit guides have a running screw list that is color coded. A user on the Apple forums once suggested printing out the guide and then placing the screws you removed through the paper where the color coding is for that screw in the particular step.

    For myself I tend to group the screws. The 5 on the top of the bottom case (when you flip a 17" PB over) go in a line placed apart from the hole I removed them from and so on. But that's just me.

    You could probably pay Apple to do it. I'd think you'd still have to be under support. Apple looked at my Macs which were obsolete and vintage only because I wasn't asking them to fix anything. The Apple genius even gave me new screws that he had on hand. But when it came time for a diagnostic or repair I was told that there was a flat $300 fee. I don't suppose they'd charge you that, but then again you would be tying up an Apple engineer who has to open and check your Mac, find out which screws are missing, find the right ones and then put it back together.

    At the time I took my 17" PB in to be checked (two years ago) the Apple store I took it to was out of stock on just about every PB part (including screws). They just don't stock them because it's all about the MBs and MBPs now.

    You might search eBay. You can get a complete set of screws for a decent price.

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