Swap hard drive from Macbook to Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Stampyhead, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    I'm planning on purchasing a 15" Macbook Pro soon. Currently I have a Macbook with a 250GB hard drive that I installed myself. Is it possible to just swap the drives on the two machines and have everything already set up on the MBP from the MB, or would I have to reinstall the OS since it would be on a new machine?
  2. ccolaco macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    I would recommend backing up your data on to an external drive, then put the hard drive into your new MacBook Pro, and re-install OS X. Then copy your data back on. The reason being is that the MacBook Pro has a different hardware setup than the MacBook, this is the best way to avoid problems.
  3. brandonshough macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just swap and go, they are both Intel X86.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Just a word of warning: Replacing the hard drive in a MacBook is easy. Anyone who can hold a screw driver straight can do it. Replacing the hard drive in a MacBook Pro is a completely different thing. Not something I would want to do myself.
  5. ccolaco macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    My mistake, I thought it would just be safer to back up and re-install. But if this works then great...saves you a lot of time.
  6. brandonshough macrumors regular


    Jul 19, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Yeah for fun put your machine in target disk mode and boot away on another mac ;)
  7. aceaceace, Feb 6, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011

    aceaceace macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2010
    Claremont, CA and Ames, IA
    Macbook to Macbook Pro HDD swap worked fine

    I just did pretty much this same swap, and it worked fine. Was easy and saved a lot of time. I was pretty hesitant about doing this and read a lot about it first. I would do it again. I am told the reason this works is because the Mac OS has all the drivers for all the Macbooks and Macbook pros and can change drivers at boot up. I'm not sure if that is exactly technically correct, but prob close to why it works.

    I have the oldest white Macbook with a 1.83Ghz CPU and a self-upgraded HDD 500GB 7200 rpm SATA drive, with only a Core Due (no Core Duo 2) and a self-upgraded 2GB memory I think this Macbook is from 2006.

    I bought a new Macbook Pro MC375LL/A with 4GB memory and a 2.66 Ghz CPU with a 320GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD.

    I wanted to swap the HDD for two reasons, one, to not have to do all the work of reinstalling my apps, photos and documents, and two, the older upgraded 500GB 7200rp is much better than the stock 320GB that came in the new MBP.

    First thing I did was do all the Software Upgrades available on both systems as of this date is was version 10.6.6. I did not do the EFI software update on the 320GB drive because that is specific to the MBP and not the Macbook. Then I did a Time Machine backup of the 500GB drive just in case something did go wrong.

    The HDD drive is very simple to remove in both the Macbook and Macbook Pro, just search for Apples instructions on how to remove the drive.

    Next I flipped the MBP over on cloth place mat so as not to scratch my new MBP, and carefully took out the 10 tiny screws on the back of the macbook pro. I had to go buy a P0 Craftsman screwdriver with a bigger handle than the glasses screwdriver set that I had because one of the tiny screws was stuck. The bottom lifts off. This only takes 3 minutes to get access to the MBP HDD.

    Be careful with the slim SATA ribbon cable attached to the drive inside the MBP. Don't yank on that cable. There are two torks screws holding the side of the HDD in place and you will need to remove these, but I used a small flat head glasses screwdriver for that. Just don't drop any screws and remember which way the drive sits. Carefully remove the drive and hold it by the edges (don't put any pressure on the circuit board). There are 4 posts on the sides of the HDD inside the MBP; gently remove those. I used a pliers and gently turned them until I could turn them with my fingers.

    Next I flipped over the Macbook and removed the 500GB HDD. (remember which direction the HDD goes, up or down, I reversed mine the first time). I removed the sled from the Macbook HDD. I'm not sure exactly what you call this, but it is a thin piece of metal that screws onto the Macbook hard drive.

    Now for the HDD swap:

    I attached the sled to the 320GB HDD (that was originally in the MBP) and plugged it into the Macbook and put it back together and it powered it back on. It didn't work at first. I checked and had the drive upside down. Make sure you remember which was is up on the drive. ;-)

    Next, I screwed the 4 posts onto the 500GB drive (that was originally in the Macbook) carefully attached the thin SATA ribbon cable put the side clip back over the top of the HDD put the back on (with just a few screws till I know it works) and it powered it up too. Cool,

    The MBP booted up fine, except I got a warning that my SMCfancontrol app had a problem. I think This FAN speed app version I had was designed for the Macbook and it was now on the MBP, so I uninstalled that app. I tried VMware and it asked me if I had moved the Virtual Disk. I said yes, and it automatically switched the CMOS for the virtual OS to be compatible with the new CPU, and it works also. Very cool.

    The next day after I was sure it was all working perfect on the MBP, I did another Time Machine backup and TM knew it was a different CPU and asked me if I wanted to reuse my old Time Machine backup with the new CPU, it warned me if I said OK it couldn't ever be used as a TM backup again for the Macbook. I said OK because I knew I wasn't going back to the Macbook after this swap worked so nice to the Macbook pro

  8. bbartle macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    Yes this works well, make sure you have the same software versions

    I was able to follow these instructions with one caveat. Initially I tried moving a drive from a Macbook running 10.5.x to a Macbook Pro. This didn't work. The Macbook Pro repeatedly requested that it be rebooted. I then upgraded the OS in the MacBook to 10.6.3 using the $29 upgrade disk from the Apple Store and 10.6.6 using Check for Updates on the Macbook. Once I'd done this I was able to move the drive directly to the MacBook Pro and it booted immediately. So here are some things to consider

    - upgrading to the latest OS using the CD from Apple may be the source of drivers for the latest machines

    - the drive coming from the MacBook most likely needs to have the same revision of OS X as the MacBook Pro you are moving the drive to.

    Thanks to the other folks who have taken time to document this process thoroughly in this thread. Saved lots of time upgrading drives.
  9. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003

    I recently tried swapping the hard drive from my 2.4 GHz 13" to my new 13" 2.3 i5 and it did not work. I had to reinstall using the new machines restore discs even though the drive from the 2.4 was completely updated.

    Worth a shot, but make sure you have a complete backup in case you need to reinstall.

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