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Replacing hard drive in a mac

Posted on 2012-09-04
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Last Modified: 2012-09-16
Ok, I'm a pc guy, but have a friend with a macbook pro, the hard drive, a standard sata 2.5 inch has failed, just a little over a year, enough to be out of warranty of course.  Mac wanted almost $300 to replace it, and I can get a 7200 rpm 500 for under $100.  Problem is, she doesn't have a cd or dvd with the o/s on it.  Is there something that can be done to get the o/s, or does she have to purchase it again?

Yes, the hard drive is definitely trashed, won't spin up and not recognized by any system. And starting in safe mode or with the special command style prompt does not work either.
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Question by:Jeff Perkins
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38366211
Your O/S license (whatever version) is included in the price of the computer. You can get replacement media rather inexpensively, maybe $20, can't remember, but you are still way ahead.

Obviously with the money saved, suggest getting an external USB or firewire enclosure and set up apple time machine, or go with one of those network/internet based backup products if the client has a fast internet connection.
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by:David
ID: 38366215
If you have access to another mac, or know somebody that has a mac then one can legally use that media to load the O/S.   I've thrown away old media and you may be able to find them online.   Apple store also may let you download older O/S images, but you will need a mac to do that.
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by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38366242
dlethe,
Thank you,
Where can I purchase this o/s media?  What do I need in order to show I have the rights to it? I'm not a mac fan, so not sure how to go about any of this... I do appreciate the help.
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by:David
David earned 300 total points
ID: 38366300
Since you just can't download the latest version for the Apps store and burn a DVD / USB with it, then i contacted apple just so I had proper information.  

She said to contact the Apple Care.  They will sell replacement media for $19.95.   But there are several distributions so it is important to know the exact model/serial, so it boots from the media OK.  An update download does that automatically, but you don't have such a luxury.

Now if the system was bootable, one could also download and burn an install disk and get the upgrade for $29.95.

Either way, not much money. Go to the apple.com site, look for the applecare.  You will be amazed at how quickly it works  (Typically 5 seconds call-back).
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Assisted Solution

by:mccrick
mccrick earned 300 total points
ID: 38366493
Apple will sell you the original system version, not an upgraded version. dlethe's second post is worth a shot.

The other thing you might try is making a Genius Bar appointment. Toss the drive in, and then stop by with the machine and see if they will put the original OS on there. If the computer handles Snow or Lion, then you could ask them to put that on there. Lion is only $29.
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Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 38366501
Make sure you max the memory if you upgrading system. Also, consider suggesting and SSD for a nice speed boost or at least a hybrid 750. Also have them get a portable drive larger than the amount of data they are backing up and check out Time Machine.
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Xaelian earned 1400 total points
ID: 38367175
You can install the OS X with these 2 things (if you had Lion):

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1433
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4718
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Author Comment

by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38369972
dlethe,
    I think that's the route we will take.  Having the media will just make it easier in the future. I'm not sure what version of osx was on the mac before hard drive crash, I do know the warranty ran out the first week in Aug and hard drive crashed just after.  I also know that if she wants to schedule another appt and drive 1 1/4 hrs one way to the apple store they will put the os back on for her, I just wanted to save her the time if I could.

    I don't have access to another mac, so copying from there won't work.

Xaelian,
   I think those links are if I have a mac that will boot, or have a new system with Lion or mtn lion right?  I don't think a system that is just over a year old will have lion right?   Forgive my stupidity, just not mac guy.
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Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 38370029
The OSX recovery disk requires a working OS X system.   So for $19.95 + shipping, a single phone call will do the trick.   Once the system is booted AND PATCHED, then your client can go online and pay for an update on the apple store, and then there are some published tricks to image the update onto a USB or burn a DVD with it.

Apple doesn't have a problem with people doing this, as long as it is for personal use.
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Author Comment

by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38370119
I will have the laptop in question tomorrow, I'll be contacting Apple store to see if I can get this, and will post results as soon as I have it done.  
Thank you so much for all the help, everyone.
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Expert Comment

by:Xaelian
ID: 38370245
@dlethe, if he has a different mac he could build the recovery disk with it ;)

@riteheer, if they didn't update they won't have Lion. If you know anybody who has the same version as your client, you can build the installer of Mac OS X on an external Hard drive.
If you don't know the exact version. Schedule an appointment with the apple store to explain everything (take an external drive with you, so Mac OS X can be installed on that).

If you're a good talker you don't need to pay for the recovery media, the genius will place the OS on your external drive ;). I did this a couple of times.
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Author Comment

by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38370304
Xaelian,
   Helpful information, but as stated in my earlier posts... I don't have access to another mac, so no building from there.
And.... as stated earlier, driving to a mac store that is 1 1/4 hrs one way, means 2 1/2 hrs on the road, plus time there. AT today's gas prices, without figuring the extra time I think the purchase is probably more economical, and once you figure in time spent... well it's a hands down. you can't replace an hour, much less two in my day for $30.
   I do appreciate the helpful hints, and saving money is good, unless it costs you more.
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Expert Comment

by:mccrick
ID: 38370337
You are describing a situation where you are putting yourself forward as a professional capable of doing a service (and you have been right about your technical assumptions). At the end of the day, however, you need to have the tools to do your job. Fixing this computer is drop-dead easy as any Mac pro will have copies of the OS and the drive install is about 12 minutes. It seems like you might want to track down a Mac on craigslist to mess around with and develop your Mac knowledge and tools or develop a good network of pros in your area that you can refer Mac business to and possibly receive PC business from.

If your client is not in too big of a rush, get the drive and the OS and gitter done. You are right about not wanting your client to pay $300 for the same size drive that the computer came with when you can do much better size and/or performance wise for a fraction of the cost.
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LVL 15

Author Comment

by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38373253
mccrick,
   Thanks for the tips, the area I live in is short on mac's or mac people in fact if someone did it around her local they would probably starve, because there aren't that many.  As I go along I will aquire the necessary stuff to do what needs to be done on them. In this case, it's a mac user that her next computer will be a pc.  She was barely a month over warranty and they gave her such a hard way to go at the store, not to mention wanting to charge way more than what's is considered good value, she won't buy another mac.  
  The closest Apple store is almost 1 1/2 hrs one way and even further for some of these people how here in the sticks...
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jeff Perkins
ID: 38403741
Although everyone had good suggestions that would solve the problem, a call to Apple resolved the fact that the system had Lion installed upon the purchase a year ago, and since this was the case I was able to use the internet recovery suggested by: Xaelian
Thanks to all for the help.
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