Upgrading a Mac book

I know people who know me will be surprised but I did do some upgrades to a Mac book last year. I think I will finally write about the experience. I can list of several things I liked about it & at the same time I hated about it.

We did this as part of upgrading to OS x 10.6. We bought the following Western Digital AV-25 WD5000BUDT 500GB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache 2.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal AV Hard Drive, macally PHRS250CC Aluminum 2.5″ USB 2.0 & 1394 External Enclosure, & Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit Memory for Apple Notebook Model KTA-MB667K2/2G for the hardware. On the software we had an unused Windows XP license, Mac OS X version 10.6.3 Snow Leopard upgrade DVD, as well as iLife ’11. I’m including links to the parts we used in the upgrade.

I had to spend a large amount of time to find out what limitations the Mac had as well as how to install the upgraded hardware. Thankfully I found a video that showed how to do the upgrade, but it was so long ago I can’t remember where I found all the needed info to do the hardware upgrade. Here is more of the love hate relationship I have with Macs. To upgrade the RAM & the Hard drive you must remove the battery. This is forced on you which I don’t mind, but it makes it really hard to tell if you have the RAM in correctly which is what I dislike about the process.

Basically under the battery is an “L” shaped piece of metal that covers both RAM slots & the tray for the Hard drive. You unscrew 3 screws in it on the long side where the RAM is located to remove it. The screws in the upgrade I did stayed in the “L” shaped piece of metal. I then removed the RAM using the levers & paid close attention to where the notch in them was located so I could just insert the new modules the same way. Then I removed the old Hard drive using the plastic tab to pull it out. I switched out the drive in the tray I inserted the new drive.

After all that I put everything else back to where it was & started on installing OS X. The install from the DVD was uneventful other than I had to figure out how to partition the drive to run OS X, the drive came without any partitions. Which meant more time using Google. After I got past that issue the install finished although partway through it wanted me to add it to my wireless network which if I tried to do I would get stuck so I just skipped that step & used a wired connection to get the wireless settings & download the first set of updates.

During the boring parts of the install, IE while the install was running & not asking me any questions, I put the old Hard drive in the external enclosure so if we needed to get any data from it we could easily.

After the install & updates finished for OS X I got to have fun trying to figure out how to use boot camp to install Windows XP. I learned several things from those attempts which resulted in me reinstalling OS X more than once.

  • Windows must me installed on the partition that boot camp on OS X is listing it as, install it on any other partition or deleting of the partition boot camp assigned it to will cause issues.
  • The partition tool in boot camp does not use the same math as the partition tool in OS X, one say that 1 GB (1 GB = 1 Gigabyte) is 1,073,741,824 bytes while the other tool says that 1,000,000,000 bytes is 1 GB. (I’ll update this when I get a chance to figure out which used 1,073,741,824 as 1 GB)
  • If you want a FAT32 partition to share data between Windows & OS X you will need to add it later using the partition tool in OS X & remember that after you add it you can’t use boot camp again unless you want to wipe out the install of Windows.
  • If you are going to have a shared partition you need to either have it already created before installing Windows as an OS X format or leave it as extra space after the Windows partition. If there is un-partitioned space between the partitions you will need to edit the boot.ini file using the recovery console.

That’s all that I can remember from that adventure in my life. So about the only thing I really liked is that you have to remove the battery to replace either the RAM or the Hard drive. I disliked the inconsistency of measuring what 1 GB is on OS X, that you couldn’t easily tell if the RAM was installed properly (mainly because you couldn’t see it), & I thought it was rather primitive of boot camp to only support one FAT32 partition.

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