Macbook hard drive upgrade – easy?

For once I can give something BACK to the Internet community. For many years if I’ve had a tech problem that I’ve been unable to solve I’ve turned to the ‘net (generally the mighty Google) to find a solution.

Recently my MacBook hard disk drive (HDD if ya wanna speak tech) decided to depart this mortal coil – I’m convinced hard drives know the perfect time to die and cause maximum inconvenience. Yes my backup was weeks ago and yes the night before I’d spent 4 hours designing flyers, tickets and promo info for an upcoming 80’s night (where I’ll be DJing). So on the very day that I’m scheduled to present the produced materials to the planning team the hard drive decides to crash – with the click of a drive head my MacBook switched from a graphic editing, media playing, soft synth hosting powerhouse to a doorstop…

So next stop is to get a new hard drive. I ordered one in (from the friendly and efficient IT & comms providers, HJS Essentia) and then waited. Eventually after what seemed like an age (ok two days) the new drive is in my hands. Using the very useful instructions from Apple on how to install a new hard disk drive in a MacBook I managed to swap the drives over. THAT, I thought was the hard bit dealt with – how wrong could I be?!

I started the MacBook with the Mac OS X Install Disk 1 (version 10.4.9 to be precise) which was the disk that came with my Mac when I purchased it. My new drive was a WD Scorpio Blue 250Gb (how Western Digital know what star sign and favourite colour a hard drive has I’ve no idea). Anyway, off it goes and then cheerfully informs me I have a 1.8Tb hard drive (cool! I thought – perhaps Western Digital badged it wrong!) <- that was a joke BTW. No, something was wrong and it wouldn’t partition it either, throwing back an input/output error when trying to create a partition.

So I did the usual Google searches “wd scorpio 250gb seen as 1.8tb in macbook”, “250gb hard disk shown as 1.8tb in macbook” and all I got was rather unhelpful and misleading pages especially from “Experts” Exchange (tip don’t register just look at it through Google’s cache). Most people on there were stating “oh the hard drive’s broken” etc (it’s a brand new drive that works on a Windows system – so, unlikely!)

Here’s the real answer:

The Mac OS X Install disk (10.4.9) doesn’t recognise a 250Gb drive – it was a blooming bug in the Mac OS X Installer!

Now the fun is trying to find an OS X install disk that will recognize it. I have OS X Leopard CPU Drop-In DVD (version 10.5) which DOES recognise the disk but won’t install because it can’t detect an install of Mac OS X to upgrade – I KNOW I’M TRYING TO INSTALL IT!

A little frustrated over what the Apple Genuises said was an “easy job”…