Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.


A Little Computer Surgery

Morning surgery. Rob is replacing my primary hard drive with a SSD, removing the CD drive, and mounting my old hard drive where the CD drive used to be.

For my birthday this year, Rob gave me an (almost) new computer for about $250.

I’ve had this MacBook Pro for about two years. Because I have a lot of photos and music, my hard drive was nearly full. The computer was slowing down. It took forever even to fall asleep.

Rob’s solution, taken from lessons learned hacking his own laptop:

  • Purchase a “Data Doubler” kit from OWC.
  • Remove the laptop’s existing hard drive. Replace it with a super-speedy 115GB SSD.
  • Remove the rarely-used optical drive (CD/DVD). Mount the original hard drive in its place.
  • Install the OS on the new SSD, make the SSD the startup drive and reinstall all applications. (The OS and apps go on the SSD; all other files stay on the original hard drive.)
  • Marvel at the awesomeness: The laptop takes about 10 seconds to boot up, and about 3 seconds to open Photoshop (the default test case when demoing the new set-up to fellow designers).

Geeky details:

  • Installing the OS was a bit tricky: My OS software was on a CD, but my laptop no longer had an optical drive with which to read it. So I booted the laptop in target disk mode, attached it to our Mac Mini via Firewire cable (so the Mini would read it as an external hard drive), inserted the OS disc in the Mini and installed it from there.
  • For other tasks that require a CD/DVD, you can enable Remote Disc Sharing on your CD-equipped computer. Then run a terminal command on the CD-less laptop to enable the feature there. Now, the CD-less laptop will treat that Remote Disc as its own CD drive when needed.