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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Tuesday, November 09, 2010
WD7500BPVT and the Macbook Pro 13 (7.1)
I spent some time the other day upgrading my 13" Macbook pro at home. I had previously bumped up the RAM to 8 GB, and this time around I determined to upgrade the 250 GB HDD to what is supposed to be the largest 9.5 mm (height) SATA drive that can fit (comfortably) in a 13" Macbook Pro: a 750 GB Western Digital HDD (WD7500BPVT).

Several things complicated this particular upgrade, the most major being that it didn't fit snuggly, but I will get to that later.

I had ordered a drive enclosure, which was delivered separately from the drive itself. For those who aren't familiar with the term "drive enclosure" it is basically a case that you put around an old hard drive so that you can use it as an external (USB) HDD. If you have a drive enclosure when you begin the upgrade, you can simply put the old drive into the enclosure, put the new drive into the system, and boot up from the old drive (holding the "alt/option" key when you boot to bring up the alternate boot options). In this way you boot to your old drive, then set up the new drive, and copy everything over using disk utility.

Not having the enclosure meant I had to make a bootable image of my current drive - which I did. I saved the image to one of my back-up external HDDs (I have two). Likewise, using a tool called WinClone, I saved an image of my Windows 7 Partition on the same external HDD. That added several hours to the project that I could have avoided if I had the drive enclosure.

Well, I don't want to bore you with the details, it is enough to say that once I had the image of my current OS X Partition created as a bootable image on my external HDD, I removed the old 250GB drive, and installed the new 750 GB drive. That went pretty easy, so I booted the computer up, having my external drive connected via firewire, and holding the "alt/option" key I brought up the boot options screen, and booted from the image on my external HDD. I then ran "Disk Utility" and (at first) set up two partitions on the new drive, one for OS X the other for Windows 7. I knew however that this particular drive was an Advanced Format Drive, which meant that there was a possibility that Disk Utility wouldn't set up the allocation table in an optimized way - I wasn't sure. Also, because I was using a cloning tool, and restoring the image, I was concerned that there might be some flim-shaw there I would have to worry about.

So I set up the two partitions, and attempted to restore the Windows image - but as it turns out the tool (WinClone) wouldn't let me restore the image onto the partition I prepared because I was running OS X from an external HDD. So I restored the OS X image first, and rebooted.

So far all was well - yet I remembered the last time I played around with the partitions (I wanted to increase the Windows partition at the expense of the OS X partition), I had to use BootCamp to do it "proper" - at least that is what the stuff I was reading at the time said, and so once I booted to the new drive, I deleted the previously made "Windows" partition (using Disk Utility) and then expanded the OS X partition to use the whole drive. Then I closed Disk Utility and opened up BootCamp, and set up the windows partition from within BootCamp. Then I fired up WinClone, and using the image saved on the external HDD, I recreated my Windows install into the new Partition. That worked fine.

Then I disconnected the external HDD, and booted up, holding the alt/option key to be sure I could see the Windows partition - it saw it and I booted into Windows. Well, not quite. Rather because the file allocation table was now using 4K sectors instead of 512 Byte sectors for it's block size, and again, because the last time the image was used it reported a drive size that was much smaller than the current drive, I was immediately thrown into a serious three-part check disk session. That took over an hour, but when it was done, I could boot into Windows 7 fine.

I mentioned before that because I was restoring a cloned image onto a new partition, there might have been some misalignment with the advanced format on the drive - so I downloaded a tool from Western Digital which was supposed to align the misaligned sectors if there were any - and apparently there weren't.

Everything appeared to be over until I picked up the macbook and was surprised by a little clunky sound.


We have these laptops at my work that when you grab them from the middle, you can feel them flex in your grip - it is a little unsettling. My Macbook Pro however, is solid. SOLID. So when I heard this little clunk I was confused. Did that come from my Macbook, ...MY Macbook? After a moment or two of experimentally manhandling my MBP, I realized that it was the internal HDD I had just installed.

There is a screw down piece that (supposedly) secures the internal HDD, and my assumption was that I must not have secured that tightly enough, so, with some discontent, I opened the back again and looked. Sure enough, the drive wasn't snug - but not because I had failed to do anything, rather the drive itself was just physically a wee bit smaller than the one it replaced, so that the friction which held the previous drive in place could not do the same for this new drive.

I felt like I was in a Greek tragedy at that point. How could it be that his drive, this wonderfully "bigger" drive (750 GB vs 250 GB) was in fact smaller physically, and why was there no way to adjust the thing that held the drive in place so that this drive would be held tightly? the last thing I want in a portable computer is to have the HDD clanking around inside - even if it is only a few millimetres?

I thought about putting a shim in - perhaps a piece of cardboard? Ew! Like I want to put a folded up chunk of paper in my Macbook Pro? What if it comes loose? A metal shim? Pfft. Worse. Then I remembered that I had some spare rubber shims in my bike bag. They were left over from when I bought a new headlight to mount on my handlebars - that is, if your handlebars were too skinny, you could use these high quality rubber shims to make up the difference. At this point, I wish my wife could have been there to see, because she always pokes fun at my being something of a pack rat. I would surely have said, "Ha! In your face woman!" or something like that. These shims worked perfectly - I mean seriously perfectly. I got the drive in snug, better than it was.

But then, in the moment of my triumph, a new tragedy. As I was putting the screws back on the back panel, smiling smugly to myself about how awesome it was that the rubber shims worked, I decided to use a teensy bit of threading tape on each of the ridiculously tiny screws. All was going well, until I dropped one - or rather it spun out of creation and into the void before my eyes could see where it got to.

I spent the next half hour with a rare earth magnet combing the floor and table for the thing, but it was gone. I had to choose which of the seven hard points I would leave open, and would have to find some aftermarket seller of tiny screws in order to replace it. How does a little screw like that just disappear??

Just as I resigned myself to the less than perfect end of my project, I picked up my macbook, and it seems the screw had, by way of the threading tape, somehow stuck to the case of my macbook pro, and suddenly decided to make itself known. There it was - so I threaded it up, and put it in.

All in all, I would not recommend doing the upgrade yourself if you aren't comfortable taking things apart, and using software tools to make things happen - and this especially if you are using bootcamp and have a Windows Partition.

The key "take away" for anyone upgrading their 13 MBP to a Western Digital Scorpio Blue 750 GB HDD - is be prepared for some clunking afterwards. I found that the drive is just a hair smaller than the one it replaces, and that unless you fabricate a shim (and I would -only- advise a high quality rubber shim) and pop it in, you better be able to live with the clunk, clunk of a drive that is just clanking around in there.


Well, as providence and the grace of God would allow, when my drive enclosure showed up, I found I couldn't isntall the old drive into the enclosure because there were these four fancy chrome screws sticking out the sides of the drive...

Suddenly I felt really stupid.

Well, you know what happened next, right? I opened up my MBP and sure enough, in my haste I totally failed to notice that even though the drive wasn't screwed down by these screws, the screws themselves were sorta like pegs when screwed in, and fit into little holes that I totally missed in my mad dash to re-use old rubber...

So I put it in sans rubber shims, and it is all snug now.

The only problems I have run into are the fact that the drive has its own motion sensors which conflict with the Macbook's sensors (had to disable them), and because of the way the Macbook likes to control when the drive sleeps, I had to run an after market utility to set the advanced power management on the drive so that the drive wasn't being put to sleep every couple of seconds and generating needless load cycles - but that's another story.

All in all, it works fine after the tweaks.

Labels: ,

posted by Daniel @ 7:45 AM  
  • At 11:54 AM, November 09, 2010, Blogger David said…

    I am impressed. You are the man, tech-wise. I'll bet you have all kinds of hair on your chest. I've been thinking of some upgrades myself. I may just show up at your door with my computer and a bucket full of parts.

  • At 6:53 PM, December 27, 2010, Anonymous Jochen G said…

    I just put the wd750bpvt in my macbook pro and the disk speed goes up and down every few seconds. In less than a minute the disk switches off completely. You wrote in your article update that you disable the power management of the disk (or the sensores). How have you done it? I think I have to do the same... Thanks

  • At 8:12 AM, January 07, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jochen, I did not disable the sensors on the drive, I would expect that if that can be shut off, it would have to be either by setting a jumper on the HDD itself, or perhaps by reflashing the rom on the drive. Either way - I did not go there.

    Rather I turned off the sudden motion sensors on the macbook through a terminal command:

    sudo pmset -a sms 0

    (that's a zero not a capital O)

    you will need to type in your administrator password (of course) to do that.

    If you want to turn it back on use the same command passing an argument of 1 rather than 0:

    sudo pmset -a sms 1

    When you have entered it in, if you wish to check to be sure you have turned off the sudden motion sensors, type:

    sudo pmset -g

    I hope that helps, and I am sorry for the delay in responding - I have been on vacation.

  • At 8:22 AM, February 18, 2011, Blogger Paul said…

    I've got the same problem with my hard drive.
    could you tell me which "after market utility" you have used to set the advanced power management? it would help me very much.

  • At 10:18 AM, February 18, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…


    Though it has only been a few months, I don't remember now what utility it was that I ran.

    To be sure, there were a few things that had to be done. Both the drive and the OS wanted to look after sudden motion sensing - so I disabled the OS handling of that (see my comment to Jochen). The utility I used to turn off the APM on the drive itself, was called (I believe) hdparam.

    It is --NOT-- a user friendly tool, and not something you want to play with lightly, especially if you are a little leery of the command line, as this is something you install, then run from the command line with drive specific parameters.

    Not that I aim to discourage, but rather to make sure you understand that you will probably want to spend some time reading about it before you try it.

    I would say good luck, but I don't believe in luck.

    Be careful.

  • At 10:20 AM, February 18, 2011, Blogger Daniel said…

    Paul, ignore that first sentence in the last comment, since I remembered half way through which utility it was, and just didn't go back and delete the opening line.

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