This is going to be a geeky post. I decided to put this up here because I didn't find much information online about this, or the process. I may be all wrong about how I proceeded, but what I did worked. With the exception of the time needed to do this, I'm not unhappy with the procedure.
Yesterday I upgraded the hard drive in my MacBook Pro. It is a 2011 model, 13-inch, and it came with a 320 GB hard drive. Most of what I have on my computer is not critical - knitting and quilting patterns, lots of photos, some videos that I've ripped from my own DVDs, some that I've downloaded... nothing that's going to change the course of history, but all important to me. I was down to about 30 to 40 GB on my hard drive on a regular basis, less if I've downloaded a whole bunch of video podcasts recently.
Everything I've heard about swapping out a hard drive on a MacBook Pro says "It's easy." "Do this, and this, and this, and you're up and running again." Mine didn't go nearly that smoothly.
Hubby picked out a WD Scorpio Blue 1 TB hard drive, and we ordered it. It arrived yesterday. After unboxing the drive, I opened up the back of the computer. This required a size 00 Phillips screwdriver.
After removing ten screws on the back (7 small, 3 long) I needed to loosen two small screws on a rentaining bar between the current hard drive (silver square in the upper right) and the CD/DVD drive (bigger silver square). Those screws didn't come out. I lifted out the retaining bar, unplugged the cable from the drive, plugged the cable in to the new drive, and put everything back together - retaining bar, back cover, screws. I cleaned the back of the computer and the inside before I replaced the back cover; there was a bit of dust in there! This was by far the easiest part of the process.
Before I took the hard drive out I had run a new backup; that goes to a 1 TB WD "Passport" drive. I wanted to make sure that all current information (like a quilt pattern I had recently purchased) ended up on the new drive when I was done.
After putting it back together, I turned it on and put my original OS X DVD in the drive. It started going through the process to install the OS on the new drive, but when it got to the window that said to select which drive to install to, the entry was blank. It didn't see my new hard drive! I tried going through that process a couple more times, same result. I tried restoring from my backup with no luck as well.
As it turns out, I believe the problem was because my new hard drive was either formattted for a Windows computer or was not formatted at all. I started over with the install disk, but instead of trying to install the new OS, I chose "Disk Utility." Then I chose "Erase" the new disk. This created a new format on the disk. It only helped a little; I could now "see" the disk, but the backup still would not install.
The new problem was that I needed to have some part of the operating system on my computer before I could restore from the backup! I started over (again) and managed to get the original CD to install the operating system.
Now the backup would not run because the version of the operating system on the computer was older than the one on the backup! I updated my version of the OS (Snow Leopard) - I think twice. Then I did the Mountain Lion upgrade. Then I wanted to restore from backup. I started the restore from Time Machine. The first thing it did was shut down everything running - including my backup drive!
I went back to the original install disk and the original disk utility, and ran the restore again. This time it ran - the backup and the hard drive had the same OS on them. It took another 4 hours, but I was at last back up and running, basically right where I left off.
So it took all day, but now instead of 40 GB free, I have 740 GB free!
The next step will be to install Boot Camp, and Windows 7. I'm going to set up a partition to give Windows 7 about 250 GB. I only have a couple of programs I want to run on the Windows partition - a couple of things that won't run on Mac. Maybe I'll give it a few days to recover from yesterday's procedure before I do that.