Changing the internal hard disk of a Mac
Mini (light version)
(As usual, I cannot be responsible for any damage to
your machines when you will experiment the following
This is the basic model of the Mac Mini: 40G hard disk.
Well, a little bit short for a desktop model... some iPods
have the same capacity!
So we plan to replace the internal hard disk by a 80G
one, actually the best ratio performance/encumbrance/price.
So, left above, the hard disk Hitachi (formerly IBM), an
external box in which I will put the new drive to
first clone the internal disk of the Mini and on which I
will boot on to ensure the clone is bootable: if sucess, I
plug the Hitachi cloned drive into the Mini and all is ready
And below, the new tech tool for the Mac geek: the famous
house painter spatula ;-)
To clone the original disk, I always DiskUtility (Restore
function): I drag-n-drop original disk icon on the first
line of the panel and the target one on the second line.
Great.. where is my Restore button?
A new French localization bug?
Ok, I will boot from the original Panther Install Disc 1
to reach a functionnal DiskUtility stuff... but sorry, no
screen capture ! Cloning the internal disk while booting
from the Install Cd is quite longer than doing the same
operation when booting from the hard drive (the lattest
takes nearly a quater of hour to be performed).
The new tool in action! First upturn the MacMini and put
the face with the blue Apple logo on a soft surface (for
instance a mice support). We gently use the tool as a lever
to extract the box's cockle.
May be you'll have to do this on the whole perimeter of
the Mini box!
Do not push the whole blade inside the interstice: only
use a short part of it. Also, do not completly pull of the
cockle because if you do so, you'll face greater
diffucltiles to pull off the cockle when you will reach the
opposite side: the inclined pulled off part of the cockle
will strongly push on the opposite face. When all the
perimeter is gently pulled off, extract the cockle by moving
it perpendicularly to box face.
Cockle's spurs .
In the cockle's bottom face, we can see the slot in which
the spurs go into. Well, after pulling off the cockle, I
think a lager house painter spatula (the width of which will
cover, let's say, 6 spurs?) will be more helpfull.
Three Philips 0 cruciform screws
to be removed to extract the hard drive craddle.
Here no Airpot or BT; if any, do not forget to disconnect
these two coponents' antennas !
Removing the power plug cable: the sticker first
then the connector
and last but not least the screw in the tube .
and the screw
from another point of view.
To remove the connector, I use my little lever: one
traction on the left, one on the right and there it is.
The sticker on the cockle... to keep it on a sure place.
We remove the screw beside the connector.
This one on the front side, on the right.
A better view?
And the last one.
Gently, we pull off the craddle...
... we dispose near the box.
The craddle's two connectors (male above, female on
an the mezzanin connector (female to receive the airport+BT
craddle) on the motherboard again .
Another view of the motherboard: the RAM board, the
mezzanin connector, the modem card, the CPU cooling
radiator, the internal pile and two (?) reset buttons.
Back to the hard drive craddle: the hard drive is fixed
by four screws and on this side only one is reachable. So we
need to remove the fan.
screws ... Philips 1 because my Philips 0 screwdriver does
On the right the fan's screw (Philips 1), on the left the
craddle's ones (Philips 0): no chance to be wrong when
putting them in place!
Once the fan removed, two new screws ,
and ... a hole (?) here .
Now pull off the connectors ,
with the most accurate tool you have: with a small lever,
with your nails, with a epilating forceps... what you think
that will be suitable, but do it softly not to break the
Unhook the cable and the sticker.
Two easy to remove screws .
Now, these two screws .
For the left one, either we pierce the sticker which
covers the screw hole
... well, not elegant at all...
Either we use a curved screwdriver: this one is clearly
too big.. and I lend my two small curved ones... So ;-)
With this tool? No!
So, I don't remove the sticker .
And I use a simple cap to remove the screw.
We can unhook the drive by applying simple levers on the
left and on the right
, with a small screwdriver, a little piece of wood...
We can pull it up, paying a great attention to the
We put the new drive into place, the cables above it!
And we follow the above instructions in a reverse order
to rebuild the Mini.
Be carefull to insert the fan's cables here
and not to pinch them there .
The male connector
has to be perfectly fitted into the female one .
-> do not force on it!
"I would really mind replacing something down there
The Mini is... mini: no place for a second Ram board.
Whe an Airport one + BT craddle is present, antennas
cables pass through this slot: easy. But between the Airport
card and the tube (see above) in which we put the
screw, it is more complicated.
There in fact .
The extra thin woofer!
The tools I used:
One "0" and one "1" Philips screwdriver, a small lever, a
plastic screwdriver, a Philips 2 cap... and the now famous
house painter spatula!
Except the cloning process, the whole operation takes 30
Do you find this article helpfull?