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Upgrade your MacBook to an SSD (pictures)

A Solid State Drive can seriously boost an old MacBook's performance, speeding up the time it takes to launch programs, complete tasks, and render large files. Here's how to install an SSD on your MacBook Pro.

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Sharon Profis

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So you want to upgrade your Mac with an SSD?

A Solid State Drive can seriously boost an old MacBook's performance, speeding up the time it takes to launch programs, complete tasks, and render large files.

Here's how I upgraded my 2009 MacBook Pro to an SSD and made it feel brand new. Any MacBook Pro from 2012 and earlier can be upgraded as well. (Newer models have the hard drive soldered in and can not be modded.)

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Connect the SSD to your Mac

The first step is to clone your current hard drive to the SSD. Start by connecting the SSD to your computer with a SATA-to-USB dock or cable.

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Format the SSD

To prep the SSD for cloning, you'll have to format it. Launch Disk Utility and select the SSD from the sidebar. Then head over to the Erase tab and click Erase. Now your drive is ready for cloning.

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Cloning the hard drive to the SSD

To clone to drive, launch SuperDuper, which is completely free. Set it up to clone the Macintosh HD to your new drive. Select Backup - all files. Click Copy Now, and take a break. This could take up to a few hours, depending on the size of your drive.

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Remove the back cover

When the hard drive finishes cloning, disconnect it, and shut down your computer.

Using a screwdriver, remove the 10 small screws securing the bottom cover. Keep them safe in a small container as you disassemble.

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Ta-da!

Remove the back cover and touch a metal part on the inside to release the static electricity.

At this point, you might want to clean the dust that's collected on the innards of your laptop. Use a soft brush or gentle bursts of compressed air to get the job done.

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Remove the hard drive

To remove the hard drive, unscrew the two screws holding down the black bracket. Set the bracket and the screws aside.

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Disconnect the hard drive

Gently lift the hard drive. You'll see that a ribbon is attached to one end. Carefully wiggle the connector -- not the ribbon itself -- to disconnect it.

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Remove torx screws from hard drive

Remove the four torx screws attached to the hard drive and set them aside. You'll need a torx-head screwdriver for this part.

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Remove the tape

There's a handy little piece of tape attached to the hard drive. Remove that and reserve it for your SSD -- it'll help you easily remove the SSD in the future.

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Bye-bye, hard drive

At this point, you can store your hard drive away or turn it into an external hard drive.

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Grab your SSD

It's time to install the SSD. For my project, I used Samsung's 740 Evo. This year's model is the highly-rated Samsung 840 Evo.

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Replace the torx screws

Replace the four torx screws you removed from the old drive.

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Adhere the tape

Adhere the tape you removed from the old drive, which will make it easy to remove the SSD in the future.

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Attach the connector to the SSD

Carefully reattach the connector. Always grab it by the connector, not the ribbon.

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Secure the bracket and replace the cover

Finally, secure the bracket and replace the bottom cover.

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Take the SSD for a spin

You're set! Turn on your computer, and give it a few moments while it gets acquainted with your new drive. If you did everything correctly, your computer will launch as usual, but it will perform a whole lot better.

Check out the video and blog post for this Mac Monday project.

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