Macbook Pro Hard Drive : S.M.A.R.T. is Failing!

by Eric Pena on September 15, 2009

S.M.A.R.T. Status

I was about ready to upgrade my 15″ Macbook Pro from Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard when the Disk Utility on the OS displayed the name of my hard disk drive in red letters. Sure enough, the S.M.A.R.T Status indicator says “Failing”.

Immediately, the first thing to do is to backup your drive. There’s not much you can do about it but wait for the inevitable that is guaranteed soon to happen. Since I don’t have an external drive to hold around 100 Gb of files, I used my PC/Hackintosh to backup my entire drive over the network to a disk where Windows 7 is installed.

These are the list of things I used to backup my MBP:

  • SuperDuper! – backup software for Mac.
  • PC/Hackintosh – to store the backup “sparseimage” file created from SuperDuper.

It is better if you have an external USB/Firewire drive lying around with a large enough space to hold your Mac files since SuperDuper can make a Bootable clone copy of your Mac drive on it instead of just a sparseimage file. Make sure the external drive is formatted with Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and GUID Partition.

Backup Your Files With SuperDuper!

1. Buy or download a free trial of SuperDuper.
2. Open SuperDuper and select your source (drive) and destination (sparseimage).
3. Select the Image Type (Sparse Image or Sparse Bundle) based on your Mac OS version.


4. Click Copy Now. This will create a sparseimage file on the target drive.

Now that you have safely cloned your Mac drive, it’s time to buy a new hard disk drive. Most 2.5″ notebook drives are compatible on a MacBook or MacBook Pro but it’s better to do a little research just to make sure. I decided to upgrade my 120 Gb, 5400 RPM hard disk to a larger capacity and faster RPM so I bought a 320 Gb 2.5″ Seagate Momentus 7200.4 SATA drive.

Replacing the Hard Drive on a MacBook Pro

My warranty has already expired so I took the task of replacing the hard drive myself. Besides, it has saved me time, money and trouble by not bringing it to a Mac service center where it would normally take a week to get it done, getting charge more for the replacement drive and service fee, plus the possibility of some damage to your hardware or files (I heard enough horror stories!).

If you have an external 2.5″ HDD SATA enclosure, you can first install your new drive in it, connect it to your MBP and use SuperDuper to make a Bootable clone copy on your new drive before replacing your old drive.

Prepare the things you need:

  • Phillips Screwdriver #00
  • Torx Screwdriver T6
  • 2.5″ Seagate Momentus SATA Drive


Any of those great tutorials above will help you easily replace your failing drive with a new one. Check them out first before proceeding and make sure you got the right model.

In my next post, I will be discussing how I restored my files on the new drive and updated my OS from Leopard to Snow Leopard using an image file.

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