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Changing the internal hard disk of a Mac Mini

(As usual, I cannot be responsible for any damage to your machines when you will experiment the following tutorial.)

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 to boot!

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 .


The connector 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 the motherboard) an the mezzanin connector (female to receive the airport+BT craddle) on the motherboard again .


The motherboard.


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.


Three cruciform screws ... Philips 1 because my Philips 0 screwdriver does not work.


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 cables!


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 cables!


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 minutes.

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