my Powerbook gets a new disk

My TiBook DVI was down to the last few bytes of its OEM 40GB Travelstar 80GN drive, so I spent the morning swapping it out for a shiny new 80GB Travelstar 5K80. With a little guidance from the Powerbook G4 Hard Drive Upgrade Guide, I was able to quickly crack open the case, pull out the 80GN and pop in the 5K80. Apple used Torx size 8 fasteners to attach the internal and external hardware, so I had to scrounge around for the right driver bit, other than that, there were no surprises. I slid the 80GN into a slick Macally enclosure, jacked it into the FireWire port, and was booting externally off the old disk in no time.

I was then faced with the challenge of moving my bootable UFS file system from the old disk to an 80GB partition on the new one. I found that Carbon Copy Cloner is a popular tool for Mac disk migration, as it's wise to the resource fork meta data on HFS volumes (the default OS X file system format). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to play nice with UFS, so I kept searching for a solution. Eventually I noticed that OS X's Disk Utility provides disk migration support through it's Restore feature, so I gave it a shot and after around 2 hours of transfer time I had a working copy of my volume on the new disk. I found that creating a bootable image of another disk requires that you select Disk Utility's 'Erase Destination' option in the Restore dialog, this forces a block level transfer as opposed to a file level copy. Without selecting this option I was left with a complete copy of the original, but was unable to select it as the startup disk in System Preferences.

So ends the upgrade saga. Now, not only do I have twice the internal storage in a device the size of half a pack of cigarettes, I've got a larger than expected speedup from the new disk's 5400rpm rotational speed and 8MB cache. Here's to the hard disk industry giving Moore's Law a run for its money.

Note: for those interested in OS X internals, Amit Singh has a section on the Mac boot sequence in his excellent article What is Mac OS X? at

September 25, 2004 @ 2:53 PM | Category: Technology


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