How to make a secondhand MacBook work for you

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks when I quit my teaching job and started flying solo. I didn’t think teachers had many perks but when I lost my laptop, iPad, fibre internet, MS Office, Acrobat Pro and a printer I was feeling a little like Job (the guy from the Bible who lost everything).
Just before I finished up I won a CrackBook on trademe, the kiwi version of ebay.

It’s a nice machine, but it’s got a little flaw that makes it much less desirable.

This doesn’t bother me at all. In fact: you can get the flaw fixed for free – and I will. One day.

Anyway: I bought a large, fast hard drive for it. I searched on pricespy and wound up buying from a random outfit in Wellington. When I had both bits together, I:

  • installed snow leopard (SL) onto a portable drive
  • booted the MacBook holding ‘option’ and into SL. This means that I can unmount the MacBook’s hard drive and do stuff to it.
  • Using disc utility I took an image from the MacBook and saved it on my portable drive.
  • I then shut everything down, pulled out the battery and “L plate,” took out the old drive and put the new drive in. (Actually I really messed this up, cut my finger and bled everywhere because I didn’t watch the video properly).
  • Then I booted it off the portable drive again and “restored” then new drive from the old drive’s image.
  • Reboot – this time onto the local drive – and it’s all good.

I’ll leave the bootcamp story for another post.

I guess the question I haven’t really answered is: “why?”

  • The machine is fast enough.
  • I swear the batteries last for much longer than the very cheap toshibas that most teachers in New Zealand get.
  • I wanted Mac so that I can use Garageband, Logic, iMovie. And also have a wireless keyboard and mouse that would basically be going to waste otherwise (you can use them on a PC, but the multi-touch mouse software on a mac is so worth it).
  • I wanted a fast, bigger drive. Most laptops have a 5200rpm drive. The clever thing about a MacBook air is the SSD (solid-state drive). It’s basically a massive usb stick. No moving parts and much faster access time than a 5200 hard drive. A larger 7200rpm is a significant improvement.



Thanks for reading this blog post. I’d really appreciate it if you would:

  • press the ‘like’ button (if you liked it)
  • share it on twitter, myface, spacebook, LinkedIn, or just print it and give to your granny to read.
  • Comment if you agree or disagree.

One Comment to “How to make a secondhand MacBook work for you”

  1. […] More Mac tricks […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.