So the other day I decided to upgrade my hard drive. The ol’ 60 gig was getting cramped, and I was tired of removing stuff to make room for other stuff. I wanted my iTunes library back, among other things….

The tricky part is that I’m talking about my laptop, not a tower.

So first things first: If you ever plan on disassembling a laptop computer, go online first and find instructions — hopefully instructions for your specific model of computer. I was dealing with an old Mac Powerbook, and as Macs have some pretty obsessive fans, you can almost certainly find such a guide for any particular model. I did.

Next: before you start, read all of the directions.

No, really. Put the screwdriver down. Yes, you. Read the directions. All of them. Don’t you look at me like that. Read!

Why yes, Step five really does contain the words “This is scary”. Take a deep breath — It’s going to be okay. Yes, that is a lot of screws, and yes, you have to remove them all. Just keep track of what you remove from where. What do you mean you don’t have a screwdriver that small? What kind of geek are you, anyway?

You need a what? What the hell is a T6 torx screwdriver? Oh, those little star-shaped things? People actually use those? Where do you get one? (Answer: Home Depot or, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, Microcenter. See? Aren’t you glad you read the directions first?)

Two Words: Don’t sneeze.

It helps to have a good toolkit. For example, if you drop a screw, you’re going to need a skinny tweezers or a nosepicker1.

The really scary part is where you have to crack the two halves of the case apart. Some sections part easily, but others are quite happy where they are, thankyouverymuch. Screws are completely straightforward — prying something apart when you’re not sure what exactly is holding it together can be intimidating. Take your time, it’ll come.

Okay, we’re down to the drive. This is the easy part. Remove the bracket, pull out the plug. Good. Good. New one is in. Oh good, it does fit.

And the last step of course, is: “Now do everything you just did, but backwards (and in high heels)2.”

Finally, when you get everything back together, just plug in your backup drive, boot from that and restore it to the new drive.

Um, you did make a backup, right?

Oh crap.

1: You know, one of those things with the plunger at the end, and when you press it down these three prongs flex out of the tip — for grabbing small objects in tight places

2: Ginger Rogers joke. Sorry.

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