Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Earlier, I showed the unboxing of the OWC data doubler and OWC 60GB SSD. I have since installed it and enjoying the full fruits of running the SSD in the MacBook Pro. The start up is fast, the launching of applications are amazingly quick and yes even the bloated Microsoft Office in Mac (Outlook, Excel) launched very quickly. I love it.

So let’s share the steps involved. There are many resources on the internet but I want to make sure I give FULL credits to the applelifetv article here. It is a brilliantly written and as long as you follow the steps, u are going to enjoy it.

One other thing. Since I have decided that the SSD is just to hold the operating system, I seriously dun need such a big SSD and hence can save cost. How do you know what size to get for the SSD ? Here’s a tip from the internet (the “I” here refer to the writer of the tip, not me :p)….

To get the space requirements for your SSD, select your drive and “Get Info” to see how much space is used (make sure to empty the trash first!). Now check how much space is being used by the User folder(s) on your computer. The difference between the two is all the system files and applications that you will want to put on the SSD. The Users folders themselves can go on the HDD.

As an example, I was using about 300 GB on my HDD. The Applications (including CS5 and Xcode), root Library and System folders take up about 53 GB of space. My Home folder takes up about 240 GB (and my iTunes Media is on a network share). I wanted enough room for my system files and applications on the SSD, and some room left over for a portion of my user files so that these frequently used files would benefit from the speed of the SSD.

I bought a 60GB SSD from OWC. End of day, I am trying to balance between cost and the fact that my MacBook Pro is not so new and hence no need to spend too much on it either.. so I am happy with a small SSD to hold OS and using back the original hard disk for the “data”. If I need more space for data, the upgrade to a newer bigger 2.5″ hard disk is very affordable. Your choice :)

So let’s start….

First, of course, u need to remove the optical drive and install the SSD into the Macbook Pro. The Data Doubler kit contained a good instruction manual and some people used it. For me, I prefer the online video here: Adding a 2nd Hard Drive to a 13″ MacBook Pro (Mid-2009) with an OWC Data Doubler.

Other than nearly dropping a screw into the insides of the MacBook Pro and mixing up the screws here and there, I generally survived it. That’s a lot to say for an completely “un-IT hands” person :)

Just showing some pics of the process as this is NOT meant to be a step by step instructional blog. You should follow the Youtube video.

MacBook Pro BEFORE:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

MacBook Pro AFTER:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Data Doubler Before:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Data Doubler After:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Now, that you have replaced the optical drive, you should then boot up and then follow the instructions here in the applelifetv article here.

My 60GB SSD upon boot up. It is in the FINDER but just not formatted.
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Formatting it.
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

After formatting, use Carbon Copy Cloner (and you should really donate to the person since it is a great software…) to copy the original hard disk to the new OWC SSD
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

However, you DO NOT want to copy your HOME folder. I repeat.. uncheck your home folder to avoid copying them to your SSD. The idea here is to use SSD for OS (hence, you are copying the OS specific files in the 3 folders (Applications, Library, Systems and also the SHARED USERS folder) and keep your remaining HOME folder (containing your user specific files) in the HDD.

For example, my settings:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Do not worry if Carbon Copy Cloner told you that there is not enough space. Just go ahead. The whole process took me about 33 mins.
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Rebooting, and then pressing OPTION button while re-starting gives you two different disk to boot up from:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Boot up with the SSD and you will notice the screen looks like a default fresh new MacBook Pro:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

It is because the OS does not know all your settings etc. The next step is important: You need to tell the OS where your home directory is. To do this go into System Preferences, the into Users. Click the padlock and enter your password. Control click your user account and you’re presented with the screen to change your Home Directory. Change that to your old MacBook Pro hard disk so that the OS now knows that the home directory data are all in the original hard disk and not the new booted up SSD hard disk. Read this article for great information. Also take the chance to change your start up disk to the new SSD hard disk.

Reboot and you are happily enjoying your new SSD. There is one more step though. Once you played around and is comfortable, you can go ahead and DELETE all the old OS folders in the original hard disk (leaving only the User folder).

Now, this is the hard disk space size for my two hard disks after all the steps.
Original Hard Disk:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

New OWC Hard Disk:
Adding the OWC SSD to MacBook Pro and Steps After

Also this is optional, but I did it. Some internet forums also suggested that you create a backup admin account (e.g. OWCadmin) in the SSD itself. Now since you have moved your user account (and most likely this is the only “admin” level account you have in your MacBook Pro), it is also good to create a backup “admin” level account in the SSD. This is just in case something goes wrong with the hard disk and you can still log on to your MacBook Pro with the backup admin account. This is totally up to you.

It has been a great adventure for someone like me to research about this, buy the product (of course, that’s my favourite part.. ha ha) and then taking a deep breathe and then with shaky hands, did the removal of the optical drive and the installation of the SSD. And the post-installation backup and configuration changes.

I totally enjoyed it and highly recommend you to do so to give your MacBook Pro a new lease of life…

Till I can afford the new MacBook Air or the rumoured 13inch “Air-thin” MacBook Pro

And Tell me your Thoughts