I’m grateful that no one has had reason to sue me for malpractice, like, as Adam put it this evening, “implanting the wrong knee—er, hard disk—in their Mac.” Today has been a day of surgeries nonetheless, one of them not yet complete, and I may be preparing for another one next week.

Adam hired me to replace his hard disk today. At my recommendation, he purchased an OWC 240 GB Mercury 3G SSD to replace his first-generation Unibody MacBook’s 160 GB hard disk that was almost completely full and causing major system slowness.

Due to the changed design of the aluminum Unibody series, physically swapping storage drives is the easy part. Even installing OS X on the new SSD was quite fast at only about 25 minutes. I noted that the OS X installer has gotten quite good at estimating installation time. However, the tedious part was data migration.

I had the old disk connected with my NewerTech Universal Drive Adapter, a USB device that enables bare drives to connect to computers by USB for things like repair and transferring files. Sadly, Apple’s Migration Assistant is very poor at estimating time remaining and went up and down between one and four hours for much of the four-hour span that it ultimately took.

I was able to go home for a few hours in between and return to help Adam get set up the rest of the way. While home, I tackled two other MacBooks, Zelig’s previous Mac, a 2007 MacBook Pro, and Flora’s 2008 MacBook.

The latter has a bad inverter that needs to be replaced and I began the process of taking it apart. When Adam called to say his Mac was back, I did a most speedy take-apart of the MacBook Pro to swap the hard disk and memory with Flora’s MacBook so she could use the former while hers is under anesthesia—which will probably be several more days.

After a trip back to Adam’s where I briefed him on a few new things and encouraged him to have me back another time for some email cleanup, I returned home to finish the dismantling of the MacBook. I think I’ve never so thoroughly taken apart a laptop before. The display inverter is so well hidden!

Not having looked at the full repair guide before starting, I had originally considered that I would just check out the display cable and inverter situation and put it back together until Flora buys the replacement part. After experiencing all 46 steps in two sittings, I’m definitely leaving it alone until I have a replacement inverter to install. Thanks iFixit for your 54 Bit Driver Kit and NewerTech for your iSesamo, both essential for this repair.

If your Mac has a damaged screen, I won’t offer to replace it, however I’m happy to work on just about any other commonly upgraded or replaced part, including memory, storage, optical drives, and more. For most of these repairs, please expect a 30–90 minute procedure for the hardware alone. (As noted above, data transfer may take a while.) If you’re curious about what is involved, I encourage you to browse the excellent repair guide series produced by iFixit.