MacBook Pro 17" Models A1151 A1212 A1229 and A1261 Hard Drive Replacement

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

Replace the hard drive in your MacBook Pro 17" Model A1151, A1212, A1229, or A1261.

  • Author: iRobot
  • Difficulty: Moderate

You can install hard drives up to 9.5mm thick.

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Edit Step 1 Battery  ¶ 

  • Use your fingers to push both battery release tabs away from the battery and lift the battery out of the computer.

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Edit Step 2 RAM Shield  ¶ 

  • Remove the four identical Phillips 3mm screws from the memory door.

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • Lift the memory door up enough to get a grip on it, and slide it toward you, pulling it away from the casing.

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Edit Step 4 Upper Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the three Phillips screws in the battery compartment near the latch. Apple was nice enough to tilt these screws at a slight angle to make them easier to remove.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Remove the following six screws:

    • Two T6 Torx screws on either side of the RAM slot.

    • Four Phillips screws along the hinge.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Remove the four Phillips screws on the port side of the computer.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees and remove the two Phillips screws from the rear of the computer.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Rotate the computer 90 degrees again and remove the four Phillips screws from the side of the computer.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • Do not yank the upper case off quickly. The case is attached to the logic board via a ribbon cable.

  • Lift up the back of the case and work your fingers along the sides, freeing the case as you go. Once you have freed the sides, you may need to rock the case up and down to free the front of the upper case.

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Edit Step 10  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the trackpad and keyboard ribbon cable from the logic board.

  • Remove the upper case.

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Edit Step 11 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Peel up the orange ribbon cable taped to the top of the hard drive. This cable is still connected to the hard drive, so you will only be able to lift up on the cable a little.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Remove the two T6 Torx screws securing the hard drive retaining bracket to the lower case.

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Edit Step 13  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive retaining bracket up and out of the computer.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Lift the hard drive by tilting it from the right hand side, then lift it gently out of the lower case.

  • If present, remove the piece of tape holding the hard drive connector in its socket on the hard drive.

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Edit Step 15  ¶ 

  • Disconnect the hard drive cable by pulling its connector away from the hard drive.

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Edit Step 16 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Remove the two silver T6 Torx screws and white (or black) rubber bumpers from the right side of the hard drive.

  • You'll need to transfer these screws and bumpers to your new hard drive if you're changing drives. Make sure to put these on the right side of the drive when looking at the label with the SATA connector at the far end.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Remove the two silver T6 Torx screws from the left side of the hard drive (the rubber bumpers remain in the case for the left side of the drive)

  • You'll need to transfer these screws to your new hard drive if you're changing drives.

  • If you are installing a new hard drive, we have an OS X install guide to get you up and running.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the MacBook Pro 17" Models A1151 A1212 A1229 and A1261 device page.

Required Tools


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

T6 Torx Screwdriver

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T6 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

On my A1212, all four rubber bumpers were attached to the hard drive.

michael leahy, · Reply

While this is listed as moderate difficulty, I think it's on the easy side of moderate. If you're used to replacing PC parts, it won't be a problem. Worst problem is dealing with tiny screws with my big hands. I used SuperDuper to clone the drive before swapping.

glenthompson, · Reply

Actually, you can install hard drives up to 12mm thick

spsantos, · Reply

Actually the tools you only need are the T6-Torx and the Phillips screwdrivers. Everything else is optional for this operation. By the way: thank you, for the guidance! :)

azolee1848, · Reply

Before upgrading to a larger HD, you'll want to "clone" your original HD using the donation-ware program "Carbon Copy Cloner" ( Put the new HD in an external case; clone the original; test the clone (by starting up with it), then take apart the MacBook to put the new HD in the MacBook, and the original in the external case for use as a backup, etc. (You can't just drag the contents of the original HD to the new HD, and expect it to work; not since the days of OS 9 and before.)

amiller770, · Reply

Can I put more than two gigabytes of RAM in?

Noah Nsangou, · Reply

I made the mistake of wanting to do a clean install of OS and start fresh after installing a SSD. Now I can't install most browsers on OSX Leopard. Does anyone know what is the most current version of OS I can put on this system? (disk or download) Can I get to Snow or Lion?

2006 17" MackBook Pro Model#A1151

2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo

Memory: Two 1GB 667 MHz

Hard Drive: Corsair Force GS: SSD 128GB

scannon, · Reply

Note for re-assembly: For the hinge use the longest four Phillips screws.

R L, · Reply

The Philips screws in Step 5 are longer than the other Philips screws. Would be better if the instructions differentiated them. Otherwise it is possible to use the wrong screws in Step 7 when reassembling.

Alex, · Reply

When reassembling, please be careful not to screw into the wrong spot. I accidentally screwed into the DVI port and it was hard to remove the screw after that. I had to disassemble the whole thing again, only to find that I couldn't remove the screw from within as it was encased. After much scraping and prodding with a sewing needle, I was able to get that screw out. Phew!

isotope434, · Reply

Screw on the right is shorter

mikefal, · Reply

The screws on mine were exactly the same size.

Quote from mikefal:

Screw on the right is shorter

giby, · Reply

What are these two screws called?

ian, · Reply

WOW this step is very hard!!! its a serious suction cup..

nya, · Reply

Once the upper case is free...Carefully tilt the upper case from the front towards the screen as their is a ribbon cable directly beneath the keyboard and trackpad that will need to be removed in the next step.

Troy, · Reply

Be very careful not to bend the screw tabs on the top case the perimeter screws attach to. Bending them causes them to quickly fatigue and potentially break off. When reassembling the top case, be sure the tabs are all *inside* the case before reseating it. If you get resistance, pull the case back up, check the tabs and reseat the top case again.

Sheldon Carpenter, · Reply

Disconnecting this cable is optional, if instead you tip up the top case ~75 degrees, propping it up with something non-metalic (wedged in or by the battery compartment). Unplugging a connector from the main circuit board always carries slight additional risk.

amiller770, · Reply

It's not really necessary to disconnect the trackboard/keyboard ribbon cable. You can simply lean the upper case against the LCD.

Russ Greene, · Reply

how reconnect this cable?

anatole, · Reply

Tape is on the top and bottom of the HD.

amiller770, · Reply

Note that the tape could be present on both sides of the drive...Be sure to check the underside of the drive as well.

Troy, · Reply

hah! After yanking on my SATA cable for a good 5 minutes, did I notice the tape on the bottom. Thanks,


Note that the tape could be present on both sides of the drive..Be sure to check the underside as well.

Troy, · Reply

On some models there is tape holding the connector onto the drive. You will need to carefully remove this before the connector can be detached.

Paul Kroitor, · Reply

Care should be taken to avoid squeezing the hard drive cover (especially in the area over the platters). It is best to only hold it edgewise and never as shown in the photos.

Vernon Johnson, · Reply

HELP! My enclosure does Not just slip off or anything when i remove the 4 screws!!!!!!

Brandon William, · Reply

Its not supposed to. Just the screws and the bumper.


Don't forget, new drives need to have a partition created on them before it being recognized by the mac for OSX installation. Boot the installation CD and when it loads, select "Disk Utility" and create a new partition, then it will recognize and show the hard disk so you may select it for installation of OSX.

theonlyexpert, · Reply

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