5 - 30 minutes
After 8 years of great service, my laptop was in desperate need of a major overhaul both in terms of RAM and storage. The old 160GB HD experienced a breaking of certain sectors and was no longer operational.
Once I did my homework researching for the right replacement HD, I went ahead and studied the best way to approach the surgical procedure on an 8-year old "Vintage" machine as the Apple guys call my machine. I was nervous but excited at the same time; once I ordered the HD from IFIXIT, I knew there was no turning back. The replacement part arrived right after Halloween, as it was a sign from the underworld, to give new life to my always-reliable machine ;) I used a nice tutorial video that allowed me put my new toolkit to good use . It took me a solid hour to disassemble the laptop, remove and replace the HD, reboot using a boot usb drive with the OS X version I needed and boom!, download the new version of "El Capitan" onto the new 500GB HD. Now, I'm sharing this success story from my super-fast laptop, it feels like driving a classic car with a brand new motor and transmission!
Check and double check the part you are acquiring online fits the model of your intended recipient.
Make sure you go through a good number of reviews for the part to establish your own opinion before purchasing.
Look for a reputable vendor that has parts in stock and that offers good pricing and tech support options.
Study tutorial videos on the procedure you are about to perform, on similar machines -if possible, and determine best practices along with the right tools needed for the job.