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My Macbook from Middle School: Still Kickin' It

Sarah Barsch -

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2009

Story image

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody Mid 2009 Hard Drive Cable Replacement

1 hour


My Problem

It was the first week of October. Cal Poly's notoriously soul crushing quarter system was in full swing: lab report today, quiz tomorrow, lab report the next day. There was no time for a technological meltdown. But one fateful afternoon, my 2009 MacBook Pro that helped me write the book reports of middle school, the critical research papers of high school, and the never ending stream of lab reports I have to produce in college, decided enough was enough. He was done. I was destroyed. This anthropomorphism of my laptop may be very unscientific, but how can one not personify the piece of technology that submitted their first college applications?

As a wildlife biology major, technology is not a strength. In fact, my technology etiquette is borderline concerning. So when I restarted my MacBook and was greeted with a window informing me that all my data files had been misplaced and none of my applications could be booted, a wave of helplessness and desperation came over me.

So, I went to the Apple store in hopes that a "genius" could assist me, but was turned away. They obviously didn't understand that this was a life or death situation. Next, I set up a phone call with Apple Customer "Support," where they told me that my 2009 MacBook Pro running on Yosemite OS X was obsolete and my only option was to drop another 2K on a new MacBook.

No. I refused.

My Fix

After frustrating interactions with Apple employees and too many days spent waiting for a computer in Cal Poly's library, I consulted iFixit's website. A far more knowledgable friend suggested checking the hard drive cable; I hesitantly gave it a shot:

With the help of the iFixit tools (a.k.a. the handiest little screw driving, prying magic wands EVER), I unscrewed the back (ah scary), disconnected the battery (even scarier), removed the hard drive bracket, and pulled out the hard drive (I'm basically doing open-heart surgery), disconnected the cable, replaced the cable with a shiny new one from iFixit, and put it all back together. By the way, I didn't breathe the entire time.

Now the moment of truth: I turned on my laptop and ....there they were!!!! My files! My middle school book reports, my college applications, and MY LAB REPORTS. I took a long overdue exhale. That wasn't so was actually kind of really fun!

My Advice

Even if you think you don't know anything about technology, you are entirely capable of fixing your own computer. There is no need feel helpless and a slave to the vicious technology consuming cycle. You don't have to spend 2K on a new laptop every few years. You can have a laptop for 9 years and it can still function perfectly well, and you can announce that old age with pride. I do. I think it's awesome.

The feeling of accomplishment I felt from successfully fixing my own computer was right up there with climbing my first bigish wall in Yosemite, and it turns out, fixing your own laptop is way easier than climbing 1,100 feet. I certainly didn't believe that before my repair.

With an ifixit repair guide, you can be your own Apple genius, not to mention it is way less expensive, way more sustainable, and so much more gratifying.

MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2009-Mid 2010) Hard Drive Cable Image
MacBook Pro 13" Unibody (Mid 2009-Mid 2010) Hard Drive Cable


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One Comment

I was running a Dell D630 for a few months, which came from city surplus, that thing is now about 11-12 years old and still going on strong as a hackintosh. Now I’m on a Latitude E6430 which came from e-bay with a broken hinge, and a motherboard which shortly after getting it, bricked itself. I disassembled the entire thing, replaced the case and Motherboard, which by the way involved taking everything off of the base case, and after that, I had a fully functioning 5-6 year old laptop.

Robinton Santos - Reply

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