Friday, September 17, 2010

MacBook Salvage

My 1st generation 13" MacBook is over 4 years old. I wrote my PhD thesis on it, and it has thus served me well. Since I bought my iMac in June, I've been neglecting my MacBook, so I decided it was time to do a little housekeeping to try to get the little guy performing again.

First, I deleted 2/3 of my music library. I had about 60,000 songs. Many of them I don't even like, and even more I had never listened to. Besides, I have the complete library on my iMac, and there's no reason to carry around all that stuff. That felt pretty good.

Next, I cloned my hard drive (which doesn't inclue my media-- that's on a separate partition). I had also made a Time Machine backup before doing all of this.

Third, I made a bootable USB partition with the Snow Leopard install disk. This is the disk that came with my iMac. I had to do this because the MacBook optical drive doesn't work anymore. (That happened before, and I had it replaced while it was still under warranty.)

Fourth, I removed the optical drive. I have a couple of screws leftover, but I'm not too worried about it. The good news is that the computer no longer makes that loud noise when it wakes up and turns on. The fan still makes some noise though. After doing this, I booted up, just to make sure I didn't totally wreck something when I opened up the box. It was fine.

Finally, I restarted using the bootable install disk. Except I got this message: "Mac OS X can't be installed on this computer." Real informative, huh? I'm not sure if it's because I'm using the disk that came with another computer, or what, but I guess I'm stuck with my old friend Leopard. The problem is I was really hoping for a clean install, so that I could delete a lot of the bloat that has accumulated.

Oh well, I hardly ever use it anymore anyway. I'll probably stick with it until it becomes unbearable (and I really need to travel with it), and then get something new. Here's what's wrong with it:

  • No optical drive

  • Processor runs hot

  • Replacement battery is OK; original one lasts only about 20 minutes

  • Cracks in the plastic casing

  • Trackpad sometimes doesn't click

  • Trackpad button never clicks

  • Airport card needs TLC to get optimal connection

  • Can't install snow leopard

  • Has to think too hard about what I'm typing; sometimes decides to switch windows while I'm typing

So yeah, don't be too surprised if I replace this guy soon. I'm hoping to wait until next year to replace it though.

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