Yesterday I finally had the courage to start a thing I have been meaning to do for weeks: change the hard drive in one of the lab’s laptops. The laptop is an iBook G4, and the hard-drive died this spring, so we ordered a spare one, the only problem was installing it. While changing a hard-drive in a desktop can be done in minutes, or seconds, if you have a nice enclosure, changing the hard drive is quite different in a laptop.
In the case of the iBook G4, this implied removing the following elements:
- Memory shield
- Front shell (which includes power button, trackpad and loudspeakers)
- Back shell
- Front shield
- Back shield
- AC board
All these elements are held by different screws, so I had to work with a check list and one handy box from the 100¥ shop with a lot of little compartements (visible in the right part of the photo). Interestingly, some parts were also held by magnets, which is new to me. I still managed to put back some elements in the right order, to undo part of the re-assembly twice, but lo and behold, the new hard drive works, and the iBook is now happilly installing the operating system.
I must say the level of integration you see in laptops nowadays is amazing. I remember adding an ethernet board to my Mac SE/30, the task was also very delicate, but the components themselves were huge and the internal design was much more messy. One the other hand, in the inside of the shell, you had the signatures of all the people who had designed the machine. Nowadays, I doubt there would be enought space to put all the names…