This morning I was playing around with a few Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop files, and got another of those annoying “Your main hard disk is nearly full” messages. I’ve been getting them for a while, it’s what comes of having a 10Gb primary hard disk. I’ve been moving things to my secondary hard disk (which is also 10Gb), but there are some programs that *insist* on being on the primary disk, so it’s been getting rather crowded. Today, when the message popped up, it was the last straw, and I started investigating how possible an upgrade was. I had a 250Gb external firewire hard disk which wasn’t compatible with my computer, so I decided to open that up and see if I could use the hard disk from there. Out came the screwdrivers…

To my delight, I found that the case concealed a normal ATA hard disk with a small circuit board to link it to the firewire and power source. So a few screws later and all 250 gigs were out and lying on the table. Next job was to figure out how to transfer everything from my primary hard disk across to this new one. I didn’t want to reinstall the operating system and start from scratch, mainly because although I have Tiger installed I only have the disks for Panther. I had a couple of ideas, but I phoned my Dad (who’s worked with Macs for years) and my friend Steve (who owns a Mac and has used Linux for years) to check my plans were cosher. With all that knowledge and experience behind me, I set to work.

Disk Utility is a tool built into the Mac operating system which allows you to do all sorts of useful things with your hard disks. One of the functions it can perform is a Restore, which takes either a hard disk or a disk image (basically a zipped copy of a folder or even a complete hard disk) and puts it onto a destination hard disk. The first step was to the get the big hard disk into the computer, so I temporarily exchanged my secondary hard disk for it and booted the computer up again. The hard disk was recognised, and after a little reformatting it was all ready to go. Unitl I noticed that only 128Gb of it had been formatted. I fiddled, and fiddled, and reformatted, and fiddled some more, but eventually my research brought up that my old Blue & White Mac didn’t actually have the hardware to be able to handle internal hard disks that size, so I could only format the first 128Gb of it. So I shall just have to make do with that. After all, it’s still many times more storage space than I’ve had so far!

The next step was to restore the entirity of the primary hard disk onto the empty hard disk. It all seemed to be going fine, until half way through it stopped with a particularly unhelpful error message – so unhelpful that I can’t even remember what it was. I tried again, but it got no further. A verification of the primary hard disk showed that it had a few errors on it, which meant that I had to boot up from a system CD to put it right. Thankfully it didn’t complain at having a Panther CD put in it, and after a little fiddling around (again) I managed to correct the faults on the primary hard disk. Rebooting back into Tiger, I set about restoring across to the new hard disk again, and thankfully it played ball this time! It took a while to copy across 9Gb of files, but it got there in the end.

The next small hurdle was getting the computer to boot from this new volume. Initially this was no problem, I just told Tiger which volume to boot from and restarted, and it booted perfectly from the new hard disk. However, I then had to take the old hard disk out and put the old secondary drive back in, as that’s where I had all my documents stored. I was expecting problems, and thankfully my pre-emptiveness proved valuable. I left the Panther CD in the drive and switched the machine off, and then took both hard disks out. The jumpers were changed on the 128Gb drive and plugged in as the master drive, and my old secondary hard disk was plugged back in. When I first started up the computer it couldn’t find an operating system, since where it was expecting it to be had changed – the 128Gb drive was now the master, not the slave. However, it found the CD and booted from that, from where I was able to tell it to use the OS on the master drive. A reboot later, and everything is working fine! I’ve checked out a few things, and not come up with any problems so far, which is reassuring. I’m now beginning to copy back onto that drive all my documents from the other drive, and copy all my photos and music that have been stored on my PC to save space on my Mac.

So all being well, everything is sorted now. I have a 128Gb hard disk and a working computer. And I won’t be bothered by that annoying message any more…

In other news, I got a letter from British Gas today saying that we still haven’t paid our bill. Which is utter nonsense because I phoned them only two weeks ago and paid everything off. Unfortunately their phone lines were experiencing technicaly difficulties today, so I’ve been unable to shout at them, so that’ll probably have to wait until Monday. Grrr.

Categories: Miscellaneous


Phill · 22 July 2006 at 11:57 pm

Hard disks can be awful to change round – well done for getting yours working without problems! 🙂

Hertzsprung · 5 August 2006 at 11:45 pm

I’m confused :-S

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