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I have a 500 GB hard drive, and I need more space - I want to go up to 1TB of space.

Is it possible to swap out hard drives and carry all my installed software, documents, images, settings, etc. over to the new hard drive?

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In addition to the two excellent answers you have, you should also be aware of drive heights. Most 2.5" SATA laptop drives are 9.5 mm tall (with two drive platters), but some higher-capacity drives are 12.5 mm tall (to fit three drive platters) and may not fit in your laptop. –  CajunLuke Jul 16 '12 at 19:19

2 Answers 2

Yes, it is possible!

Word of warning if you are using Adobe products: do remember to deactivate them before moving to the new disk and running their software; you may need to do this with other software that has stringent licensing requirements.

Otherwise, all you need to do is:

  1. External 2.5" USB, FireWire, etc. to SATA enclosure (or the equivalent adapter).
  2. Disk imaging software such as Carbon Copy Cloner.
  3. Connect new drive externally.
  4. Copy from your current drive to the new one.
  5. Remove the old drive and replace it with the new one with a copy of all your data.
  6. Boot up and enjoy!
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You can make an exact copy of your internal HD via Carbon Copy Cloner (freeware). I recommend that you first check your MacBook Pro Model if you can use a standard 2,5" SATA HD. Then you just have to:

  1. Buy an external 2,5" drive case in which you install the 1 TB HD first. (Or some other way to connect an internal drive to your computer's external ports, i.e. a USB to SATA adapter.)
  2. Then connect it, start up Carbon Copy Cloner and transfer all the files (this will be slow - about 5 hours for 200 GB).
  3. Physically switch the internal 500 GB Drive with the external 1 TB.
  4. Start your MacBook Pro as usual.

For disassembling your MacBook Pro you should check out several model-specific Guides you can find f.e. at iFixit.com.

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