Is your old Apple laptop starting to struggle? The loading time is so long that you can go and buy a coffee? If so, it might be time to consider upgrading your main system drive to an inexpensive SSD and getting rid of that useless old DVD drive. If it’s an old Macbook, don’t worry. This lesson will be perfect for you.

We have previously explained how SSDs work. work It’s mostly solid-state memory, which means no moving parts and significantly better performance. Programs will launch much faster, your boot time will be drastically reduced and you will feel like a new machine. Best of all, you won’t sacrifice any storage space, as we’ll put your old drive where the DVD drive was.


Today we will open the laptop, remove the DVD drive and replace it with a hard drive. We will then move the current hard drive to this and place the SSD in the position of the main hard drive. This will result in superior load and application launch times, and who needs a DVD drive these days anyway?

You will need

  • A set of miniature screwdrivers.
  • T6 Torx screwdriver — although you can get away with using a miniature flathead (I did).
  • A small plastic spatula for lifting ribbon cables.
  • An antistatic wrist strap or many heatsinks in contact.
  • SSD — 60GB+ is good, I had about $100 from Amazon, they had the cheapest one.
  • DVD to HDD Converter Kit — Optibay is the best option at $49, but I opted for an even cheaper generic model from eBay that needed a bit of modification to fit properly (I will describe this later) . The best choice is the HardWrk adapter that comes with the tools and an external DVD drive cassette that you will remove.

When buying a DVD cassette, be sure to purchase one that converts the disc SATA to interface PATA, used for the DVD drive on older Macs. Newer Macbook models have SATA connectivity to both, so check your exact model first.


I’m working with a late 2006 Macbook Pro — it’s not a unibody aluminum design. However, this can be done on other Macbook models as well. If you’re using a different model, check out the hard drive and DVD removal guides on

Start by removing the battery through two clips. Then remove the 3 screws holding the memory board in place and slide it out. You can also remove memory, but this is not required.

Unscrew the bottom of the case. There are 4 Phillips screws on the back wall, 2 Torx screws next to the memory and 2 Phillips screws on the inside wall of the battery compartment.

Macbook Pro DVD Swap

Hint: I’m laying out all the removed screws on a kind of mini-chart showing where they should go back — there are different lengths and threads, so it’s important that you don’t mix them up. Use a piece of paper to actually draw the outline of your Macbook and identifying features if that helps.

Macbook Pro DVD Drive

Then remove the screws on the edge of the case; There are four on the left and right sides, as well as two on the back loop.

Turn the machine over and carefully lift the screen. Lifting up from the back, you should now be able to remove the entire keyboard section. However, be very careful with the ribbon cable connected to the motherboard. Don’t lift it so hard that it breaks or you’ll be left with a door. The anterior can be difficult to remove — «wiggling» may be necessary. If possible, carefully remove the ribbon cable from the motherboard using a plastic spatula.

Macbook Pro DVD Drive

Removing the DVD Drive and Hard Drive

There are 4 screws holding the DVD in place — T6 on the top left (next to the cable), 2 tiny Phillips screws on the front and another one on the back.

Macbook Pro DVD Drive

I would also suggest removing the existing hard drive at this point so that we can install the SSD in place of the main drive and the existing drive in the secondary cassette we are now installing. It’s not strictly necessary though — your SSD will work in the new Caddy, but maybe not the best possible performance.

In the following photos, I did not. It wasn’t until after everything was put back together that I realized that the interface for the DVD drive (PATA) might be slower than the actual SATA interface that the main drive is running on. So I reopened it and flipped everything.

To remove an existing drive, first remove the temperature sensor and ribbon cables that are on top. Here you will need a knife or spatula — just try not to tear anything.

MacBook DVD drive

There are only two screws on the left side that hold the drive in place, they hold the metal clamp. Unscrew and pull out the bumper, then pull and lift to the right to remove the drive — don’t forget to carefully unplug the data cable as well. You will notice that the drive has rubber screws to reduce vibration and shock. While your new SSD doesn’t actually vibrate, you should reconfigure it for a secure fit (there is no other way to secure the drive).

Reverse the process to install the new SSD; install the data cable, insert it, clamp it and attach it with adhesive tape to the sensors and the ribbon cable.

Modification of the universal drive Caddy

If you haven’t bought a cheap generic caddy like me, you can skip this step.

As such, the Caddy is a bit too big to fit. To fix this, remove the metal plates on both sides, then unscrew the 1mm thick black plastic panel on the front panel. It will come off clean and you can put the caddy back together.

How to Replace Your Macbook's DVD Drive with an SSD Don't Want a Rim

Before attempting to fit an old drive into the cage, you’ll need to remove the black plastic spacer. Take that out, then put the disc in and slide it until the connection is established, then replace the spacer.


Around the removed DVD drive are 3 metal plates through which it was attached to the Macbook case. Although this is not strictly necessary. You can just «sit» in the case without being safe, but I would recommend that you remove them and attach them to the case.

Macbook Pro DVD Swap

Unfortunately, both the screws that came with the caddy and the original screws that held the plates to the DVD drive didn’t fit. I raided my parts box to grab a few tiny Apple screws and then properly secured the cassette in place where the DVD drive used to be. If you bought the proper kits, then you probably don’t need to look for screws in them.


Close the case in the reverse order you opened it. Replace the motherboard tape and secure the keyboard from the back by inserting the slots into the keyboard first. Close the cover, install the side screws, turn over and reinstall the rear screws. Fix in the memory plate, put the battery back in, and you’re done.

Turn on your Macbook and everything should boot as usual — it will recognize and read your installed OS, which is not in the DVD drive. Your SSD has not yet been formatted.

Once downloaded, you’ll want to enable TRIM on the SSD, as Apple doesn’t enable it by default for non-Apple approved drives. TRIM provides better performance by streamlining the file deletion process and makes significant changes. You can do it with a free utility TRIM Enabler . Just run it, enable TRIM and restart.

The next step is to format the new drive; open disk utility select the drive and format it with a single partition and a normal journaled file system (default) . Just change the name.

Copying data

Since my install was already under 70GB, a quick cleanup of downloads allowed me to get under 60GB and just copy a bootable copy of the entire drive to an SSD using the SuperDuper trial. If that’s not the case, I suggest you temporarily move the data files to an external drive and then copy them back to the new data drive after booting OSX from the SSD. Alternatively, install a fresh copy of OSX (using a USB install or an external DVD drive). There are probably plenty of utilities you don’t really need, and spring cleaning is always great.

If you are sure you are booting from a new drive, you can format the old drive. To be sure, hold down the ALT key at startup — it should show two possible systems to boot. Select the drive you named your SSD and boot from it. If everything goes well, you no longer need the old system drive, so format and use the data.


This procedure is not for the faint of heart. This is not the first time I open it — I already upgraded the main drive to a 500 GB model a few years ago. This time I screwed it all back on and it didn’t turn on. The problem is I forgot to reconnect (or accidentally pulled out) the motherboard ribbon cable. Luckily, there was no damage to the cable, but there were a lot of screws and a lot of work to get it open again. The best rule of thumb before attempting major modifications to a laptop (or any other gadget) is if you can’t afford to break it, don’t do it.

There is also a formatting issue — don’t start deleting any data until you have a full external backup; and don’t forget that everyone is working again to create the right triple backup triple backup solution (in fact, you can use a spare internal drive as a daily backup just in case).

However, if you’re thinking about replacing your Macbook just because it’s slow, this SSD upgrade can really help. The additional drive allows us to minimize costs as only the smallest SSD is required for booting and data can be transferred to a spare drive.

Have problems or questions? Contact us in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer, although obviously I can’t take responsibility if you manage to break something along the way. Be careful people!

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