Ask Max: Apple MacBook Buying Advice
I'm helping out a friend who has a Early 2008 13" MacBook (W88340KK0P2). The track pad stopped working. Since she is very dependent on this machine, and the fact that running Quicken (under Rosetta) is very important to her, I thought I'd get her set up with the newest replacement machine possible that is just like her old one. I'll then look into fixing her original which could then become her warm spare.
I've got a bootable copy of her system using SuperDuper. She's currently running 10.5.8 (9L30). The goal would be to simply restore her system to the replacement machine.
We're looking at the newer 13" MacBooks. I was thinking a mid 2009 would be a safe choice for the latest possible machine, since the original OS was 10.5.7. If I understand this article it seems like I shouldn't have any problems since her current OS is newer than what the mid-2009 shipped with.
First, pull the battery from the 2008 MacBook and see if the trackpad resumes working. I've had a number of calls lately resulting from a swollen battery pressing up against the trackpad mechanism from that generation of MacBooks. In fact, I had the same problem with my Macbook Pro (Late 2008) in 2011. I even cracked my trackpad in a fit of frustration. After realizing it was the battery, I replaced that and the trackpad worked great again, spiderweb crack and all. To this day in 2015 it still works great.
If the issue is a swollen battery then it may be as easy as replacing the battery, then she can resume working again.
As for a potential replacement unit, you can use your duplicate drive image. Instead of "duping" back to a new unit, use the Migration Assistant. This way, you can go up to 10.6.8 and still retain Rosetta functionality. From there, you can even upgrade to the latest OS, unless her Quicken won't run on it. Be sure to check compatibility with any important software.
Stay away from duplicating the system, as it might lack some of the support for newer hardware and video chipsets.
As always, it is recommended that you back up your system. With Apple's Time Machine, it's very simple to set up. After this set up, your computer backs up your system every hour, so you will always have a recent backup. Using Migration Assistant, you can also set up a new(er) machine using this Time Machine backup. It's the way to go.
Hope this helps.