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Ask Max: Replacing the Hard Drive and RAM in an iBook

Asked on 06/21/2006:

I need help replacing the hard drive and adding memory in my white iBook. If you know of any websites that can help me (preferably step by step w/ pictures), please let me know. The stats are G3 400-500 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 15 GB HD and OS 9.2.2. I have an 80 GB hard drive and 256 MB RAM to upgrade it, as well as OS upgrade to 10.2.8. Right now, it is freezing randomly; and giving me the message that there are problems with the hard drive. Sometimes, upon start up, I will get a message in effect to this: system error: virtual memory I/O error (something to this effect) and I am asked to restart with the extension turned off. I can get in when I restart with the extensions off, but then I can't use my printer and it will not allow me to reinstall it. Also, the hard drive makes noises (that indicated to me that there are problems and it needs to be replaced). I have done the usual: run disk first aid; clean installation; zapped p-ram; rebuilt desktop (that's the extent of my knowledge of troubleshooting). However, once I remove the battery pack for little while, and upon replacing it and restart, I am able to use the iBook for a time w/out any problems. This is my main 'work' computer and it is loaded with years of very important data. I don't want to lose any of it. I have backed up my important files for now. So any assistance from you would be greatly appreciated.


I would like to say first that iBooks are notoriously difficult to take apart. Near every screw is a different size and putting the wrong screw in certain places will destroy your iBook. It will be better to take it to an authorized Apple repair center. RAM is far easier to install. Flip open the keyboard by sliding the two spring loaded latches toward the front of the iBook. The latches are between the keys on the keyboard's top row. The latches have ridges in the centers. The keyboard should flip open to cover the track pad. The RAM is installed below the Airport card, so remove the Airport card if you have one installed. Now remove the bottom plate of the Airport slot by removing the two screws in the center. You will then be able to see the one and only RAM expansion slot. Make sure the RAM is fully seated in the slot and that the plastic clips are holding it firmly on both sides.

If you are feeling up to the hard drive challenge, here are some links to step-by-step guides.

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