tip : IDE harddrive replacement alternative for iBook G3 & G4

Question :

I am happily using my iBook G4 running MacOSX 10.5 “Leopard”, but it is getting slow because my hard drive is too full. I have looked into buying a new ATA (a.k.a. IDE or PATA) hard drive, but they are rather expensive compared to the current SATA hard drives (mainly in regard to their storage capacity) and they are harder to find as time goes by now… isn’t there any alternative ?

Answer :

Yes ! you do have an interesting alternative…

…it’s far easier to install (you don’t have to open your iBook, which would be quite a hassle)  and you will get lots more GBs of disk capacity for the same price (compared to  IDE-drives) and your iBook will still slide easily in it’s sleeve bag or carrying case…

The solution : get yourself a micro USB-stick !

The type of micro USB-stick I am talking about is any USB-stick similar to the Memorex and Intenso ones, sometimes referred to as “Leave-In” or “Netbook” USB-sticks (which are becoming available in 32GB and 64GB around this time) :



To install :

– just plug in the micro USB-stick in one of the USB-ports

– start up your Mac (or rather : your iBook) and open the Disk Utilities application

– reformat the micro USB-stick to “Mac journaled” format

– then make a complete backup of your Mac (use TimeMachine for instance)

– then copy over all your video (your Video folder), audio (your iTunes folder) and documents (your Documents folder) onto the micro USB-stick

– check if your data has been properly and completely copied, then delete the files from your Mac

– create aliasses (= link-files) of the folders on the micro USB-stick and place those in the original folders where their originals came from (if you’ve done so, you can

– open iTunes pressing the ALT-key and when iTunes ask you where to find your iTunes database, point it towards your micro USB-drive

– that’s it…

Notes :

1- I would normally recommend you to leave just MacOSX and your applications on your internal hard drive, and move all other files onto your micro USB-stick (which reminds some of us to the way a Windows 95 PC would normally be separated into an (C:) and (D:) drive

2- even if your hard drive has crashed, you can use a micro USB-stick to replace your hard drive and use it as your bootable hard drive, by installing MacOSX on it and transferring all your data to it


– to avoid/prevent accidental disconnection of the USB-stick (which might cause serious data-loss), I would recommend to stick a few inches of Scotch-tape over the USB-stick and USB-port

– to be able to neatly place the piece of Scotch-tape, you should take out the iBook’s keyboard for a moment (which is easy to do because of the small keyboard locking sliders on the upper row of keys)



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