How to replace the internal hard-drive in an Imation Apollo 500GB 2.5″ portable hard-drive
A few months ago I got an Apollo 500GB 2.5″ portable hard-drive from Imation. It’s nice and compact and I used it to store movies, music and other random crap. About a month ago I was trying to copy a few files onto the device when I noticed that operation was extremely slow. It was so slow that it was pretty much unusable. I wanted to test it out and see what the problem was, but I got busy with work and also my parents were visiting and so I was flying to California almost every weekend. When I finally got around to testing it out, I found that I couldn’t even mount the drive properly now. I could neither do it in Windows 7 nor in Ubuntu 9.04. Ubuntu would recognize the drive and it also saw that there was a partition on there, but other than that it wouldn’t do anything. I tried to use gparted to format it, but it wouldn’t even show up there. In Windows 7, I used Computer Management and when to Drive Manager. Intially the drive wouldn’t show up, but after unmounting and remounting it a few times, it finally showed up. I deleted the existing partition, made a new one, and then tried to format it. The format never finished; it was taking far too long. I then tried to format it in Ubuntu and this time gparted saw the drive, but it was unable to format it as well. I suspected that it might have some hardware issues (which is strange, because it’s not like I used it in a rough manner. Imation should probably make their drives tougher!) and so I tried to run some SMART tests on it. Ubuntu’s smartmontools doesn’t support USB drives. But on Windows, I used a trial version of ArgusMonitor to test the drive. As I suspected, there were a whole bunch of errors. Many sectors were unreadable and Argus suggested that I back-up all data immediately. I didn’t have much data on there anyway and so I figured the drive was pretty much toast. Then for kicks I wondered if I could replace the internal hard-drive. It’s basically a 2.5″ SATA hard-drive and I had an extra one lying around, and so I decided to see if I could replace the hard-drive.
The first step, obviously, is to disassemble the drive. This was actually a little difficult. I should point out right now that if you decide to go ahead with this, you’re probably voiding your warranty. Please don’t hold me responsible for any damage that you might do to your drive. Also, you might end up scratching the exterior a bit (especially along the chrome edges). It’s not that noticeable unless you examine the disk closely.