Changing the Battery Pack of a Mid 2011 MacBook Air

I recently got a new 13 inch, i5 MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar but I’ll touch on that in greater detail in a separate post. My old MacBook Air was feeling quite sluggish and also the battery couldn’t hold much of a charge anymore so on a recent Saturday, I went over to Golden Computer Center in Sham Shui Po and found a shop that still sells battery packs for the 2011 MacBook Air. If you don’t live in Hong Kong or some other similar urban center that features large computer malls where you can find a wide variety of computer parts, you may have to order a battery on eBay or something similar. Just make sure you’re absolutely sure you get the correct battery for your particular MacBook Air. There have been a few revisions of this computer through the years and I’m not sure if they all use the exact same battery pack.

Once I got home with my loot, I set the Air down on my bench upside down and used one of the two different sized special screw drivers that were conveniently supplied with the new battery pack to unscrew the aluminum panel. I then pried it off. It’s a bit tricky and requires the right combination of finesse and force. Don’t worry about breaking anything. These parts are quite tough.

Next, I disconnected the battery pack’s connecting cable and then carefully lifted the pack out of the computer.

 Then I used the other screwdriver and removed the screws holding the battery pack fastened to the computer’s chassis.  Make sure to handle it with care as it’s quite thin and feels a bit flimsy.

I put the new battery back into the computer, put all the screws in and connected the power cord. Finally, I put the aluminum chassis cover back on and put in all the screws.

That’s it! It was really quite easy! Now I’m back to about 6 hours of battery life under fairly reasonable use. By that, I mean internet browsing, watching YouTube videos, and using Office applications.

I highly recommend this upgrade if your MacBook Air has been showing signs of age and the battery dies too quickly. A battery replacement combined with a fresh OS reinstall and thorough cleaning inside the chassis will make it feel almost like new again. It’s really quite remarkable how well it runs after 6 years if you keep it maintained.

If you’re wondering about how to do a fresh install of MacOS X, you can follow these steps. DO NOT OVERLOOK the first step: backup your data. Then follow all the other steps and it should be really easy. Get it all done and you’ll find that it will have been well worth the time and effort. 🙂


Attempted Update to Windows 10

I’ve got a VPCL148FG Sony Vaio All-in-One Desktop. I purchased it around 5 years ago. It’s got a 3 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 6 GB of RAM, a 1 TB, 7200 RPM HDD, and a 24-inch, 1080p monitor. It’s really quite nice except that it came with a lot of bloatware and the Windows settings weren’t optimised very well. Startup time was initially horrible and it ran sluggish at times. I eventually got around to disabling a lot of the unnecessary startup applications and services as well as outright deleting all of the bloatware. It runs ok now but it can still be better.

After reading about how much faster Windows 10 is supposed to be, I was optimistic that I’d be able to get this computer running even better. A couple weeks ago when I had some free time, I excitedly clicked the Upgrade to Windows 10 prompt in the notification area but was immediately let down when a window popped up, informing me it couldn’t be installed on my computer as the driver for my Nvidia GeForce GT 330M GPU hasn’t yet been updated to work with Windows 10.

Unperturbed, I looked up how to install Windows 10 manually. I found out that you can download a media creation tool from Microsoft’s website that will give you the option to either burn an ISO to install on another computer or to immediately upgrade the computer you’re using.  I proceeded to upgrade and Microsoft’s tool did not object. The rest of the process went smoothly and the upgrade completed but in the end, it was all for not. Since Nvidia’s own driver was incompatible with Windows 10, Windows had just used a generic video driver. Now all the resolution was wrong and everything on the screen was stretched out.

After several more hours of Googling and trying different things, I confirmed that there was no way to fix the video driver problem and reverted back to Windows 7. Thankfully, that was a relatively simple process. If you Google “how to go back to Windows 7 from Windows 10” you’ll find some very clear instructions. Hurray!

It was a bit disappointing that neither Sony nor Nvidia could be bothered to keep the video drivers up to date for a computer that’s only about 5 years old. At least I’ve got it back to Windows 7, have it streamlined as much as possible and it’s running alright. Good enough for now I guess.