2010 MacBook Pro Thermal Paste Reapplication

Thermal paste is crucial for the proper operation of any modern computer.¬† After a few years, the cheap crud they apply at the factory often dries up or becomes otherwise more harmful than beneficial to keeping your CPU or GPU cool.¬† Sometimes you can see this with a software temperature monitor, other times it won’t seem to run all that much hotter, but simple lock up, reboot (kernel panic, GPU panic), or present graphics corruption.

Mine was “running fine” but would simply reboot with a GPU panic whenever attempting to do something that heated it up.¬† Once hot it was usually fine for a while.¬† Lately it had gotten bad enough that it would reboot in the middle of the night, sleeping and cold.¬† I had no choice but to open it up, remove several screws and a few parts, and redo the paste.¬† ifixit.com has great step by step tutorials with photos and comments from people who have done it.¬† This page is mostly just here to document my photos.¬† This may be my first legit post trying to link several photos on this site.

0723161648 20160723_144808_HDR 0723161422 0723161221a 0723161221 0723161220 0723161219 0723161215b 0723161215a 0723161215 0723161150

Create a bootable USB drive from a DMG file on a Windows box!

Need to reinstall OS X from scratch?  Current install dead and only have a Windows machine handy?  There may still be hope!


Reported to work as of 2013-08-19:

Use TransMac. 15-day trial period and works flawlessly. In the left pane, right click USB Drive >> Format Disk >> Format with Disk Image (see attached screenshot). Point to your .dmg file and click Open.

It will take a few minutes depending on size of .dmg and speed of USB drive, but once done you can pop it into your mac, hold down the option key when turning on the mac and choose the USB drive.


Related: https://github.com/SevenBits/Mac-Linux-USB-Loader/

Find files which will likely be included in your next (Time Machine) backup

Sjors in the ##apple IRC chat room on Freenode came up with a simple script to find large files which are newer than your latest backup:

sudo find /Volumes/Data -newer /Volumes/BACKUPDRIVE/Backups.backupdb/smbp/2013-02-16-044144 -and -ls | awk '{ if ($7 > 1024*1024) {print $11 $12 $13 $14 $15 $16 } }'

/Volumes/Data = your primary drive which will be backed up.
/Volumes/BACKUPDRIVE = your mounted (USB, Firewire, etc) backup drive.
/2013-02-16-044144 = change to match the latest backup folder you see.

Rechargeable Battery Do’s and Don’ts

Tips and charging suggestions for  Lead acid, nickel-based, NiCd, NiMH, Lithium-ion batteries.


Apple Notebook battery maintenance and energy consumption

Laptop battery health tips:

Nominally, LiIon and LiPo packs should be completely drained, and then recharged without using the machine until fully charged, once every 6 to 8 weeks.  This ensures the best possible longevity for the individual cells of the pack.  Not using the machine after a full drain, until it is full charged, is important.  It is because of how the machine is running from battery constantly; by not running it, the cells are given a smooth, constant recharge current, instead of being interrupted every few minutes as each circuit is engaged for use.


When you get the “Help! I’m running on emergency reserves!” alert, you have 2 to 5 minutes to save everything and shut down cleanly.¬† Say you have a 2010 15in MBP. The pack houses two circuits of 1.2V cells. Each circuit is capable of supplying up to 120 watts of current. The MagSafe for that model only supplies 85W max.¬† Every few minutes, the controller switches the active circuit over so that the cells being topped up become the active source. It’s like a see-saw.¬† With each swing, each circuit gets a progressively higher level of charge, until both reach maximum.

Expected life-span of any lithium-based battery pack in a modern laptop, provided regular full charge cycling is done, is three years.    Because most users never cycle their battery-pack properly, the actual average life of a LiPo pack is sixteen months.  Machines which are left on mains supply (AC power) adapter  almost permanently end up having the shortest life-span of all.

Also see: