I received a 17" MB Pro as a gift in April 2011, until then I was a Windows user. I always kept the software up to date (currently running 10.6.8) and tried to minimize the amount of "junk" on the computer. The MB has been working incredibly until about a month or so ago. Programs would freeze which would lead to the whole computer freezing up and needing to get restarted. Then the next issue was that the computer would take almost 20 minutes to boot up, sometimes taking several attempts. I talked to a friend, who said that the OS probably needed to be upgraded. So, figuring it needs to get upgraded regardless, I purchased and downloaded Mountain Lion. I went to install it and got an error saying that it cannot be installed because of S.M.A.R.T. errors. Opened up Disk Utility, clicked on the HDD (TOSHIBA MK7559GSXF 750.16 GB) and the S.M.A.R.T. status reads "Failing". So, from what I've read, there is nothing else I can do to fix it and the HD needs to get replaced. I believe my computer is out of the warranty period and I do not believe there is Applecare for it.
Can someone confirm this true? What is the best replacement for my HD, the same Toshiba drive or something different? Does anyone have any step by step instructions for backing up and replacing the HD? I've read threads on getting a USB adapter for the new drive and doing a "Carbon Copy", but I just want to be sure.
I've backed up and reformatted PC's and laptops with Windows, so I'm not a complete moron when it comes to understanding technical stuff and performing detailed tasks. However, because this is uncharted territory for me, I just want to make sure all of my bases are covered.
Please let me know if you need any more info from my end.