How to Open a Laptop to Get Inside

by James Clark ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Laptop computer

  • Phillips-head screwdrivers

  • Cup or container for holding small parts

Opening a laptop computer should always be for a specific reason, such as to upgrade the hard drive, increase the RAM (random access memory) or perhaps troubleshoot a screen problem. By working slowly and systematically and by following these steps, you can open a laptop case to get inside.

Turn off the laptop and close the lid until it latches.

Turn the laptop upside down on a flat surface.

Remove the battery, typically by moving a latch to the left then lifting the battery out of the bottom of the laptop or by sliding it out of the outer edge of the laptop.

Remove the Phillips-head screws at the four corners and at other sealed points on the bottom of the laptop. Most laptop computers are secured with at least 12 screws. For example, Dell laptops are secured with 24 screws on the back cabinet, including two screws that secure the cover for the hard drive.

Place the screws in a cup or container for safekeeping, as they can roll off the table and become lost. It is very risky to operate a laptop with missing screws because internal parts are held in place partly by pressure from a secure cover.

Remove the covers for individual components, such as the hard drive and the memory, from the bottom of the laptop. Keep all internal components with the covers that secure them. The hard drive, for example, can be removed and set on its protective cover for easy replacement.

Lift the bottom cover straight off the laptop, taking care not to jostle any internal parts as you remove the cover. If you encounter any resistance, stop and identify the stuck part. Do not attempt to force the cover off the laptop.

Tip

  • On some laptops you may be unable to remove the cover even after removing all visible screws. Try removing the four rubber feet from the bottom cover to reveal screws underneath.

Tip

  • Do not open a laptop case if the computer is still under warranty. Batteries and hard drives can be removed and replaced without opening the entire computer. Disassembling your laptop could void valuable warranty coverage.

About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.