How to Replace a Touchpad
By Ezekiel James
The touchpad, or trackpad, is a flat, plastic pointing device that translates the motion of your finger to your computer screen. Touchpads can go bad after repetitive use or if they have been exposed to moisture. In any case, replacing it can be bothersome. It requires that you disassemble your laptop partially or completely. The good news is that even though disassembly is an involved process, it can save you a great deal of time and money.
Turn off your laptop, disconnect the power cable and any miscellaneous cables or devices. Close the LCD panel, place the laptop face-down and remove the battery pack.
Remove the Phillips-head screws securing the hardware compartment covers to the bottom casing of your laptop. This may include your hard drive, RAM and wireless card compartments. Remove the plastic covers and set them aside.
Push on the retaining tabs on either side of each RAM module to release the RAM from its compartment. Slide the RAM modules out of their respective compartments and set them aside.
Remove the Phillips-head screws, or simply lift the hard drive out of its compartment (depending on your laptop make and model) and set it aside.
Disconnect the antenna cables from the wireless card, and then lift the card out of its compartment and set it aside. Some models secure the wireless card to its compartment by one or two Phillips-head screws.
Disconnect the one or two Phillips-head screws securing the CD/DVD drive to the drive compartment located on the outside edge of the laptop casing. Slide the drive out of its compartment and set it to the side.
Remove all visible Phillips-head screws from the bottom casing. Place the laptop face-up and open the LCD panel.
Use a small flat-head screwdriver to pry up the keyboard cover from the laptop base. The keyboard cover is located between the keyboard and LCD panel. Remove the cover and set it aside. Some models may require you to disconnect a cable connected to the keyboard cover. Remove the cover carefully.
Remove the Phillips-head screws attaching the keyboard assembly to the laptop. Tilt the keyboard upwards, and then disconnect the keyboard cable from the motherboard. Remove the keyboard from the laptop base.
Disconnect the video and antenna cables from the motherboard. Remove the Phillips-head screws from the LCD hinges. Lift the LCD panel out of the laptop base and set it aside.
Disconnect the touchpad cable from the motherboard. Separate the upper casing assembly from the bottom casing and set it aside. Remove the touchpad from the upper casing assembly.
Install the new touchpad by repeating the previous steps in reverse.
Ezekiel James began as a music writer in 2003. Since then, James has served as a writer for several music, technology and design publications. His work has been published on eHow, TechAxcess.com and in print for the "The Potrero View" and "Punk Planet." James is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Portland State University.