Today I am going to deviate from my usual application reviewing path. Why? Because I have recently gone through a very hassling experience of opening my laptop and cleaning it. It was the first time that I attempted this (what seemed to be) a mountainous task. And during its completion, I learned a few lessons which I want all fellow BlogsDNA readers to be aware of.
Below you will find my tips to open and clean your laptop. These are not instructions on how to open your laptop – as that may vary from model to model; instead, these are important things to keep in mind. For novices, the following instructions are a must-read before they begin any step of the process!
Tip 1: Search for Your Laptop’s Repair Manual Online
Regardless of how much you think of yourself as a tech-commando, opening your laptop for the first time is not going to be easy! There will be screws in places that you cannot see. Without unscrewing these hidden screws, you might end up breaking a component while trying to forcefully pull it out. To be properly informed about what goes where and how to take out what, you should find your laptop’s repair manual. This might have been included in your laptop package so go and fetch the box your laptop came in. Or, in case you have lost (thrown away) the box, you can refer to Google.
Tip 2: Unplug the Charger AND Take Out the Battery
Unplugging the charger will be ‘common sense’ for most people but taking out the laptop’s battery might not be an obvious move for everyone. The battery removal is not to remove any danger of your electrocution; rather, this step is to ensure the safety of the laptop. While taking off the screws, your metallic tools might connect two laptop motherboard terminals that should not be connected; this could result in parts on your laptop’s motherboard burning – instant laptop burn out. Admittedly, the picture shown above of the burnt laptop is a bit dramatic; but if you short circuit your laptop, it will be as useful as the one in the image.
Tip 3: Equip Yourself with the Proper Tools
Laptop manufacturers have to squeeze a lot of components into a very congested space. To keep these components in their place, tiny little screws are used. While your regular screwdrivers might do the job of undoing the main cover screws, as you peel off the laptop layers, the screws become smaller. So get screwdrivers that can get into narrow places and undo small screws. In addition to having the proper screwdrivers, you will also need something flat and sharp – perhaps a guitar plectrum. The keyboard and the main cover often have plastic locks associated with them; to undo them, wedging the guitar plectrum in between laptop layers will definitely help.
By making sure that you have the right tools, you will be able to save yourself an immense amount of frustration – I speak from experience!
Tip 4: Group the Screws You Undo
Imagine a clutter of tiny little screws. Now imagine having to decide which tiny little screw belongs in which tiny little screw-hole. If you end up using screws where they do not belong, your laptop’s re-assembly is going to be very difficult. This is precisely why you should sort your screws while you undo them. Keep piles categorized into different stages of the process. This will greatly help in putting your laptop back together.
Tip 5: Use a Work Table that Does Not Require You to Slouch Inconveniently
For first timers, regardless of the help they get or how prepared they feel they are, this process is going to be a long one. You might run into problems that you had not expected. You might end up trying to undo a screw that seems to be a stuck. In short, a lot can happen and a lot can make you spend hours on this laptop opening and cleaning process. So pick a work table that does not require you to slouch. If you slouch throughout the process, your back is going to ache badly when you are done. Again, I speak from experience!
Tip 6: An Air Blower
Do not even bring the air blower into the same room as where you are working! If you are opening the laptop to clean it, then an air blower will definitely be required. But if you accidentally turn it on with all those screws around, you are going to be in trouble! The best thing to do would be to keep unraveling the laptop layers till you have separated the fan component. You can then take the fan component out of the room and clean it up with the blower. The remaining components can simply be cleaned off with a piece of cloth. Note that it will be wise to have thermal paste handy – in case the fan component is part of the processor’s heat sink (which it probably is) you will need to reapply some thermal paste on the processor to ensure it does not heat up very much.
And there you have it! If you have owned your laptop for a long time and it heats up a lot, then you definitely need to open it and clean it. Taking it to a professional would of course be the best thing to do. But having a go at things yourself can be fun too (and tiresome!).