If you are a tech enthusiast then besides, making the most out of your devices, you might also have an intrinsic interest in the working of the devices. In other words, you will be curious to take apart the device to see what is connected where and how it works. While that’s easier to do with smaller devices, when it comes to a laptop, taking it apart is delicate and precise work.
If not done properly, you could cause damage, in certain cases, irreversible. If you are keen to take apart your laptop, be it to understand the various parts that go into it, for cleaning or for some DIY repair work, it is important to know what goes where, before you start to take it apart,
Here is a guide to walk you through the process of disassembling your laptop:
Before you start the process, there are a few things you will need. These include a good set of screwdrivers, preferably magnetic. So you can unscrew gently and precisely. Keep a box handy to dump the screws, ideally a box with partitions, this way you can keep different looking screws separately and eliminate confusion later.
Make sure that you are taking your laptop apart on a clean and dust free surface.
Remove the battery pack and the hard drive. This ensure that your system stays unaffected and that you don’t lose any data in the process.
Gently take out all the screws on the laptop and store them in a container, ideally labelled.
Your first look at the various ribbon cables will surprise you. Laptops use more ribbon cables to connect the motherboard and other parts like drives and keyboard. To disconnect, locate the spring loaded mechanism (it could be on the motherboard or on the drive. You have to reach the end tabs and pry them open. Use a finger at one end and gently slide a screwdriver on the other end.
Once you open the connector, the ribbon cable will pull out easily.
The sheer number of connectors can be confusing. Go through your laptop manufacturer’s manual for the specific method to unlock each connector. Ideally, if you only want to look at the parts, don’t pull or pry open the connectors. Only take it apart, if you are trying to repair or re-insert a replacement.
If you want to look at the processor, it’s usually soldered to the motherboard. In rare cases, when it’s not, you can unlock it from its socket. However, do not leave the processor out of the socket for long. It has very fine pins that are prone to damage. Ensure the processor is locked back in the motherboard socket, else the laptop won’t function
The cooling fan in the laptop can be easily accessed and you can unscrew and remove it for unclogging and thorough cleaning.
Taking apart your laptop will require finesse and precision, not to mention careful organisation. If you only want to peek in, it’s best not to disconnect all parts as the re-assembly is tedious.
In many cases, you may have to verify or cross-check the specifications of your laptop. There may also be new programs that are waiting to be installed and you need to know the specifications of your laptop in order to ensure system compatibility. The specs may also be required if you’re planning to sell your laptop. Whatever be the scenario, there are various ways to decode the specifications of a laptop without solely relying on the brochure that was issued at the time of purchase.
How to proceed with decoding laptop specs
Access the system window of the laptop by pressing keys windows key + pause key. Or else right click on the “My computer” icon on the desktop and select properties from the pop up. Now the system specifications can be found out from “System” section of the properties window that has just been opened. The information sections available would be:
Memory (RAM): This denotes the amount of dynamic memory available on the system. The RAM capacity denotes the ability of the laptop to perform faster. Depending on the 32 bit or 64 bit operating system, the RAM may be rated as 1 GB, 2 GB or 4 GB. Also the RAM type differs from system to system. The common types are DDR, DDR2 and DDR3.
Processor: Generally specifications contain information on the processor name. The number of cores available within the processor will also be mentioned. Another important measurement factor for processor performance is the processor speed. This is the speed at which clock signals oscillate. If you are unsure about what the processor name means, it is advisable to perform an internet search with the processor name as the keyword.
System Type: This gives information about the operating system on which the laptop is running. As the discussion is based on Windows, this can explain the version of windows currently employed.
2. Checking Graphics card
To get information on the graphics card available in the laptop, click the device manager tab in the same system window opened in above step. Expand “Display adapters” pointer available on the list. This in turn lists the available graphic adapters that are currently installed with the device.
3. Checking Disk Space
Generally hard disk will be segregated into individual drives for space organization. Open “My Computer”. This displays the list of drive partitions available. Right click on the drive to check the used and free space information. The sum of all spaces put together gives an idea of hard disk capacity.
4. Linux decoding
In case the laptop is running on Linux OS, the graphical representation can be utilized to decode the specifications. For example, a program called Conky will display the following information:
The operating system version that the laptop is being operated on
The amount of RAM available for temporary storage and processing
Processor speed, cores used and processor model
Available space of the entire hard disk and also the individual partitions.
Hardware is defined as the collection of physical components like monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer data storage, hard disk drive (HDD), graphic cards, sound cards, memory (RAM), motherboard, etc..; these components need to be maintained for the perfect functioning of the laptop. However, sometimes we can encounter some issues with these components. Let us look at some common hardware problems that would occur.
NO START PROBLEMS:
When you plug-in your machine into the power socket and switch on the start button, the system doesn’t turn on. There are no audible sounds or visible lights appearing on the laptop. This could be due to the following reasons
There is no battery charge left in the laptop.
The adapter that you are using to charge the machine might not be working
The motherboard might not be receiving any power from the power adapter for start-up
The motherboard would have probably been destroyed.
You are working on your laptop and it seems to be performing perfectly. Suddenly the screen goes blank and the laptop switches off. In such situations you can sometimes even feel that the base of the laptop is very hot. It could be due to heat, Sometimes when the rotating fan gets clogged with dust, the processor fails to cool down properly. And this heat can cause the laptop to switch off without any notification.
The laptop screen can sometimes show bizarre colours or distorted images. This could be due to the fact that the graphics card has problems. When the graphics card fails then the colours on the screen can be mixed and disturbed.
BLANK SCREEN ISSUE:
The laptop turns on perfectly. The user can see the lights glowing, fan rotating and the audible sounds. But the screen shows no images or data. It can go completely blank. This could be due to:
– Memory failure: The memory modules in the laptop could have stopped functioning. Sometimes, the memory devices lose contact with the motherboard and this can cause failure. In such a scenario, you can try to re-fix the memory devices of the laptop. Unscrew and remove all the possible memory devices and then fix them back into the machine and reboot the machine.
– Hardware problem: check if all the hardware of the laptop is in place. Cable faults can also cause disruption in the working of the machine. Check connectors for the keyboard, power, modem wiring of the laptop.
During the functioning of the laptop, you can hear only the fan rotating sound and the key clicking sounds. But sometimes you can hear unusual rattling noises from your laptop. It could be due to the cooling fan or hard disk.
You would probably need to clean the fan for dust. If the noise still recurs after the cleaning then the fan requires replacement
If the cooling fan is not the problem, then Hard-drive failure could also be a possibility, especially if you hear persistent rattling noises when the laptop is switched on.
Laptops are found everywhere today. Although laptops are easy to carry and efficient in working, upgrading a laptop is not as easy upgrading a desktop. Over a period of time we are seeing the evolution of laptop reaching the point of use and throw strategies. Sometimes laptop buyers think it is okay to buy a basic laptop and then settle in for an upgrade later. Then too they prefer cheaper upgrade alternatives. Cheap upgrades come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Many times the cheap upgrades can cause more problems to your existing laptop. Let’s find out if it is advisable to use cheap upgrades for laptop.
Laptops are different. Unlike stand-alone desktops, we cannot configure laptops on our own. We always buy pre-configured laptops from the vendor. This creates a dicey situation when you want to upgrade your laptop with cheap spare parts.
For example: If you opt to change the outer case of your laptop with a cheaper funky looking case, there is no guarantee that the new case will provide the same protection to your laptop during fall/ drops like its own vendor provided case. In such case, we recommend that it is not advisable to settle in for a cheap upgrade.
Installing cheap spare parts to your laptop can also hamper the warranty of the laptop. Although there are many options available in the market today for self-laptop upgrade which can cost you much less than a professional vendor, many laptop vendors can refuse to fix your laptop later when you run into issues because of the self-upgrade. There is a warranty sticker that needs to be broken to open the laptop board. If the vendor notices that the sticker has been tampered by somebody else, then they would deny your warranty claim.
Low-cost parts can hamper the functionality of the branded components in the laptop. Laptops come with inbuilt components that are very fragile and need proper support to work on. When you resort to cheaper ways of support it can interfere with the system; for example, cheap battery adapters might reduce the battery life of the existing battery of the laptop. If the battery adapter is not going to perform enough to supply power to the laptop built-in battery, then it can reduce the functionality and power of the battery leading to an expensive affair.
You can bring down the costs of your laptop upgrade by
Purchasing the parts that you require on discounts or sale at a well-known online portal or at the marketplace deals.
Buy a gaming laptop that is both affordable (i.e a gaming laptop under 1000) and futureproof. This way you don’t have to upgrade it in anytime soon and when you eventually have to, you already saved money so you can afford the upgrade.
Plan your upgrades. Instead of spending bucks on many parts at a time, upgrade your laptop one part at a time.
Avoid labour costs for upgrades that you can do on your own. Instead, use the labour money for purchase of the spare part. Although, sometimes visiting a professional can be cheaper than upgrading it yourself. Do your research before jumping to conclusions.
You can trade in memory devices for cash.
The laptop body always hosts a variety of input/output slots. Though USB is the most frequently and commonly used port of any laptop, multiple ports of a laptop provide many benefits individually. In order to understand the necessity of multiple ports, let us examine the benefit each category of slot provides for the laptop user.
Probably the most commonly known port of the laptop device. The standard generally being used is USB2.0. This is the standard port type. USB port is widely used for connecting a variety of input or output devices such as pen drives, optical mouse, keyboards and external storage. The ports can also be used to boot and install operating system through BIOS settings of a laptop.
USB ports offer a variety of advantages. The primary advantage is speed. Based on the speed capacity USB standards are classified as USB1.0 (12mbps), USB 2.0(480 mbps) and USB 3.0(5gbps).The other notable advantages are power capacity, physical size and compatibility.
This is one component of the A/V connections. The maximum data rate of display ports are known to be 18 Gbps.This connection can be valuable if the user has an external monitor or screen that supports it. The main reason behind display ports not being popular is the consumer television segment does not popularize it. Hence HDMI gets the advantage.
This is a point to point interface. The connector interface and cable are slightly different from SATA. This fast transfer port is dedicated for taking storage outside the device. eSATA connections can handle data transfer speeds up to 6gbps. This is obviously higher than the transfer ratings of USB 3.0.
The networking connections are of various types. The most commonly found jack is the Ethernet port. This usually comes built in to most of the laptops. However they are also configurable from outside and are available as external plug in cards. Few motherboards also support Bluetooth based wireless connectivity. Thus such ports enable easier connectivity with Bluetooth enabled devices.
Audio connection jacks
These are the most commonly employed and used laptop ports. But there are variations of audio ports available with every laptop. The audio ports are usually color coded to distinguish their usage. Green, black, red and grey are used to connect the laptop to multi channel speakers. The remaining pink audio port denotes the microphone and blue jack denotes the line input.
The audio ports allow you to disconnect yourself from the world with a pair of headphones or share your audio visual experience by connecting to external speakers.
VGA and DVI are the two most common display ports that come pre loaded in the laptops. Though Digital visual interface holds a greater appeal, most of the systems still come equipped with the Video graphics array port. For others who wish to switch between the two of them many VGA-DVI dongles are easily available.
This was primarily developed for the smart TV’s with HD displays. However these are more popularly used with laptops as an interface. The HDMI technology offers enough bandwidth for running 1080p display at 120Hz. Hence this makes HDMI the most suitable option for graphics and high definition gaming.
Just as you clean the outside of your laptop, installing and managing software updates is also a significant part of routine maintenance work.
Why are Software Updates very crucial for your laptop?
Using an outdated laptop is as good as living in a house with no locks, thus opening doors to strangers and intruders. Cybercriminals are enticed by the negligence of users toward installing updates, and they continue with their evil attempts of meddling and attacking.
Everyone working on a laptop sees those little window pop-up messages timely notifying that there is a new software update available to download and install. The notifications pop up exactly when you’re busy in the middle of work. You’ll find the process of installing software updatesvery disrupting and unimportant. In fact, people even disregard such notifications thinking, ‘My computer is working just fine, so I’ll pass on this update!’, ‘Do I really need to install this update?’, ‘I’ll do it later as I don’t have time to reboot my computer’, etc. It is very convenient to click on the “Remind Me Later” button, and procrastinate. What happens then?
You go ahead with business as usual, browsing the internet and using the programs, until something horribly plagues your laptop – a malicious virus attack, a malfunction, or failure of new device. At this point, you are forced to find a technician, or even worse buy a new laptop out of frustration. This could be heavy on your wallet and a waste of your precious time. Such expensive predicaments can simply be avoided by running software updates regularly. Although installing updates can sometimes be tedious and may seem like a hassle, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.
What advantages do Software Updates offer?
Software updates refers to updates on both operating systems (Windows update) and individual software programs. A software update, also called a ‘Patch’ or a ‘Service Pack’, is a piece of software developed by software vendors, to enhance the performance and to fix the defects of the existing software. The updates offer a myriad of revisions to your laptop, such as addition of new features, product enhancements to improve the business performance of the program, removal of outdated features, updating drivers, bug fixes, and, very importantly, patches to any existing security holes.
How do you manage Software Updates effectively?
Installing updates do not need you to uninstall and re-install the software. It can be installed with ease on the current version itself. Although some programs need manual downloading and installation, other software can be installed automatically by the simple click of a button. Software such as Operating system and Antivirus programs can be configured to download and update automatically by using the automatic update feature. Popularly used programs such as Java, and browsers such as chrome, IE, Firefox etc. cannot be updated automatically. For such programs, a window or icon pops up in the task bar prompting to activate the installation. It is in your best interest to start installation as soon as possible. This not only avoids frustration, but also prevents long term system crashes and saves you time.