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DIY Laptop Repair: More Costly in the End

Sep 10, 2008
We all cringe when our computers start showing noticeable glitches; software programs that don't run right or a screen that starts to fade in and out. You want these issues fixed fast and for as cheap as possible. The simplest solution seems to be on the 'net: diagnose, repair and restart your laptop yourself.

For many of these problems handy solutions can be found online with step-by-step manuals written in plain English and with photographic guides that can be easily followed. However, for hardware problems and especially for Dell laptops in particular, these tutorials can get you into a whole mess of trouble if you are not experienced with laptop repair.

It is very easy to destroy your Dell laptop computer while attempting a little DIY.

Software

If the source of your Dell laptop issues appears to be entirely software based then you can realistically diagnose and fix the issue with help from forums and Internet guides.

If the worst happens you can always restore your computer to factory settings and start from scratch (this is why you should always backup your data religiously!).

Dell laptops come with a great little step-by-step procedure for restoring the operating system or the entire computer in case of major problems. Of course if your computer has been infected with a particularly nasty virus then you still may need the help of a professional to revive it.

Hardware

If all you want to do with your laptop is upgrade your memory then this too can be accomplished through a little DIY. However, there are specific steps involved and you must be able to complete these steps exactly as written to ensure your computer will still fire up afterwards.

One of the major issues when replacing memory or any computer part is static electricity. One little zap and the components are destroyed. That is why professionals use devices to remove static from their work area so this kind of accident isn't possible. For the home user you will have to make sure you keep the new memory board in its packaging until the very last moment. You will also have to ground yourself so that you can't transfer a shock to the inside of your computer. Handling these parts also takes precision work to ensure they don't become damaged on install.

For All Other Issues and Repairs

While many people on the Internet make laptop home repair appear easy, the reality is that it isn't. One of the main issues regarding laptop repair is that you have crack open the casing on your laptop to get to any faulty parts.

Just opening the case is a difficult thing. For Dell laptops you have pry out the rubber pads underneath in order to expose the screws that hold your computer together. This sounds easy but the fact that most people give up home repair in this stage should give you an indication of the difficulty. Also some manufacturers apply glue to these screws to keep them from loosening.

If you manage to remove the screws then you are faced with unsnapping the plastic bezel from the body without breaking it. Once inside you need to be able to diagnose the issue and replace any defective parts, all without accidentally damaging or frying any of the fragile components.

Most people try DIY laptop repair to save money. However, if done improperly you could be looking at not just a repair bill but also a whole new computer. In the long run it works out cheaper to let the experts handle your Dell laptop repair.
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