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Opening Up Your Computer Case Easy

By Edited Jul 29, 2016 4 6

For many, the task of messing with their computer on the hardware level can seem very scary.  I understand the feeling, because I used to be the same way.  But the truth is, it’s easy!   It’s really, really simple to do.  I’d like to walk you through the basic steps of how to do so.  You’ll be staring at your computer’s guts in minutes.

PC Repair

Unplug Everything!

Before so much as loosening a single screw, you need to unplug everything.  Well first off, go ahead and shut down your machine.  Once you hear everything click off and no more humming of the fans, you may begin.  I personally like to first unplug the main power cord and then everything else.  I’ve never been told that it has to be done that way but if in doubt go ahead and pull the main plug first.  Warning:  When unplugging things, grab firmly at the base of the plug.  DO NOT YANK! You may damage the cord or even worse, the on-board connections themselves.  After unplugging everything you are now ready for the next step.


Move to a Safety Zone

Go ahead and grab your tower and carefully carry it to a designated, flat area such as a cleared-off table or hard floor.  I shouldn’t have to tell you not to run with the thing.  Treat it like carrying a baby.   Also, avoid carpeted areas, due to electrostatic electricity.  When laying the tower down you will want it on its side.  More specifically you will want to lay it on the side that has all the ports on the back in close proximity.

Electricity Safety

Identify the screws

Most towers nowadays have a sliding side panel that may or may not be attached by screws.  You will need to remove these to get to the case.  Simply look for 2 to 4 screws running along the backside on the edge of the case.  These will be the ones holding the panel in.  They are usually pretty easy to find and identify.  Once you find them, grab your screwdriver and remove them.  Place them in a secure place such as a Ziploc bag to keep from losing them.

Typical Panel Screws

Slide off the panel

After removing the screws, you are ready to take off the panel.  Typically, the panel will slide back and then will pull up and off.  There may be grooves on the side of the case to help you get a better grip to assist you in sliding the case off.  Just be patient and work with it until it finally slides off.  Voila!  You have now removed your panel and opened up your computer case.  Feel free to take a look inside at all the things which you likely know not what they do just yet.

Side Panel

Putting it back together

To put it all back together, simply follow the previous steps in reverse order.  Align the panel with the grooves and slide it back on.  You may have to give it a bit of a push until you feel it fit snugly into place.  Don’t forget the screws.  Carry your tower back to its designated spot and plug everything back in.

Pat yourself on the back

At the end of your adventure, you may realize how simple such a seemingly scary task was.  However, give yourself credit where it is due.  Most people are too afraid to open their computer case or better yet don’t feel like it.  You’ve accomplished something!  Be proud!

Having the Right Tools Is a Must

One thing you should consider when opening a computer case is having the right tools ahead of time.  Many pc tool kits can be purchased online at a fairly low price.   You will also want one with an anti-static wrist strap as well.  If you are serious about doing physical work to your pc, you should strongly consider getting the right tools.  At the least you should opt to get the anti-static wrist strap.  It would definitely be worth the small investment to protect your pc from electrostatic discharge.



Oct 14, 2012 12:06pm
Remembering where you took something from and Youtube are my best friends since owning a laptop!
Oct 15, 2012 5:32pm
Haha yep. I know what you mean. Things are so elaborate nowadays it's good to have a backup resource. You never know when you might need it :)
Nov 5, 2012 7:20pm
A computer is still a mystery to me. If I ever have to open it. I would take pictures of every step!

Great read!!
Nov 9, 2012 8:10am
helpful tips, thanks for writing! Good info mentioning the anti-static wristcord, it is very important to discharge your static and better yet, have a constant ground, that way, you don't run the risk of causing electric-static damage to the sensitive components.
May 14, 2013 2:25pm
Useful tips and article. Everyone who owns a computer should know the basics and be able to open. If not to fix something, cleaning the dust is also important (especially in laptops which tend to overheat. Nice guide.
May 24, 2013 4:14am
Nice selection of tips. I'm in that intermediate stage between complete newbie and starting to know my way around the insides of a desktop. Thumbs up.
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