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Do It Yourself Laptop Screen Repair

Do It Yourself Laptop Screen Repair

Daniel Horowitz
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Even if you are extremely careful with your hardware, it can be unavoidable at times to run into issues such as a cracked or broken computer screen. Just because you’re experiencing problems with your display doesn’t mean that your laptop is beyond saving, however.
You should also know that repairing your laptop screen isn’t always the easiest job, and there is a possibility you can make the problem worse while voiding the manufacturer warranty. It’s important to feel confident in your skills before you begin the process of replacing your screen, and to consider if you would be more comfortable taking it in to a qualified repair shop.
Even those who have never replaced a screen can manage to do it depending on the type of computer. Just be aware that if you own a laptop with a touch screen it can make the process much more challenging.

How much does it cost to repair a laptop screen?

If you’re wondering about broken laptop screen repair costs, you’ll be happy to know it’s not as expensive as you may assume. Professional repair costs are usually around $300 or so [1]. If you are comfortable working on your laptop yourself, you can usually find replacement screens online for reasonable prices - sometimes as low as $50 to $100 - and it often only takes an hour or two to complete the replacement job.
If you’re willing to take the leap and do this yourself, then you can end up rescuing a computer you may have thought you needed to replace. Here are 5 steps you can take to successfully replace or repair your cracked computer screen.

1. Know your model and assess the damage

Before you begin the process of changing your screen, it’s important to know exactly what’s wrong and what needs to be repaired. The type of device you have can influence how much you’ll have to pay for another screen, as will its age, which may make finding a replacement rather difficult. You should do some research online to find out if you even have the option to fix the screen yourself.

Power it up

The first step is making sure the device powers up successfully and that the screen is the only issue you need to address. As a test, hook your laptop up to a separate monitor. If your laptop seems to function well, then it’s likely that the broken laptop screen is all you have to worry about. Keep in mind that some laptops need to have some function keys pressed in order for an external display to work properly.

Inspect the laptop

You will also have to do a complete inspection of your computer to determine if your screen is the only problem. A destroyed graphics card or a computer that refuses to start up indicates that a new screen isn’t enough to get you up and running again.
Also, if the frame of your laptop has suffered physical damage, then you may have some difficulty repairing your screen. Once you have looked over your device and determined whether you can fix it on your own, it’s time find the right screen for your computer.
Note: If you’re concerned about your laptop’s touch screen repair, it can be more complicated to fix this problem without professional help. These displays are designed with factors like sensitivity in mind, so it’s a good idea to have an expert take a look at it, even if it means spending a bit more than anticipated.

2. Find the correct screen

One of the main reasons you should know the model of your laptop is so you’re sure that you’re purchasing the correct replacement screen. While a number of companies offer laptop screen repair kits that can make the process easier, if you order the wrong screen you won’t be able to make any repairs. If you’re having difficulty figuring out your computer model, you can visit the “Settings” menu and find the serial number to assist you in your search.
Fortunately, finding the right screen for your device doesn’t have to be stressful. Often you can find what you are looking for simply by entering your laptop model number into the search bar of online retailers. You may also want to include the search term “LCD” in order to narrow down the accessories that are available for your computer. For the most part, screens should be priced fairly reasonably and you may even be able to buy some for around $50, although it depends on the type of computer you have.
Some sellers may use another form of identification for the model of your laptop, so double check that you chose the right option before you purchase. Almost all the information you need should be displayed on the seller’s listing. Again, take the time to compare your device’s specs with the screen you’re purchasing, and also make sure that the video cable on the back of your screen matches what the vendor shows online. Most of the time, it’s fairly easy to know if the right screen is available.

3. Get the right tools and open the screen

This is not a comprehensive guide for all computers, but it should cover the basics for most models.
You will need a few tools in order to properly install your new screen. These tools can make the process much simpler and allow you to fix things efficiently.
Prepare yourself by having the following on hand:
  • A clean, flat surface where you can work
  • A putty knife or similar object to remove the screen bezel
  • A magnetic Phillips screwdriver
  • A pin or needle for removing the bezel
  • A small dish to hold screws
  • Adhesive or tape to secure the new LCD to the laptop frame
Screen repair kits are also available for certain models, so it can be worth it to research your type of computer and see if they’re available. These kits provide you with everything you need ahead of time so you can get to work and not worry about missing an essential tool. Of course, items around your home can work just as well while saving you a bit of money.
Once you have assembled the tools you need to replace the screen, you can get to work repairing your device. Lay the closed laptop on the flat surface you have chosen and keep your tools nearby.

Remove power sources

First, turn off your laptop and make sure that it is unplugged from a power source to avoid any risk of electric shock. After that, it also helps to remove the battery to avoid causing any other issues.
Once you have done that, you should identify the stickers that cover screws on the screen bezel. You can usually find them near the bottom of your screen where the hinges would be when you have your display opened. There should be two.

Carefully remove stickers and screws

From there, you will need to use a pin to remove the stickers located on the bezel so you don’t end up damaging them. You will need to use these later, once your screen is properly installed, so make sure they aren’t lost and that you store them sticky side up so you can reuse them. Put them in a safe spot so when you go to attach your new screen, they are easy to find.
You’ll then want to use your screwdriver to remove the screws that are now visible. You may have some difficulty depending on how tightly they were screwed in during manufacturing. For the most part, if your old screen is aligned fairly well, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to remove the screws. Place them in the dish so you don’t lose any.

Remove bezel

It’s now time to gently remove the bezel. Make sure you are careful when removing your old screen’s bezel because you will need to reinstall it once the screen is replaced. By using a putty knife or other flat object, you should be able to pry your screen from your laptop case.
It may take a little effort to completely remove it. And don’t be alarmed if you hear some plastic snapping - that is the unfastening of the plastic tabs that hold your screen onto your case. If you have some trouble removing the old screen, the screws at the bottom might not be loosened enough, so stop and loosen them some more before trying again.
You could also run into the problem of your screen being stuck on the hinges. By wiggling it gently, you can usually free it from the case.

4. Remove the LCD

One of the trickier parts of replacing your laptop screen will be removing the LCD. First, make sure that the bezel is completely off so you can have unfettered access to the LCD screen. It will be secured onto the laptop’s metal frame, and you will have to take it off from the left and right sides.
There will be two more screws to loosen at the top corners before you can lift the screen slightly away from the metal frame. You’ll probably find a few more screws securing the LCD on the sides, and these will also need to be unscrewed. In some cases, heavy duty tape may have been used instead.

Disconnect cable connectors

After you remove the attachments, your screen should now lie on your keyboard. It can be a bit of a challenge to make sure there is enough space between the LCD and the metal frame, but you should be gentle to avoid ruining the video cable that runs from the back of the screen to the body of the laptop. If this is damaged, you will need a professional’s help to repair it.
Now it’s time to disconnect the cable from the LCD. You can usually find the connectors in the center, though they may alternatively be located at the bottom of your screen. It’s likely that adhesive was used to connect the two, so you will need to gently pry one from the other. There may also be some tape that needs to be removed, but overall it should be pretty simple to disconnect your LCD from the video connector. Set it somewhere away from your tools.

5. Insert the new screen

As you remove the screen, you should be able to locate where your new one will go. Place it face down within the frame so it fits perfectly. After that, you can reattach the video connector so it is placed exactly where the previous LCD sat. Make sure that it is as aligned as possible then attach it with tape or adhesive.

Reattach bezel

Once that’s done, make sure the sides are secure. Reinsert the screws on the sides and top, or reattach any tape that was used to hold everything together. After everything is nicely tightened, you can put the bezel back on. Line it up so that it snaps properly into the screen case and won’t be easily loosened.
Reinsert the remaining screws into the bezel after you’re certain everything is snapped correctly into place. You shouldn’t be able to see any cracks at all along the edges of the screen. Once the screws are inserted, reattach the screw covers using your pin or needle.

Power up

From there, you should be ready to restart your computer. Put the battery in and connect your laptop to a power source before turning it back on. If there is no display, then you will need to double check that everything was properly put back together.

Celebrate a successful DIY laptop screen repair

Repairing a broken laptop screen doesn’t have to be done by a professional. If you have the time and interest, then you can end up saving a lot of money by doing it yourself. By following these DIY steps, you can have your laptop display back up and running in an hour or two.
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About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.

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