Easy to up-grade laptop Upgrade with care:
Support techs report that the most
troublesome laptop components are the hard drive, screen, and keyboard.
While you probably won't want to replace an expensive laptop screen,
anyone with the right tools and even a slight mechanical inclination
can replace the hard drive, keyboard, and other components, with some
Opening your laptop case may void the
warranty, so if your system is still under warranty, let the
manufacturer deal with repairs. Notebooks are delicate, so never force
anything. Vince Dougherty, who has repaired countless laptops for Wine
Country Computers in Healdsburg, California, says the most common
mistake is using the wrong-size screwdriver. One slip and your
motherboard is ruined.
Before doing anything else, remove the
notebook's battery and disconnect its power cord. Remember to ground
yourself before you open the case, either with a grounding strap (the
safest way), or by touching a piece of grounded metal (a lamp or water
pipe will do), while touching a metal part on the case's exterior.Replace your hard drive:
Adding a new hard drive to a laptop is usually easier than doing the same thing on a DESKTOP PC
You just remove a few screws from the bottom of the case, slide or lift
the hard drive assembly out of the system, and swap a new drive into
the assembly (always handle drives by the edges).
PCs use a standard 2.5-inch hard drive, but ultralights and other
diminutive systems may use a smaller 1.8-inch drive. Drives also come
in different heights; the most common are 12.5 millimeters and 9.5
millimeters. Check your laptop's documentation, or visit the vendor's
Web site to determine the drive size compatible with your machine.
2.5-inch, 100GB drive costs less than $200. Third-party vendors such as
Drive Solutions and NewEgg.com often charge less than laptop
manufacturers. Check with your notebook vendor to find out whether you
need a SATA or parallel ATA model. Buy only from vendors that offer a
money-back guarantee--any reliable seller will provide one lasting at
least 30 days.Boost your RAM:
Most laptops come with
only one or two memory sockets, which may leave no open slots for
upgrades. Adding memory may require that you discard at least one
existing memory module. The RAM on most laptops resides behind a
removable panel. The modules slip into a slot and are secured at the
ends by clips or retainers. Crucial offers an excellent tutorial on
installing laptop RAM.
Crucial and Kingston will tell you the
type of RAM your laptop needs. The high-quality modules they sell are
well worth the small, additional expense over no-name RAM.Change your keyboard:
Installing a new keyboard usually requires disassembling the laptop's
case, but in other respects it is straightforward: First snap the old
keyboard out, and then snap the replacement keyboard in. You can expect
to pay $50 to $100 for a new notebook keyboard. Appropriate replacement
keyboards may be available only from the notebook's vendor.