Easy fixes for com­mon lap­top prob­lems

BRIAN NADEL and JON L. JACOBI have the an­swers

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

We live and work in a cold, cruel world where our lap­tops can take a lot of abuse. Re­gard­less of how gen­tle we try to be, our note­books will prob­a­bly be dropped, spilled upon or worse – sooner, if not later.

But if you think that all note­book dam­age can be re­paired only by the man­u­fac­turer or a com­puter shop, think again. Many prob­lems can be in­ex­pen­sively and eas­ily fixed with com­mon tools, spare parts, and a lit­tle

ef­fort. Some re­pairs are no harder than high school art projects. That said, there are mod­ern lap­tops that are very dif­fi­cult to open and re­pair. If you can’t see any screws, you’re in for a tough time.

Us­ing a cou­ple of old, beat-up mainstream note­books, we’ll show you how to fix ev­ery­thing from a bro­ken case and frayed charger cord to a bad fan and scratched screen. Each restora­tion project has time and cost es­ti­mates, as well as what ma­te­ri­als you’ll need to do the trick. Just fol­low the ba­sic di­rec­tions we’ve out­lined for each re­pair.

Fair warn­ing: your sys­tem might be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, re­quire spe­cial parts, or need a slightly dif­fer­ent ap­proach. YouTube is your friend.

One ad­di­tional note: while we ap­plaud im­pro­vi­sa­tion and re­cy­cling old parts (es­pe­cially AC adap­tors), there’s nothing like hav­ing the pre­cisely cor­rect part to do the re­pair. In fact, while fans and note­book key­boards may look sim­i­lar, they can be very dif­fer­ent. Each re­pair fea­tures links to where you can get the right parts, but they are just a sam­ple of what’s avail­able. If all else fails, try on­line to get what you need.

Prob­lem: Frayed AC adap­tor cord

Price: £5 to £15 Time: 1 to 2 hours Ma­te­ri­als: Sil­i­cone sealant, painter’s tape (which is less sticky than reg­u­lar mask­ing tape), pro­tec­tive gloves (op­tional) Be­cause a note­book that trav­els needs to be plugged in and un­plugged sev­eral times a day, the cord and

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