Friday, May 30, 2014

Do It Yourself and Save Money: Changing A Computer Screen

One of the ways we save money at our house is to not pay for any services we can do ourselves. Let me also state that we are just ordinary people - we don't have any special repair skills. The good news is, most home repair jobs don't need special skills. All you really need is a bit of information! 

I have a lot of home repair jobs I plan to work on this summer. Most of them are jobs people think are too technical or too difficult to accomplish by themselves. Hence, a new topic is born! I will show you just how simple it is to do things for yourself that you may never have thought possible. I hope the posts under this new topic will give you the encouragement to try some basic repairs around your house too! I am confident that you too can do it yourself and save money!

The first post under this topic was a repair that became necessary when my computer broke. While I do not have my computer back yet, (it is still at the manufacturer's facility getting repaired), my husband and I decided to try our hand at fixing another computer we had that was out of warranty. This computer screen broke about a year ago, rendering the computer unusable. We tried attaching it to a separate monitor but didn't have any success at that.

The first thing we did was to call a few computer repair centers to ask how much a new screen replacement would cost. Most quotes were around $215 to $225. Unbelievable! There is no way we were going to spend that much money to repair a machine that was three years old!

While researching our options, we came across the website, This site sells computer screens and provides instructions on how to replace them yourself. (There are also many YouTube videos on how to replace computer screens.) My husband ordered a new screen for less than $100. I really thought successfully changing out a computer screen would be way too technical for non-computer geeks like us to accomplish. Not so! Let me show you how easy it was! 

My husband was going to do the repair entirely by himself and my job was going to be taking pictures for the blog. However, the screws holding the screen in place are quite small and required smaller hands to handle so I ended up doing some of it as well. The website recommended a magnetic screwdriver to make it easier to handle the screws. We didn't have one. I held the screws with tweezers instead.

The computer we are working on is an HP. Your brand of computer may be different from ours so be sure to watch the instructional video for your brand/model on the website before starting your repair job. Since static electricity can ruin the sensitive electronics in a computer, be careful not to accidentally discharge static electricity onto the computer when making repairs.  

To start, you will need to remove the screen frame. The screen frame on our HP is secured by two tiny screws below the hinges. They are black screws on a black frame so they are not easy to see in this picture. They were also placed at such an angle that removing them was the most difficult part of the whole operation.

After the screws are out, the frame snaps out. We did have to gently pry it out with a flat knife in a few spots. Be careful prying it out. The frame is made of light plastic. If you apply too much pressure the frame might break. Our computer also had a few strips of adhesive holding the frame to the computer. The knife was really helpful in releasing the adhesive.

The screen is secured in a bracket that runs down the sides and top/bottom of it to make a support. The screen bracket is secured to the laptop with two two screws located in the upper corners. Those two screws come out next. 

Next remove the screws that attach the screen to the screen bracket. The HP has four screws here, two on each side. Be careful not to drop the screws. They are hard to see and very easy to lose.

Since the screws are so tiny, I decided to place them in bowls so we wouldn't lose them. The screws for each step went into separate bowls so they didn't get mixed up.

The last step to remove the screen is to disconnect it from the computer. It is a simple plug connection located on the back of the screen. It's held down by a piece of adhesive-like tape. To remove it, gently pull the tape up, off the point of connection. (Leave it on the plug itself because you will secure it to the new screen.) Then unplug the connection. Be careful not to pull too hard or you might damage the pins on the connector. In this picture, my husband is pointing to the plug.

Here are all the pieces removed. The new screen is in the package at the top of the picture behind the computer.

To install the new screen, repeat the steps in reverse order.

And we're done!

The final test is to turn it on and make sure it works!


Since it was our first time, it took about one hour to complete. That included time to search for one of the screws I dropped! I imagine the staff at any computer repair shop can probably complete a screen change in about 15 minutes!

It truly was super easy and we saved a lot of money by doing it ourselves!

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