How to Change the Motherboard in a Laptop

By David Secor

If the motherboard in a laptop fails, and it is a machine that is worth keeping, you can obtain replacement parts and maybe even upgrade the unit in the process (depending on the model of the laptop). Finding a replacement board may be challenging, bust several online auction houses and regular retailers stock OEM replacement parts, or used parts that are pulled from otherwise damaged machines. Once you have obtained the motherboard, you can follow this guide to learn how to switch it out for the old one.

Things You'll Need

  • New motherboard
  • Laptop manual
  • Screwdriver

Step 1

Browse through the owner’s manual for the laptop for specific instructions on removing components like the optical drive and hard drive.

Step 2

Disconnect the laptop from its power cord and remove the battery.

Step 3

Close the lid of the laptop and place it upside-down on a clean work surface.

Step 4

Discharge any static electricity that may be present in your body by touching a grounded metal surface.

Step 5

Take out the screws and other fasteners that secure the optical drive and hard drive. Remove them from the laptop and set them aside.

Step 6

Unscrew the memory access cover. (Refer to the manual for its location.)

Step 7

Loosen the clips that hold the memory chips in place and lift out each module. Often, the memory chips are located in the same area as the mini-PCI wireless card. The memory chips will be about half the size of the mini-PCI card.

Step 8

Disconnect the antenna lead from the wireless card, if one is present. Release the clips securing the card and remove it.

Step 9

Open the processor access door, if there is one on the machine. If the processor is removable, and one did not come with the new motherboard, remove it and set it aside in a safe place.

Step 10

Start removing all of the screws in the bottom of the machine that hold the case together. They are very small, and they can easily be stripped, so be sure to use the correctly sized screwdriver for the job. Do not remove any screws that secure the LCD screen to the machine, unless necessary.

Step 11

Carefully open the case. There may be hidden clips that can break if they are forced open. On some machines, they keyboard may need to be removed or lifted out of the way.

Step 12

Draw a picture of the component locations before taking anything else apart. This will help you to assemble the machine correctly after the job is done.

Step 13

Disconnect any wires that are connected to the motherboard. Unplug any cards, such as the video card, that are not built directly into the motherboard. Locate the mounting screws for the motherboard and unscrew them.

Step 14

Remove the old motherboard, mount the new unit and reassemble the parts in reverse order.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some wires found within the case of a laptop are very fragile. Do not stretch or twist them.