How to Disassemble a Dell Desktop Computer

By Jesse Adams

You may want to disassemble a Dell computer for a variety of reasons: you have a new computer and want to sell the parts of the old one on eBay; or maybe you want to install a new component into the computer, such as a DVD drive, second hard drive or additional RAM. While taking a computer apart can be daunting, the process is actually rather simple. Dell computers are especially easy to dismantle because the company realizes that consumers will eventually want to upgrade the components in their machines.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

Instructions

Step 1

Turn off your computer, and remove the power plug or make sure it's unplugged.

Step 2

Unplug any peripherals from the machine, including monitors, keyboards, Ethernet cables and anything else that may be attached to the computer.

Step 3

Ground yourself by touching a piece of metal. This will allow the static electricity in your body to be transferred into the metal, thus reducing the risk of ruining the inside components of the computer.

Step 4

Ground the motherboard by holding down on the computer's power button for 10 seconds. This essentially expels any electricity that may still be active in the motherboard.

Step 5

Place the computer on a flat surface and lay it on its side. The side with the computer cover should be facing up; this is noticeable because of two small screws erupting from the back, holding the cover in place.

Step 6

Remove the two screws holding the cover in place. In many cases you can use your fingers to remove them, however, if they are too tight, simply use a flat-head screwdriver.

Step 7

Firmly pull the cover away from the computer.

Step 8

Place the cover to the side.

Step 9

Determine which components you want to remove from the computer and unplug any cables that are connected to those components.

Step 10

Unscrew any hard drives, CD/DVD drives or other large components. The locations of these components and screws will vary depending on the model of your computer. However, Dell uses standard screws requiring only a Phillips screwdriver to release them.

Step 11

Remove the large components by sliding them out of their respective bays. The CD/DVD drives will be able to be pushed out of the computer and hard drives should slide fairly easily out of their locations.

Step 12

Locate the RAM slots. These are two to four long slots located near the CPU fan.

Step 13

Remove the RAM by firmly pressing the clips at either end of each occupied slot. Once these clips are released, each RAM stick will be ejected from the slot.

Step 14

Locate any cables still connected to the motherboard. This includes any cables that were previously attached to internal components, cables leading to buttons on the machine, and the power supply cables.

Step 15

Unplug these cables by firmly pulling them out of their sockets on the motherboard.

Step 16

Remove the motherboard by unscrewing the seven screws located around its perimeter using the Phillips screwdriver.

Tips & Warnings

  • Note that any time you open the case of your computer, you run the risk of voiding your warranty.

References & Resources