eHow Enticed Me to Brick My Laptop

FLASH – BREAKING – ALERT: Don’t believe what you read on the internet.

Especially those content farms that pay $1 per post so the owners can serve ads against the content., I’m looking at you.

The laptop has been acting up. If you call not booting acting up. I’d push the power button, it would hum for 10 seconds, flash and then shut down.

I tried the easy stuff:

  • new power source
  • different power source
  • different outlet
  • resetting the capacitors (remove all power and hold down power button)

No luck. So I checked out the stuff online and lots of places ( and the ilk) suggested that the CMOS battery might be dead. These are little batteries about the size of a dime that are fairly cheap, even here in the land of everything-costs-way-more.

So I poked around and found this

  1. Disconnect the power cord from the laptop and remove the main battery.
  2. Open the laptop computer’s screen and extend it as far back as it will go. Be careful not to stress the screen and cause any damage, but press it hard if needed.
  3. Press a flat head screwdriver under the front of the plastic bar lining the back of the laptop’s keyboard. Pry the bar up slightly and hold it with one hand
  4. Pry up the other side of the bar with the flat head screwdriver and fully pull out the bar. Keep its ribbon cord connected and set the bar on the laptop’s screen.
  5. Remove the two Phillips screws securing the computer’s keyboard. Slide the keyboard up and out to remove it. Again, do not remove its ribbon cord, and set the keyboard over the laptop’s touch pad.
  6. Remove the four screws securing the cover plate over the motherboard and remove the plate as well.
  7. Locate the CMOS battery at the bottom-right corner of the motherboard.
  8. Remove the battery by prying it up gently with the flat head screwdriver. Then, replace the battery with a new one of the same specifications.
  9. Replace all the parts in the laptop in the reverse order that you removed them.

Easy peasy. Nine easy steps.

With the encouragement of, I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained. OR, it was kaput anyway, so what the hey!

Except they LIE.

The laptop maker had buried the CMOS battery deep in the underbelly of  my beast.

I had to remove the display, remove the keyboard to even see the CMOS battery. Removing it was impossible. But since the computer wasn’t working anyway I still tried. I disconnected one thing on purpose: the display. But poking around, another tiny ribbon connector came loose. The only way to get that reconnected was to disconnect a whole bunch of other ribbon wires so I could get my fat fingers inside.

Yeah. These things aren’t meant to be taken apart by fat fingered people. The final straw in the brick was I broke a soldered connection.


I’m sad. The laptop was at least five years old and had a ton of use. There was nothing on the hard drive that was important (thank you Cloud.)  I could have schlepped the thing to town and got a guy to repair it for probably $100.  But I’ll probably replace it with a $400 laptop with far more bells and whistles, so there’s that.

I’m also sad because it will cut into my eating-junk-food and watching hi-def television time when I’m back in the states.  Shopping for a new laptop. So there’s that.

Maybe I’ll sign up with and start posting my helpful hints so I can earn some extra dollars.

  • How to peel a Mango
  • How to buy a used car in Costa Rica
  • How to kill toads
  • How to piddle away a whole day and not accomplish anything except cost yourself a bunch of money.

Thanks eHow.

For nada.


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eHow Enticed Me to Brick My Laptop — 6 Comments

  1. We ALMOST bricked Pat’s Dell, just before moving here, when we saw similar instructions about how “simple” it was to replace her laptop’s faulty cooling fan. It took both of us all afternoon, a box full of tools, eighty-eleven sandwich bags with post-its to sort and keep track of which microscopic fasteners went into which microscopic holes. Why, exactly, we didn’t irreparably break something must be strictly luck. I was so sure we’d wrecked it that I called out, “Smoke test!” when we got ready to push the power button. It worked but yesterday the “new” fan started to make funny noises. Geez.

    • Makes me feel a little better cuz you’re a lot smarter than I. Of course you were successful and me not. It’s still disassembled. I thought about bringing it to you for a project! 🙂

  2. I remember the first time I disassembled a laptop. I pulled up the keyboard and tore the ribbon cable right in half. Good times, good times…

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen a laptop with the CMOS battery behind the display. They must REALLY not want you to replace it yourself.

    If the hard drive is still working, take it out of the now-dead laptop and buy a little external case for it. They’re pretty cheap back here in Uhhhmerica, like $10-20. Then you can plug it into a USB port on your new laptop and recover all your files easy-peasy.

  3. Yes, Mark, we have one of those little cases for a laptop HD if you decide you need it.