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My laptop gave me the “black screen of death” the other day. It was Friday night, to be exact, around 11pm. If you do not know what the “black screen of death” is, believe me you NEVER want to experience it.

Needless to say, I can’t access my hard drive with all my files I have not backed up recently (you don’t really need them until your computer stops working anyway). Therefore, I am writing this post about my adventures with dead laptop from DH’s computer and sharing with you how YOU CAN be nerdy and attempt to fix your computer yourself! Please forgive the quality of the only picture I was able to include. It is from my phone since I haven’t had time to sync DH’s computer to my camera.

You don’t HAVE to take it to a repair shop!

In my case, the laptop was dead. The CPU stopped working(heart failure), so it’s not like I can hurt it by trying to fix it myself. My computer is NOT under warranty, which is another step you can take first.  This is what I did:

  1. Researched my specific laptop and what might be wrong. I searched terms like “black screen of death” and “laptop does not wake up”. If your research is restricted to internet only, use more than one website to confirm your findings. Use websites that are approved by your anti-virus software and that have a LOT of users or message board comments.
  2. My Laptop in PiecesIf you have a good idea of the problem, search YouTube for how-to videos. Fortunately yet unfortunately my laptop had several videos on how to fix my specific problem (you would think it would be a recalled problem with how much info I found). This gave me some confidence that I could attempt disassembly myself and when I reached a part of the laptop that was stuck, I looked at a different video to see if I was missing something.
  3. Try the “easy” fixes first. These include unplugging power cord/battery and pressing the power button for 10 sec-1 minute. This somehow resets something, and worked once when my keyboard stopped working. Wierd, but “easy”. Another easy fix for my case was to hold my palm firmly on the jkl; buttons for 30 seconds before starting my laptop. It didn’t work, but if it did I would not have had to go through the trouble of taking the thing apart.
  4. Ask for HELP if you need it! I have a few friends that I know won’t make me feel stupid if I ask questions. By the way, this is the first computer I have EVER even ATTEMPTED to take apart. This is something you can do.

Most importantly when you disassemble, draw a diagram and keep track of the screws. I was lazy and did not follow this advice. The first time I took it apart and reassembled I had 2 screws leftover. The second time I was missing 3 screws. I eventually found them attached to a magnetic part of the screen.

If it doesn’t work, try try again.

My laptop still does not work. I know what is wrong, but do not have(or want to spend) the money to fix it and will not be attempting the final “fix” until after Christmas because I just don’t have time. The final fix involves building some heat shield  so I can heat up the integrated video chip and apply pressure without harming the rest of the motherboard, then replace the thermal pad and add a penny to prevent overheating in the future. Whatever that means. I feel nerdy and love it.

All in all, I spent $0 since I already had the supplies-hubbie’s flashlight and a set of precision screwdrivers. Feel confident! Give it a try! Share your adventures of DIY repair!