How To Open Computer Cases Safely

It used to be considered dangerous to attempt to open computer cases in your own home. However now days people ignore this idea and take the risk by repairing their own computers. If you must open your computer case, then there are some common precautions to adhere to. Different computer cases open in different ways. For example a desktop computer case may have two clips or buttons on either side, and when pressed, the case slides off. A tower computer case may need to have screws removed at the back to enable the sides to slide off. Cases are now being designed with easy access as a top priority.

Why would people want to open computer cases?

  1. The most common reason to open computer cases is to upgrade computer memory that is located inside the computer case.
  2. They need to remove dust from their computer as part of their computer maintenance.

How to open a computer case safely

There was always the idea that you needed an antistatic strap before opening a computer case. This is undoubtedly is the safest way to open computer cases, however there are other options. If you do have an antistatic strap I do recommend that you use it, however do not panic if you do not have one. Here is a picture of one of my computers and I have opened the computer case. All I had to do was remove a couple of screws from the back and slide the side of the case backwards, away from the front. These are the best computer cases to open as they are very obvious and easy. Some computer cases I have tried to open have been an absolute nightmare. I could not believe how some computer case manufacturers made it so difficult to open their computer cases. You needed to be a magician to get inside.

open computer cases

Here are a few tips from a self confessed, no frills, computer techie.

How To Open Computer Cases Safely with the correct tools

  1. Remove all power cords that are connected to the computer case.
  2. This includes network cables, modems, printers, everything…Wait a few seconds as the power leaves the main board.
  3. Make sure your hands are clean and definitely DRY. Remove all jewelry.
  4. Open your computer case by unscrewing or unclipping. See your computer manual for instructions if you have problems. Older computers can be difficult to open. Keep any screws or spare parts in a safe place.
  5. To protect your computer from static electricity stored on your body, (ESD) continually touch the unpainted metal part of the computer case to discharge any static. Or if you have a antistatic or grounding strap, use that. This will prevent the static sensitive components from being ruined. (memory, video card, motherboard)
  6. Ok. Now you are ready to work on the insides of your computer.

How to open computer cases – different brands

Different brands of computers or cases open in a completely different way. Here are some examples for you. Please be careful when opening a computer case as sometimes there can be sharp bits. Always take your time and stop and think before you do anything.

  • To open a dell desktop GX260, or GX270 there are two buttons to press in and then lift the case open like a hinged door. If you have a tower case it is the same and you have to press the two buttons and then swing the door open in standing position.
  • To open a HP D510 tower desktop you need to unscrew the tiny knobs at the back, then slide back the the two sides and top together.
  • To open a HP D510 small form desktop there are two buttons, one on either side of the case. Press them both in and slide the top, sides and front off in one piece. You slide it off towards the front.
  • To open a HP D530 small form desktop you can undo the thumbscrew at the back of the case. The top plate of the computer will slide toward the back of the computer. When sliding the top back on it sometimes knocks off the face plate.
  • To open a Dell Dimension 8200 Desktop Computer it is best to lay the computer on its face. This means to put the CD drives and the front of the computer on the bench. You will see a button to press and the side of the computer hinge down like a door.
  • To open a generic computer case, usually a plain desktop case, there will be screws at the back. They might be Phillips head screws or possibly thumb screws.

Open computer cases with screws

Open Computer cases with screws you need to make sure you are taking the right screws out. If you look at the picture below the arrows are pointing to the screws that are holding the sides of the computer case on. On the metal part there are also screws but they are holding the computer components in. For example I have circled a screw in the picture below that holds the power supply into the computer. The screws with the Arrow is pointing to them are the ones that you need to remove.

Before you start removing screws, take a good look at the computer. In the picture below you can see where all the plugs go into the back of the computer with all the coloured port’s. This means that the motherboard is lying on that side of the computer. Therefore to access the inside the computer you will want to open the opposite side.If you open the side where the motherboard is laying on, you will be faced with the back of the flat motherboard and no way to work on the computer. Therefore in the picture below I would remove the side on the right. After removing the screws, the side will simply slide back toward me.

Video showing you how to open computer cases – Different cases require different steps.

Here is a video on how to open computer cases as there are so many different types available. If you have the generic kind which is pictured above then you have an easy job.

Now you know how to open computer cases safely, you should also read How to clean the inside of your computer safely.

Comments

  1. says

    Before opening the computer case make sure you plug out the power supply and anything that connects, static can be a problem if not plugging out. And when it plugging out all the wire then you can open the case of the computer and make sure are a careful enough not to damage your hardware.

  2. Paulette says

    I am a self taught; slow learner, concerning computers & have found some of this helpful. I do have a question concerning laptops; where is the fan? Where do I spray the air to remove the dust? Is it ok to spray it on my keyboard? Seems this is where most of the dust ect. ends up (as I live in a rural area on a dusty gravel road, my computer accumulates dust & other items. Is it ok to use a vac on the keyboard? Thanks for all the info!!

    • says

      You can feel the air coming from your laptop when it is on. When blowing dust out, Keep blowing through the vents until the dust has stopped coming out. Then go to the other vent and blow dust back the other way. continue until no dust comes out. :)

  3. says

    After reading this I think anyone would be comfortable opening a computer case. Initially I thought such things should only be done by technicians but now I think anyone can open a computer case as long as you are old enough.

  4. says

    My Dell Aurura ALX has a big sliding button on the top which needs sliding to unlock the side, then you can simply slide the whole side of the case upwards.

    It’s always worth remembering NOT to use too much force or you could bend something and have problems closing the case… Useful to remember if you’re as heavy handed as me!

  5. Tonia says

    Need help…laptop wont start up…only black screen…can hear fan running and cd rom, but only black screen…help please

  6. says

    I remember having to do this! I have not owned a desktop PC for about 8 years – I’ve always had laptops, but when I did have a desktop I would have to slide the case off for cleaning and sometimes, to let it cool down. Those were the days…

    • says

      I do not recommend opening a laptop so you could blow compressor air in where the fan is, and dust will come out …but this is not the best way of course.. It would be better take it somewhere to get it done.

  7. Owais Charag says

    Dear it was good to read your suggestions…I have small issue with my PC. It has D945GCR Motherboard 1 GB Ram installed. Problem is black scree, when i press ON button the CPU fans start and it also seem computer is booting but there is no display, and constantly the led of floppy drive keep glowing. I checker RAM, Processor, Processor Fan, Power Connections disconnected HDD, DVD ROM, FDD but still same problem. I am not able to figure out wht is the problem and which part is not functionig..What is your suggestion.

    • Khairul says

      I have encountered the same problem, but unfortunately, for both of us, this means that the motherboard has shorted, may be due to static, and cannot be repaired. You need a new motherboard.

  8. says

    You are my angel! Thank YOU soooo much for this website. I already had been taught some of this stuff but as I am aging LOL my mind slips…so I wrote it down.

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