How to Perform Computer Surgery
1. Find the right workspace. Good light, nice air and plenty of room are essential. Working in tight spaces or under your desk will benefit only your local repair shop.
2. Avoid Electrostatic charges. Unplug the computer. Even when powered off, some PCs deliver current to the motherboard, which can send a damaging shock to both you and your PC. Always ground yourself; Electrostatic charges can destroy your device. Use a grounding strap or touch an unpainted, metal portion of the chassis before unplugging the PC and handling hardware components.
3. Remove the cover. Some PCs have covers that pop off easily without tools; others require a small Phillips screwdriver or a six-sided torque driver. Place screws (and any other hardware you remove) in a cup or box.
4. Clear the path. If a rat's nest of cables and power cords hinders your way in to the interior of the case, remove them first. Labeling each cord and connector will save you time during reassembly.
5. Removing or replacing an expansion card. Start by removing the bracket screw that holds the card in the chassis. Handle the card on its edges only; avoid direct contact with any chips or circuitry. Apply even pressure across the length of the card when inserting or removing it, and make sure you don't bend the motherboard.
6. Changing a DIP switch or jumper. If you don't have a manual that locates the switch or jumper on the motherboard and describes how to set it, don't guess. A mistake can fry your motherboard. And be careful with jumper pins they can bend easily.
7. Adding or removing a hard disk drive. Prepare the drive first: Set any jumpers or switches on your hard drive to their proper master or slave settings before sliding the drive into a hard-to-reach drive bay. Sometimes it's helpful to use a small piece of compressed foam or cardboard to line up the drive's screw holes with those in its bay.
8. Check your connections. Just before putting it back the casing cover, recheck all your cables and connections one last time. Power connectors sometimes require a stiff push to seat properly.