Disassembly and Reassembly of a Computer

Disassembly and Reassembly of a Computer

CIS 118

Disassembly and reassembly of a computer.

Okay people, this is where it gets tricky! You need to be using a computer that is not your primary machine. The college can provide a machine for you to check out of necessary. If you have an older machine at home you don’t mind using, that is fine too. Just realize that if this exercise is not performed properly, it can to damage to your computer.

You cannot complete this lab in one setting. Be prepared to wait for an answer from me before completion (powering on). It may take me 24 hours during a business day to respond. Do not expect a response over the weekend (though I do try). Prepare for this when you are planning to meet deadlines.

The lab will follow. You will see my notes in pink and red when you need to take a digital photo and place it in a word document. You may never have done that before, and that is okay. Contact me if that is the case. Between myself and the lab assistants, we will figure out your system and a proper method to accomplish this task. The following is scanned from your textbook, page 146-148. I have added notes that are important for you to follow to succeed in a distance education format.

Hands On Exercise 2. Computer Disassembly/Reassembly

Objective: To disassemble and reassemble a microcomputer correctly


 A computer to disassemble

 A toolkit

 An antistatic wrist strap

 Digital Camera

Note:Observe proper ESD handling procedures when disassembling and reassembling a microcomputer. Very important!


1. Gather the proper tools needed to disassemble the computer.

2. Clear as much workspace as possible around the computer.

3. Power on the computer, go into Setup, and write down or print all configuration information.

Why is it important to write down the configuration information of any computer that is disassembled? (answer in the Word file. Label as step 3).

4. Turn the computer and all peripherals off. Remove the power cable.

5. Note where the monitor cable plugs into the back of the computer. Disconnect the monitor including the power cord and move it to a safe place. Take appropriate notes. Take a picture of the back of the computer. Insert this in the Word document as step 5

External Cables

6. Remove all external cables from the back of the computer. Take notes on the location of each cable. Move the peripheral devices to a safe place.

Did the mouse cable connect to the PS/2 or USB port? (answer in the Word file. Label as step 6).

Computer Case Removal

7. Remove the computer case. This is usually the hardest step in disassembly if the computer is one that has not been seen before. Diagram the screw locations. Keep the cover screws separate from other screws. An egg carton or a container with small compartments makes an excellent screw holder. Label each compartment and reuse the container. Labeling is VERY important

Adapter Placement

8. Make notes or draw the placement of each adapter in the expansion slots. Take a picture. Label as step 8

9. On your notes, draw the internal cable connections before removing any adapters or cables from the computer. Make notes regarding how and where the cable connects to the adapter. Do not forget to include cables that connect to the motherboard or to the computer case.
List some ways to determine the location of pin 1 on an adapter or cable. Take a picture. Label as step 9. Also draw the diagram. You will be amazed at how much more you will remember when attempting to reassemble.

Internal Cable Removal

10. Remove all internal cables. Make appropriate notes regarding the cable connections. Some students find that labeling cables and the associated connectors makes reassembly easier, but good notes usually suffice. You can use colored Sharpie pens to mark the board and the cable. Use different colors to match the correct cable to the correct connector.

Adapter Removal

11. Start with the left side of the computer (facing the front of the computer) and locate the left-most adapter.

12. Write down any jumpers or switch settings for this adapter. This step may need to be performed after you remove the board from the computer if the settings are inaccessible.

13. Remove the screw that holds the adapter to the case. Place the screw in a separate, secure location away from the other screws already removed. Make notes about where the screw goes or any other notes that will help you when reassembling the computer.

14. Remove the adapter from the computer.

Why must you be careful not to touch the gold contacts at the bottom of each adapter? Answer in the word file. Label step 14

15. Remove the remaining adapters in the system by repeating Steps 12-15. Take notes regarding screw locations, jumpers, switches, and so forth for each adapter. Take a picture. Insert into the Word file labeled as step 15


16. Remove all power connections to drives, such as hard drives, floppy drives, CD and DVD drives, etc. Note the placement of each drive and each cable, and any reminders needed for reassembly. Take a picture. Insert into the Word file as step 16

17. Remove any screws holding the drives in place. Make notes where the screws go. Keep these screws separate from any previously removed screws.

18. Remove all drives.

Why must you be careful when handling a hard drive? Answer in the Word file. Label as step 18.

Power Supply

19. Remove the connectors that connect the power supply to the motherboard.

20. Take very good notes here so you will be able to insert the connectors correctly when reassembling. Take a picture. Insert into the Word file as step 20.

21. Remove the power supply.

What is the purpose of the power supply? Answer in the Word file. Label as step 21


22. Take note of any motherboard switches or jumpers and indicate if the switch position is on or off.

What is the importance of documenting switches and jumpers on the motherboard? Answer in the Word file. Label as step 22

23. Remove any remaining connectors except those that connect a battery to the motherboard. Take appropriate notes. Take a picture. Insert into the Word file labeled as step 23

24. Remove any screws that hold the motherboard to the case. Place these screws in a different location from the other screws removed from the system. Write any notes pertaining to the motherboard screws.

25. Remove the motherboard. Make notes pertaining to the motherboard removal. The computer case should be empty after you complete this step.

Take a picture. Insert into the Word file labeled as step 25

Reassembly: the fun part! Before continuing, ensure that the quality of the pictures is good and easy for you to use to reassemble the computer with.

26. Reassemble the computer by reversing the steps for disassembly. Pay particular attention to the cable orientation when reinstalling cables. Refer to your notes (and your pictures). The first step is to install the motherboard in the computer case and reconnect all motherboard connections and screws

27. Install the power supply by attaching all screws that hold the power supply in the case. Reattach the power connectors to the motherboard. Refer to your notes (and your pictures).

28. Install all drives by attaching screws, cables, and power connectors. Refer to your notes (and your pictures). Attach any cables that connect the drive to the motherboard.

29. Install all adapters beginning with the one closest to the power supply and working toward the outside of the case. Attach all screws and cables from the adapter to the connecting device. Refer to your previous notes and diagrams (and your pictures).

30. Connect any external connectors to the computer. Refer to previously made notes when necessary (and your pictures).

STOP! Take a CLOSE UP picture, insert into your Word document and email the document to me. Indicate that you are ready to put on the cover and power up the computer. I will inspect the picture to see if I can spot any trouble signs. In the subject line of the email, put “CIS 118 Ready to go”. When you receive the “good to go” message from me, continue on.

31. Replace the computer cover. Ensure slot covers are replaced and that the drives and the front cover is aligned properly. Ensure all covers are installed properly.

32. Reinstall the computer's power cable.

33. Once the computer is reassembled, power on all external peripherals and the computer. A chassis intrusion error message may appear. This is just an indication that the cover was removed. Take a picture of the computer monitor with the power on and Windows XP screen showing so I can see that the computer is working. Insert this into the Word document labeled as step 33

Did the computer power on with POST error codes? If so, recheck all diagrams, switches, and cabling. Also, check a similar computer model that still works to see if you made a diagramming error. A chapter on logical troubleshooting comes next in the book. However, at this point in the course, the most likely problem is with a cable connection or with an adapter not seated properly in its socket.