• Does a Broken Screen Mean Your Laptop Is Doomed?

    November 2, 2018 | Blog
  • If you're someone who has owned a lot of different laptops over years, you're not alone. One in three laptops will fail or break within the first three years of ownership. They are getting more powerful and lighter, which can actually contribute to rates of repair.

    The laptop screen itself is a giant magnet for damage, of course. One slight bump or drop from a few feet is all it takes to crack one. Usually, the internals of a laptop can take a beating, especially with solid state drives becoming standard.

    If you've had the misfortune of encountering a broken laptop screen, don't panic! We have the rundown on what you can do, should do, and what it will require of you.

    What to Do with a Broken Laptop Screen

    Laptop screens are often scratch-resistant, but like smartphones, they can easily crack. If they are struck by something hard at the right angle, they'll shatter like a mirror. You may still be able to see most of your desktop, but obviously not an attractive look.

    These are your options when dealing with a cracked laptop screen.

    Plug in Another Monitor

    If you look on the side of your laptop, you should see an HDMI port. This is for adding a second screen to your desktop. If your primary screen is shot, then you should be able to plug in any monitor and it will automatically detect it.

    You can get a decent 21" 1080p monitor for under $100 these days. If you are on a tight budget, you can just buy one and return it after you have found a permanent solution for your broken laptop screen.

    Everything else on your laptop should work the same, you just lose your portability. This will at least allow you to back up all your files and do some work before deciding on the next step. Then, you'll have a decision to make: do I repair it, hire someone else to repair it, or buy a new one?

    Repairing Your Laptop

    First thing's first: are you 100% certain that your laptop is no longer under warranty? Are you able to purchase an extended warranty at an affordable rate? Yes, we know buying insurance and then filing a claim right after looks suspicious.

    You could wait a few weeks, preferably a month after extending the warranty and you shouldn't have any problems. Of course, if you can't purchase an extended warranty, your options will be down to repairing and replacing. You can either go the DIY route or hire a professional to do it.

    DIY Repairing

    The first step to repairing your laptop screen yourself is to research disassembly instructions online. The most helpful instructions come in the form of YouTube tutorials or blog posts with detailed pictures. Oftentimes, the manufacturer will either have limited or no instructions on self-repair.

    If you like you're in over your head on this, don't worry, professional laptop repair services can handle everything. They will bill you for the new screen and replacement and you will not have to worry about making a costly mistake.

    You can start off by removing the screen to move it out of the way if you're using an external monitor. It will look weird, but your laptop will still be operational. Removing a laptop screen will require opening it up, maneuvering cables, unhooking brackets, and possibly taking out other components to get to them.

    Installing the New Screen

    Hopefully, your disassembly process goes smoothly and you've noted how everything goes back together. Your next task is to replace the screen with the exact same model number. Some brands use the same screen across multiple generations, which can make it easier to find them.

    You'll need to get the specific part number and search for reputable sellers online. You're going to find the best deals on replacement parts on eBay, but you may not have the same protections. The same issues you run into with TVs and other monitors will be present with laptop replacement screens.

    You want to look for a dead-pixel guarantee and sellers with lots of feedback. You can purchase an extended warranty if you wish, but it doesn't really help much since most screens show signs of failure within the first 30 days or less.

    Be careful when installing the new screen. Static electricity and placing too much pressure on the edges are two ways to cause damage without realizing it. If everything goes back together the way it was, you should be in business.

    When to Buy a New Laptop

    Sometimes you just have to cut your losses if the damage is too great. If your laptop screen is not only cracked but bent, you should consider transitioning to a new laptop. If your laptop is already more than five years old, finding that replacement screen might be more than it's worth.

    Go ahead and take out that hard drive and back up all your information. Then, take your old laptop and put it on eBay for parts. You could get $50-100 even if it's a few generations old. Whatever you do, just don't throw it into the dumpster.

    Laptops contain a lot of materials that can be recycled and aren't good sitting in landfills.

    Get Professional Advice

    Whether dealing with a broken laptop screen or any other computer issue that is preventing you from using your laptop, you have options. There are some things you can do by yourself, like upgrading RAM and hard drive space. Then there are other repairs that are inaccessible due to just how compact and intricate laptops have become.

    Having a community computer service provider you can trust will save you a lot of time and money on computers. If you have any questions about your computer, big or small, feel free to contact us. We'll be happy to help you answer any questions you might have about hardware, software, viruses, and speeding up your computer.