Learn how to properly remove a computer case to access the inside of the console. Once inside you can upgrade, replace, or repair various internal computer components.
- When you need to open your PC's console, you must follow certain procedures. Number one is that you don't kill yourself. I'm being a little facetious, but you must be careful when you open the computer box. You can hurt yourself, but more critically, you can damage the electronics. If your purpose is to repair or maintain something, than damaging things is the opposite direction you want to go. In this movie, I explore the proper process for opening a PC console and examining the items inside. This is like a typical PC console box.
It's not exactly like the one that you'll have. It's similar, it's a little bit higher-end, but all PC consoles have similar features. This is the front, and 'round there is the back where most of the cables connect. It's not necessary to disconnect the cables, though whether or not you do depends on how much work you plan on doing and what's happening inside the case. To access the inside of a mini tower PC console, you often remove the left side. That's the left side as you face the front of the console.
For computers in a desktop orientation, which is effectively a flat console, you remove the top. Some smaller-format computers, all-in-ones and laptops, aren't designed to be opened at all, so don't even try. Before you open the console, however, unplug the power supply. Don't simply turn off the power strip, and if the power supply has an on-off switch, which this one does not, don't switch it off. Instead, you must disconnect the power from the console. Now you can open it up.
Lower-end consoles have two or more screws that attach to the back of the left panel. Some of the fancier consoles like this one have a slider gizmo, but usually you have to remove the screws. You slide off the cover or pop it off, and behold. Here are the guts of a computer. Now, it may be a lot more crowded on what you see, but it's definitely going to look different than any diagram you've ever seen. Illustrators typically leave out all the messy cables. Here are the major parts. There's a power supply, which is down here in this unit.
In most units, you'll find it in the upper back. It's a modular device, and it can be removed and replaced easily. The power connects to everything else in the system that requires power. That includes the motherboard, the mass storage devices, a high-end graphics adapter, and that's usually it. The motherboard may be difficult to see because it's buried beneath all those cables, but it's back there. It's a clutch of electronics roosting on a sheet of fiberglass, which can be colored green or blue or red or whatever color the manufacturer's psychic claims is most profitable that quarter.
Another big item is the drive cage, which sits on the front of the console. It houses the PCs primary storage, which, in this system, is a hard drive. Expansion is available for additional drives, as well as an optical drive unit, which I've removed to make this console more visible. Punch-out panels on the front of the console accommodate drives with removable storage, which could be an optical drive, or maybe a media card reader. Other movies go into details on these major items, explaining what's what and why everything is important.
What you can do immediately is to clean the inside of the console, which isn't a frequent maintenance duty, but it's something I do whenever I open a PC. You can blast a can of air to blow away the dust, or use a tiny vacuum to clean away accumulated particulate matter. Dust acts as an insulator, so it might make the PC run hot. Be careful not to touch anything inside while you blow air into the console and vacuum around. Other movies cover in detail what can be done inside the console, and the final movie in this chapter covers how to close up the console when you're done fumbling around.
- Looking inside the computer
- Working with connectors and connections
- Exploring the motherboard
- Working with internal and external storage
- Adding expansion cards
- Configuring the graphics system
- Working with monitors and touch screens
- Accessing audio
- Connecting and configuring a printer
- Making network connections
- Setting up gateways
- Activating and deactivating Bluetooth