3 simple PC repairs you can do yourself

PCs can be confusing, even scary, but it really doesn’t have to be. Especially when it comes to simple hardware upgrades, repairs and software updates.

Repair or update your computer

Of course, if you pay the expensive techies to repair your Windows system for you, but why would you? You can do the most repairs easily yourself, saving you a lot of money.

To begin, we discuss three repairs for which you almost never should pay someone else.

Upgrade or change RAM

If you know how to change an old cartridge from a video game or how to put a disc in your DVD player? Then you have the basic skills that you need to change RAM. Most PCs, especially laptops, offer easy access to your RAM. On laptops, you can usually easily access RAM by loosening a few screws on the underside of the housing.

Replace computer RAM
Most PCs, especially laptops, offer easy access to your RAM.

Once the screws are removed and your laptop is open, you just have to remove the old stick and click in the new memory – it only fits one way, so it can not go wrong – and you’re done. (If you’re upgrading a desktop, you will have at each end of the slot a grip to mess around with. These grips keep the memory in place.) Despite all the warnings, RAM is surprisingly robust. Be a little careful, but you do not have to be afraid.

There are some exceptions, such as MacBooks and Ultrabooks which solder their RAM on the motherboard, but such machines do not really count because you can’t really upgrade them.

The trickiest part of changing the RAM is not the physical installation, but the purchasing process. You must ensure that you get the right kind of RAM for your system based on the type that supports your motherboard, such as DDR2 or DDR3 plus the speed, which is designated in megahertz (MHz). If you know these two things you can get started.

Usually, you can find this information on the website of the manufacturer of your PC. There are also tools like Crucial System Scanner and CPU-Z to gather this information for you.

Replacing a laptop keyboard

Like RAM, many laptop keyboards are dead easy to replace. This may be necessary if your keyboard has not survived a can of soda or due to wear.

Replace laptop keyboard
Replacing a keyboard is easier then you think.

To replace you usually have to remove some screws, slide the keyboard out of the housing and loosen the data cable connected to the motherboard. To install the new keyboard, you do exactly the same, but in reverse order.

Note that this is usually the way that notebook keyboards work, but there will be exceptions. The best way to find out what your laptop needs is on YouTube to find a video on changing the keyboard of the same (or similar) type of laptop. Google’s video site has a lot of videos with explanations that show the process well. iFixit.com is also a good source for such information. After some research, you decide if you change the keyboard.

If you wonder where you are going to get a replacement keyboard, there are sites such as eBay and Craigslist was where you can obtain the necessary parts.

Reinstalling Windows

You do not need someone to install your operating system for you. And that goes double if you are running Windows 8.1, which has built-in tools for reinstalling Windows. If you plan to upgrade to Windows 10, the process reportedly still should be easier in the future.

The main thing you need to know about running a clean installation of Windows is that first you need to back up personal files to an external hard drive. Then use your system disks and start the clean installation process. You’ll also have to reinstall additional software such as Microsoft Office. Depending on the mode of acquisition of those software you need to download either from the manufacturer’s website or install from disk again.

Reinstall Windows
Don’t forget to backup your files before you reinstall Windows.

Just be sure you have your product codes on hand when it’s time to reinstall Windows. If you do not have to hand this, run the great program Belarc Advisor and write the information under Manage all your software licenses before you reinstall Windows.

Repairing a PC can be stressful, but if you’ve completed once one of these tasks, the other two are a piece of cake.