Disassembling a laptop is important for certain occasions. For example, you might need to take a look at the internal components. Alternatively, there is a chance that you would want to replace certain components in your laptop, and taking it apart is important in that instance. To access its internal components, you need to unscrew the several screws that you would find in your laptop’s baseplate. The problem with that is that sometimes these screws can get stripped.
That’s because the screws that are used in laptops are quite small. If you use a screwdriver that’s too large or apply excessive pressure, the screws might get flattened or stripped. That would make it difficult for you to control them and take them out. It’s a very frustrating thing to go through, especially if you want to access your laptop’s interior for whatever reason. Luckily, there is a way to work around this problem, and we have described it in detail below. Just follow the suggestions that we give you, and your stripped screw worries will become a thing of the past!
Method #1 – Change Your Screwdriver
This method is important not just for removing stripped screws but also for preventing stripping in the first place. The first thing you should know is that laptop screws are very fragile. They are made to be soft so that they don’t add excessive weight to your computer. Hence, you might notice the screws starting to strip with even the slightest bit of excess pressure. Stop immediately if you feel the screws starting to give way, and never press into them if the screwdriver doesn’t fit into the grooves.
Instead, try using a different type of screwdriver. Most laptop screws require Phillips head screwdrivers, but the size of the head matters too. Try to fit the screwdriver into the grooves before you start turning, and only turn if it fits in perfectly. Apply very gentle pressure and see if the screws start to turn. You can make a lot of headway if you stop before a lot of stripping takes place. That would leave some of the grooves intact, and you can try out a different screwdriver to see what fits. Screwdrivers with magnetic heads are useful because they can look the head in place and allow the screws to turn.
Method #2 – Use Rubber Bands
The main reason stripped screws are so difficult to work with is that they are tough to grip. Hence, anything that can increase friction would be useful because it would make them easier to grip. Rubber bands work great in this regard because they can provide a lot more grip when you press them against the stripped screw.
To do this:
- Take a flat, wide rubber band
- Cut a small length of it and press it down without it twisting at either end
- Place a screwdriver in the groove once you’ve held it flat.
This method is great for when you have a partially stripped screw that requires a bit of extra grip.
However, this method might not work if you have a completely stripped screw. It’s meant for when your screw is a bit too far along for an alternate screwdriver to work, but sometimes the stripping is so severe that the head of the screw no longer has any grooves in it. The rubber band method won’t do much good if that’s the case, so you might want to try one of the other options discussed below.
Method #3 – Try Needle Nose Pliers
This method works best for screws that are thoroughly stripped. That means that the screws would have very shallow grooves or perhaps none at all. The screws used in your laptop are very small, so that you would need similarly sized pliers for the job. Extra-large pliers would only make matters worse because they would further flatten and smoothen out the screws.
The best pliers for this method are needle nose pliers because they are very thin. Hence, they can fit into the tiny spaces around the screws. Most laptops have screws that are recessed, which means that they don’t protrude from the base plate. That’s why needle nose pliers work so well here.
Grab one of the screws, make sure that your grip is tight, and then turn. Try to point your palms away from yourself in the initial grip so that you can make a full rotation without your wrist getting stuck halfway. A couple of rotations should do the trick. After that, the screw should come out entirely, and you can get to work on the rest of the screws right away. It’s the most effective method if your screws have been stripped beyond repair.
Method #4 – Use a Drill (The Nuclear Option)
Certain situations require you to take drastic measures, and if your screws are stripped to the point where even needle nose pliers can’t grip them, you might need to use such an option. A drill is a very powerful tool, and it will help you by eliminating the screws inside their recesses. Destroying the screws might seem a tad over the top, but if you need to get inside your laptop, there is no other method that would work as well.
Make sure you use a thin drill bit and add some lubrication to prevent it from getting damaged. Don’t go overboard with this method; otherwise, you might poke a hole through your motherboard. Apply gentle pressure to the trigger switch and blow into the hole to remove any fragments. Take a look at the hole to see if any pieces of the screw remain. If you notice the screw, just drill a bit more to remove it. Once the screws are all gone, you should be able to lift your baseplate without any further trouble.
If you are looking to refurbish an old laptop by yourself be sure to check our detailed guide here.
What is a stripped screw?
A stripped screw does not have any grooves left. That means that you won’t be able to remove them without using one of the methods we have discussed above.
How Does a Screw Get Stripped?
The most common cause of a stripped screw is an excessive force or improper technique. If the screw isn’t turning, stop trying to turn it. Doing so would only make you press downwards onto the screw and smoothen it out. Another cause is using the wrong type of screwdriver. A screwdriver that doesn’t fit into the grooves will damage them.
Why Should I Remove Stripped Screws?
There are lots of reasons for this. You need to be able to access your laptop’s interior for repairs and upgrades. Also, you should replace stripped screws immediately. Taking them out and replacing them with functional screws can save you a lot of frustration in the future.
Is It Possible to Remove Stripped Screws?
Yes. While the methods we have described might require a bit of DIY know-how, they can be implemented by anybody as long as you follow the steps we have outlined.