Hardware

How to replace a broken laptop screen

A cracked screen can make a laptop unusable. Luckily, you can fix it. Bill Detwiler gives you step-by-step instructions for replacing a broken laptop LCD panel.

Whether it's cracked or has one too many blown pixels, a broken laptop display can stop you dead in your tracks. But with the right tools, a little technical know-how, and a bit of patience you can replace a damaged LCD.

Note: In this article and video, I show you how to replace the screen on an Asus UL50V notebook, which has an LED-backlit LCD. Depending on the make and model of your laptop, the internal hardware and specific steps may vary. The general process however, should be the same.

Should you try this fix?

If accidental damage is covered under your laptop's warranty, don't do this fix yourself. Get the laptop repaired under the warranty.

I also suggest you watch my earlier video on what to know before trying to fix a smartphone or tablet. It's not specifically about laptops, but the information is still relevant, and it will help you decided if you should repair the machine yourself or take it to a shop.

Lastly, understand that if you follow the instructions in this video, you do so at your own risk. Neither CNET nor any of its representatives can be held responsible for injury, damage, or loss of data.

Getting a replacement screen and tools

To begin your fix, you'll need a few simple tools and a replacement LCD screen. For tools, I recommend a screwdriver with a variety of small bits, such as a Phillips #00 and a Torx T5. It's also a good idea to have a few thin metal blades or plastic spudgers. These are really handy for removing the trim that surrounds the screen.

As for the replacement LCD, you should be able to buy one either from the laptop manufacturer's authorized parts dealer or a third-party supplier. Depending the screen, they usually cost between $50 and $250 dollars--more if it's a high-end display or you buy an OEM replacement. Regardless, you'll want to buy a new screen that matches your broken one exactly. The only sure way to do this is to remove the broken one.

1. Remove the screen bezel

After disconnecting the power supply and removing the battery, carefully examine the bezel around the screen. You'll need to remove this bezel to access the screws that hold the LCD panel in place.

On this laptop, several rubber cushions hide screws, which hold the bezel in place. I'll need to remove these cushions and the screws that are underneath.

With the hidden screws removed, I used a thin metal blade to pop loose one of the bottom corners and worked my way around the bezel with a plastic spudger.

Note: Your laptop may not have cushions or hidden screws. The bezel may simply snap onto the lid or be held in place with double-side tape. Just, adapt my instructions to fit your specific laptop.

Regardless of how you do it, you'll need to completely remove the bezel.

2. Remove the broken LCD panel

With the LCD's mounting brackets exposed, you can remove the screws that secure it to the lid. Then rest the display front-side-down on the case and disconnect its cable.

If your laptop was made before 2010 and has a LCD with fluorescent backlights, it will likely have two cables. But as this is an LED-backlit LCD, it only has one.

Now, locate the manufacturer's label and note the model number. Using this information you should be able to buy an exact match for your broken screen.

3. Install the new LCD panel

Once your new screen arrives, unpack it and make sure it matches the old one.

If the dimensions, mounting brackets, and connector all match, you ready to install the screen. Connect the new panel to the cable, position the panel in the lid, and secure it using the appropriate screws.

4. Test the new LCD panel and reinstall the bezel

Before reattaching the bezel, it's a good idea to test the new panel. Reconnect the battery and power cable and turn the machine on. If the display works, you can reattach the bezel and any external screws and rubber cushions. The repair is now complete.

As fixes go, this one isn't too tough, but it does take a little patience and planning to make sure you get the right replacement screen.

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

42 comments
cbumpkin
cbumpkin

I am having problems with my laptop screen. The bottom right hinge broke and bit into the wires there. I have no idea what these wires are called therefore I cannot get a replacement for them. These have a connector on them that connects from the inverter to the motherboard.  Anyone KNow?

Chrisy28
Chrisy28

Yesterday I broke the screen of my HP laptop that was bought only a year ago. The whole screen was gone that I have to hook up an external monitor to continue using my laptop. Luckily I found this article and even more lucky my old Acer laptop screen fits perfectly. The whole job took less than 15 minutes.

This post has saved me at least $200! Thanks Bill Detwiler!

ernesto099
ernesto099

I have an Asus Vivobook and I accidently dropped my laptop today and the upper left part of my screen cracked. It is not very noticeable but I think that over time the whole screen can crack if I don't fix it. My laptop is touch screen and after it cracked the touch screen feature stopped working so I think that a cable could be loose inside. I was think thinking about sending it to Asus but I would have to pay for the repair I think that it will be too expensive. I want to fix my laptop myself but I cant figure out how to open my screen. It does not have any screws around the screen. Does anyone know how to open the screen on a Asus Vivobook laptop.

lajthabalazs
lajthabalazs

I recently bought a refurbished M6700 that has only the HD+ (1600x900) screen. I realized that with the 17" screen, that resolution is not enough. I went online and found very cheap (

galaxycomptr
galaxycomptr

At first I was hesitant about replacing the screen but after some research I bumped into this article and decided to give it a try to save myself some money. I bought my screen at http://www.nylaptopparts.com and then proceeded by following the instructions in the article and was able to successfully change the screen. One word of advice, be patient so that you dont end up breaking some other parts. So thanks once again for the article. Cheers.

mishawilliams
mishawilliams

Hi there Bill Detwiler! I always thought that replacing a replacement laptop screen was that hard so that i didn't try it. But when i read your article, I learned a lot. My old laptop has the same problem but i just sold it to CashForLaptops.com. Now, I know how to do this. Thanks.

kchimwanda
kchimwanda

My Samsung RV510 broke on the hinge. This is making it difficult for me either open or close it. Is there any adhesive or anything i can use to seal it? Or can i get covers for it? Where?

Graynett
Graynett

I had 2 similar Toshiba both in disarray, although with different problem. This repair tip returned a fully complete laptop to my inventory thank you

drakexxiii
drakexxiii

But since that day i do not know how to fit the screen to the real size of what is shown...for the display is bigger of th screen itself...and i cant do the trick to make it fit....any help?¿?¿¿ Please

sub_me_too
sub_me_too

Hi, it is great help. Any best place to buy the screens?

lysagdsl
lysagdsl

Depends on the age of the machine, cost of the new screen, and how sure you are about your ability to complete the job. I have twice looked at doing this. Once I decided to keep the machine but use an external display (am still using that one), the other time I decided the machine was too old to justify the repair, it was better to use the cost of the replacement screen as part of the investment in a better machine.

frank.doyle
frank.doyle

Suggest that you visit the mfgr.website to see if "dismantling instructions are available. I found Dell's repair info to be very helpful. Frank

pessimist
pessimist

I couldn't resist the pawn shop $15 Think Pad with a cracked screen...SO found a supplier of a screen that was ALMOST the right size.Outside measurement the same, but display area about 1/4 inch larger all around . Hell at $35 bucks, go for it. They also included the converter stick. Dissassembly was very careful and slow. matching things up very slow too so as to not make a mess of the very dodgey contact rubber gizmos. I shaved the bezel down the needed 1/4 inch, and got it all togeather. Vi va! Thinkpad,lives again. I could have used the video, but that was about 5 years ago. Gained a lot of respect for the Thinkpad engineering, But don't risk a lot of dough, 'cause there are a number of ways you can kill a sick screen forever..

colleenesh
colleenesh

My son's sony vaio screen is fine, but move the screen back or forward a tiny bit & the screen goes haywire (crazy colors & lines & chaos). Does that mean the trouble is in the hinge portion - or the wires inside that? Or is it the screen that's bad?

fmlamp
fmlamp

I just replaced a screen to this model laptop and would like to add that you REALLY need to see how the old screen is attached before ordering the new screen. Although I was careful to match all the spec's from info in my +5 year laptop's original manual and purchase order, I still ran into a "little" problem when I opened up my laptop. It so happens that this model has an inverter board that's actually attached to a wrap-around metal band with what were 4 rivet-like attachments. Had I known the multi-rivet like attachments were involved, I may not have elected to try replacing the screen. Just separating the inverter from the the screen's band was really a slooooow pushing & pulling rivet popping process. I could have very easily cracked the CCA or caused ESD damage. Repeating: Check out the old attachment method BEFORE ordering. Luckily nothing went wrong and I now have a beautiful 17" laptop that's now missing all the vertical multi-colored lines that this model began to increasingly display a few years ago. Several internet searches revealed my 9300 wasn't the only one having this problem after the warranty expired.

teakon9
teakon9

Different manufactures have different rules. Replaced a cracked screen on an HP still under warranty for anything except dropping the laptop. Not as simple as instructions here, but still doable. Price for LCD from 3rd party $85 with free shipping. Repair manual easily found online. Once keyboard and miscellaneous components removed, able to disconnect cable to screen. Ninety minutes later, new screen looks like it was new.

PhilippeV
PhilippeV

Actually the DIY hint does not help : to get the exact panel that will fit and work in your laptop, you won't have a lot of providers to get it, or the manufacturer will provide it only through international purchases, in other currencies, an in a very unsecure way. More : the cost for getting it may even be higher than buying a new replacement laptop. So the best to do is to connect a VGA or HDMI cable to connect it to another display, turning the builtin panel off with the function key. Then perform the necessary backups before your PC completely dies due to permanent damages to the graphics card which could easily overheat with the electric shortcuts in the panel (that's why you should turn the LCD panel completely off, to protect your internal graphics card, and even possibly your battery). Immediately you can disconnect the panel connector(s) from the moterboard. May be you'll recycle this laptop only as a screenless storage storage solution, or to host an additional media DLNA center on your LAN, for playing musics or videos on your TV or on another PC, or to host a specific local web service, or as a firewall (connected to your In Internet router with the Ethernet cable, and hosting a wifi hotspot, which should be enough to connect your external smartphone or tablet). May be it will help to simplify the maintenance of its installed OS : install some simple Linux distrib on it to replace Windows with an automatic maintenance scheme. Install an RDP virtual desktop server on it, so that you can administrate it from another PC, without having to physically reconnect it to its own physical display.

don.doerr
don.doerr

In the case of a broken screen, you have to replace. However, what would be truly helpful is instructions on how to fix these screens. I have repaired hundreds of screens by replacing backlights (available for $8 to $20), resoldering matrix drivers, reseating connectors and replacing fuses (under $2) on inverter boards. Now those are real fixes. Most "techs" have no idea this can be done.

boucaria
boucaria

I Like the instructional. Thanks, as always, for your insight and help. Would you advise using this approach for MAC Laptop screens ? I have a MAC Book Pro that is fading and I don't know if it will be easier for me to do the fix, or get a MAC specialist to fix it. Thanks

fredustng
fredustng

Thanks for this presentation...

nargundkarshekhar
nargundkarshekhar

Bill, Thanks for useful tips. However, this presentation does not clearly show how to disconnect and reconnect electrical wires (one more photo should have been added). Moreover, it is likely that same model of LCD may not be available after 2-3 years (for laptops mfd before 2010), so old broken screen may have two wires, whereas new replacement screen may have one wire. In such event how does one proceed?

holymonkeyseyebrow7
holymonkeyseyebrow7

while you have the bezel off, would be to check the hinge screws to make sure they are tight. This will ensure there is no extry play in the lid as it opens and closes.

EJCServant
EJCServant

It always seems easy watching videos, but, after replacing some of them, the screws can really be a pain in the a**. On some of the older laptops, they can be very difficult to get loose. Sometimes, there's ALOT of patience needed in doing it.

Ronman1961
Ronman1961

I have found that there are instructional videos on YouTube that walk you through changing screens of many different types of computers. Use a computer to fix a computer.

johnbannon
johnbannon

Great post Bill, just repaired a laptop that was playing up and then gave up display altogether 3 months ago. found the connector inside had come loose.

richard.m.henry
richard.m.henry

Who makes that screwdriver set? It looks pretty sweet.

jcqs.bchrd
jcqs.bchrd

Hi, the HMM (Hardware Maintenance Manual) of my T60's describes clearly the steps to dismount and replace all the parts of the computer. This manual is availble on the net. No more comments. J. Bouchard

janiearas
janiearas

@ernesto099 same mine is also a touch screen and it was only 2 weeks old. its a toshiba and i got it at staples. do you guys think that its covered


HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And adjust it there. How you actually achieve that depends on the OS you are using and what Software you have installed. Most Catalyst Control Centers the Software that comes with the ATI Cards/Chip Sets overrides the OS. The nVidia Software generally speaking doesn't. Col

stevew
stevew

Either tape it securely or replace it

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I was able to buy the replacement panel used in this video for $50 + shipping and taxes. As this machine was only two years old, it was well worth the cost to replace the screen. Had the machine been 5+ years old and the screen cost $250, then no, it wouldn't have made much sense to replace the screen.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I considered including backlight and inverter board replacement in the video. I didn't for several reasons. First, I try to keep my videos to around five minutes. And, there's only so much material I can cover within this time limit. Second, I was focusing on cracked screens, not dim screens caused by a failed inverter or backlight. Third, even if I was talking about a blow inverter or backlight, you should always weigh the cost of the repair vs. the time/effort involved. The replacement LCD panel used in this video cost $50. In my opinion, the time required to disassemble the panel and replace the backlight would have far outweighed the cost of replacing the whole panel. Also, the LED-backlit LCDs don't have a separate inverter board like the old CCFL-backlit ones.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Unfortunately, the bezels on the 2011 MacBook Pros and current Airs are held to the lid with adhesive. A heat gun and thin metal blade are often required to remove them. On the newer MacBook Pros, there's actually a glass panel infront of the actual LCD panel. Again, a heatgun and thin blade are required to separate it from the lid.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I debated wether to include a photo of me disconnecting the cable and one of an older, CCFL-backlit LCD. As the video shows me disconnecting the cable, I originally omitted a photo of the process in the article. But since you asked for it, I've put it in.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I use screwdrivers and tools from several sources, but the ones show in this video come from iFixit.com.

colleenesh
colleenesh

so I open up the hinges & the wires will be in there?

ashleylynn14
ashleylynn14

I have the same computer as in this video (asus ul50v) and I just cracked the screen! Where did you find a replacement screen? I can only seem to find one for the ul50vt. Thanks! p.s. sorry if the link is already here somewhere I couldn't find it!

richard.m.henry
richard.m.henry

Thanks for the quick reply Bill. I just ordered one. Great site as well. Keep up the great work. I really enjoy everything you do.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But you should have 1 or 2 Wires between the M'Board and the Monitor. One may be a Ribbon Cable which has cracked or it could be a straight Wire Bundle. If it's a wire bundle check to make sure that the lead isn't being pulled and part way pulling the connector off the Connection at either end, while it's not common it wouldn't be the first time that things like that happen either. ;) Col