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Many components in laptops are device specific, which makes it difficult to exchange one laptop screen with another. Replacing that screen is going to be a problem.

Hi. I was wondering: could I replace the LCD screen for my Toshiba Satellite with my LCD for my Dell Inspiron?

In this excerpt from Answercast #10, I look at laptop screens and whether or not they are interchangeable with each other. Then, I'll point you in the right direction to get a laptop screen fixed.

Can you change a laptop screen?

Probably not. And the reason I say that is because many of the components that are built into laptops are not generic.

One of the things that we can really appreciate in the desktop PC world is that so many components are interchangeable: add-in cards, motherboards, hard drives, video displays, I mean all of that kind stuff. One of the neat things that sets the desktop PC apart from other alternatives is the fact that so many of its components can be replaced.

Unfortunately, when you get down to laptops, many of the components are very device specific.

Now, certainly, there are a few that are generic. Typically, hard drives are great examples. They have standardized a size and connector and so forth for hard drives. Almost anything else in your laptop, though, is probably very specific to the manufacturer of that laptop.

Laptop screens are not generic

Dell, in particularly, because of its size, seems to have a number of components that are made specifically for them.

So, the short answer is: I think it's highly unlikely that you would be able to replace any LCD screen from one laptop into a laptop of a different manufacturer.

Laptop screens are difficult to replace

In fact, laptops are so incredibly compact and highly manufactured that I would actually stay away from dealing with laptop screens entirely.

I would have you send that machine back to the manufacturer for repair if that turned out to be cost effective.

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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April 18, 2012 9:40 AM

Good advice! I have actually replaced laptop screens on some Dell laptops. But it is not for the faint of heart or those inexperienced with electronics repair. The hardest part is obtaining the correct replacement part. Even if you have a similar size screen from the same manufacturer, the actual connections are likely different between models. If you "luck out" and have two identical laptops, one with a bad motherboard and one with a bad screen, it could be a straightforward swap, IF you have done this type of thing before. The one's I have done require carefully removing bezels and frames and knowing where there are screws and where there are snap together mounts. So an authorized service center will be the most likely to be successful in the long run.

David B
April 18, 2012 10:39 AM

I've replaced the keyboard and screen on my daughter's ASUS laptop - definitely not for the faint of heart. Not only is the access a challenge, but dealing with ribbon connectors and tiny screws can be not fun.

One of the things that can often be upgraded by most people on a laptop is RAM. Access is usually pretty easy and there are instructions in the user materials.

Andrzej R
April 20, 2012 8:59 AM

Laptops screens are generic (or most of them). But you must know: dimensions, pixels, connector. And then move about 20 - 30 screws. I think a screen from Dell will be very expensive, the same from a manufacturer much cheaper.

April 20, 2012 8:36 PM

I have replaced a screen on a 17" Dell recently. Not impossible, but not for those not mechanically inclined. I sourced a replacement off eBay for about $75 w/shipping by searching with Dell model number and then comparing connectors on existing screen with ones online to ensure correct part. Bezel with hidden snap fasteners, many very small screws, very small & thin ribbon connector, adhesive tape fasteners - fussy work, but I salvaged a $1200 laptop that was going to be discarded.

Rich S
April 22, 2012 12:05 PM

Doable But There is a Lot to it.

First you MUST make sure you've got the correct screen for the specific laptop.

Taking it apart first is always helpful since you can get the exact brand and model number of the screen not to mention the fact that if you can't take it apart then this exercise is not for you.

Many times you can find instructions on the web showing you how to take your machine apart however as mentioned before if you are not mechanically inclined don't bother. There are lots of little screws, snug fits, parts that snap together (but of course you're never sure if there's a screw hiding somewhere) and last but not least a familiarity of what's probably inside of a laptop.

As always Ebay and even Amazon are good references for parts. Just be carefull to determine exactly what you need.

One other hint there are some great, reasonably priced, used items out there but of course you have to really be careful reading the listing for the specifics & quality of the item.

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