Repairing a Dell Inspiron N4010

I recently had a friend bring me a Dell Inspiron N4010. The laptop wouldn’t boot up, and the friend wanted to get the data off the hard drive.

I figured that would be a fairly easy task. Little did I know…. I started by looking at Youtube videos about taking apart the N4010. Here’s the best Inspiron N4010 video – or rather, first in a series of three for over 30 minutes total time.

Turns out, Dell in their infinite wisdom decided not to put a door on the case to allow access to the hard drive. Instead, you have to remove the keyboard and motherboard to swap it out. This proves that Dell’s engineering department is willing to hire the insane.

Luckily, the video showed disassembly as well as assembly. I knew my friend had taken the laptop to Best Buy a few weeks before it stopped working to put a new hard drive in. (And again after it stopped: that time the Geek Squad claimed “no fix was possible” because there were no BIOS beeps.) The video showed a stick-on plastic piece that wasn’t present (any more) on my friend’s laptop between the keyboard and the motherboard.

With the laptop disassembled, I said “why not” and tried to boot. It came up. I connected the laptop up to the network and backed up the hard drive.

The stick-on plastic piece appeared to keep the keyboard from shorting the motherboard. More of that Dell quality. I’m guessing the Geek Squad just tossed it. I fabricated a quick replacement from some polyester film I had hanging around. Who knows if it will last, but at least the machine boots now.

I’m really glad I did this. It made me 100% sure I would never buy a Dell laptop. Ever.

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