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Special Project: Replacing a Cracked Lenovo Laptop Screen

Quick Answer:

Make sure to first power the laptop off, unplug it, and disconnect the battery. Next, remove the bezel around the screen. Remove the screws holding the screen in place, then lay the screen down on the keyboard, and gently disconnect the wiring harness from the bottom of the screen. Plug in your replacement screen and reverse all the steps.

The ProHowNow Way: Cheaper and Easier Than Expected

When the screen cracked on this laptop, a Lenovo ThinkPad 13” Ultrabook, we feared the worst. Having no prior experience repairing laptops specifically, we figured we were looking at a $200 - $300 repair from a specialist. Thankfully, it turned out to be a simple repair we could do ourselves, costing us less than $50 for a replacement screen.

Here’s how to do it yourself.

Step 1. Turn the laptop off and unplug it from the power supply

Step 2. Disconnect the battery

To access the battery with this ThinkPad, you first have to remove the bottom case, which turns out to be the most complex part of the entire job. There are 9 screws total on the bottom of the computer, including 3 hidden ones beneath rubber pads along the front edge. Pry the rubber pads out with a small flathead screwdriver. Then unscrew all 9 screws with a jeweler’s style Phillips head screwdriver. The screws have washers that will hold them in place on the bottom of the case, so just make sure they are completely unscrewed from the body of the laptop itself—no need to worry about them falling out and getting lost.

Next, use a flathead screwdriver or your fingernails to carefully pry the bottom case loose, starting at the back of the laptop and working your way all around. You will hear little clicking noises as the plastic tabs holding the case secure disconnect. Once it’s free, remove the bottom case to access the battery.

There are 4 screws holding the battery in place, marked by white arrows. Remove the screws and place them in a small container so you don’t lose them.

Locate the wiring harness coming out of the battery, in this case a black ribbon located in the upper right hand corner. Gently press down and pull the ribbon toward the battery to disconnect it from where it plugs into the main board. Set the battery aside someplace safe.

Now replace the bottom cover onto the laptop loosely to prevent the internal components from getting damaged. No need to press the cover all the way back into place. Simply place it back into a position and give each screw a couple of turns to keep it from falling off.

Step 3. Remove the screen bezel

Open the laptop lid as far as it will go to give yourself clear access to the screen. Again, using a flathead screwdriver, pry loose a section of the bezel (the strip of trim surrounding the screen). Once you have a section pried apart, you can use you finger to pull the rest of it free. It will take a little extra pressure to pull the bezel loose where it covers the hinges at the bottom.

Step 4. Remove the old screen

Use a Phillips head jewelers screwdriver to remove the 4 screws holding the screen in place, and set them aside some place safe.

Lay the screen face down onto the keyboard and locate where the wiring harness is connected. Pull back the tape from the screen (but leave it connected to the wiring harness itself). Now gently pull the wiring harness free of the screen by pulling it away from you.

If you have not yet ordered your replacement screen, find the part number on the back of the broken screen as a reference (in this case, M133NWN1 R3) for ordering the replacement screen. Otherwise, you can now discard the broken screen.

Step 5. Install the new screen

From here on out, we’re going in reverse order of all the steps, but don’t rush it—the new screen is fragile.

Start by placing the new screen face down on the keyboard. Carefully press the wiring harness into the connector slot on the new screen. Make sure you have it aligned correctly before pushing it in or you could bend or break the connector. Once it’s securely in place, press the clear tape back down to keep it from working loose.

Now put the screen back into place and secure it with the 4 screen screws.

Step 6. Install the bezel

Start with the bottom of the bezel and press the hinge covers into place. Then work your way around the bezel and gently press it into place. Make sure to only press around the outer edge of the bezel and to not press too hard or you might crack the brand new screen.

Step 7. Reconnect the battery

Last step is to put the battery back into place. Pull the bottom case cover off again. Then reconnect the wiring harness and secure the battery with the four battery screws.

Press the bottom cover back into place, working around the perimeter and squeezing it firmly to ensure a flush fit. Screw the 9 bottom screws back into place firmly, and you’re done!

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