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I dropped my laptop on the kitchen floor (it's tiled!) and now the screen is smashed completely.

I have taken desktops apart before and know what I am doing, but when I learned about it I was told to leave laptops alone as they are vastly different.

I am not too concerned about the laptop, but the hard drive itself holds a lot of music which is unattainable again. It seems a waste to buy a new screen for an old dated laptop.

Any ways around this?

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All modern laptops that I have ever seen have access flaps where a piece of the laptop case can be removed to gain access to the hard drive, all you need is a small phillips screwdriver. The typical symbol is 3 circles that are overlapping vertically. Once you identify where that is, it is pretty easy to unscrew the drive and pull in out, then either put it into a desktop or get a USB case for it. –  MaQleod Aug 29 '11 at 18:33

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Whilst a laptop screen comes with the machine, like a desktop, it may be required in order for you to see what you are doing (locally), but, it is not actually a critical system component that will make the machine fail (such as having no/bad memory or processor etc.).

If this laptop is covered, you may want to check either your warranty or household insurance to see if you have accidental damage cover... Many people do without realising. If you do not, a replacement screen is usually around £50-£100 (depending on spec/size) and if you are comfortable with opening desktops, you may be able to do this yourself.

Whilst you are sensible about leaving laptops alone, as long as you have a careful hand, with the vast majority, it is quite easy to replace components.

You do not need the screen in order to access items on your hard drive. The first and easiest way, if your computer supports it is to try and use a cable from your laptop to either a spare computer screen (if you have one) or a TV screen. You can get converters between VGA/HDMI/DVI very cheap now and if your TV has one of these ports (most flat screens do), you should be able to display your laptop out on it.

Many laptops will automatically mirror the image, but, you may want to see if you have a dedicated button that needs pressing:

enter image description here

That being said, if you really are not concerned about the laptop, you can always take out the hard drive (with most, they are very easy to get to) and either connect it directly to a desktop (if it is regular SATA) or if it is a laptop/you don't want to open up another machine, you can get a USB dock and get your files from it.

enter image description here

(usually a square type cover, or has a picture of a hard drive near by)

If you do go to putting your hard drive inside another machine and have been using security, you may find this interesting*, as you will have to override NTFS security on the drive.

enter image description here

(Unless it is Micro SATA, You just need a dock/housing that supports 2.5" SATA or IDE depending on drive. If you are technical/build machines as you said, You may like buying a proper dock such as in the picture as it is always handy to have around).

* (Just did a quick search here, you need to basically take ownership).

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i am not too concerned about the laptop, but the hard drive itself holds alot of music which is unattainable again.

No worries there - simply remove the drive from the computer, and put it in another laptop/desktop computer. Alternatively, you might want to find a USB HDD enclosure and put it in there (so you can access it externally).

Since you dropped the laptop, it's possible that the HDD is bad. Try to retrieve your files ASAP, and then perform diagnostics on the drive to see if it is still useable. You might want to do a disk surface sector check, or run your manufacturer's diagnostic utility.

it seems a waste to buy a new screen for an old dated laptop.

You'd be surprised at how cheap you can find replacement LCD screens for laptop computers on eBay. Check for any replacement screens or faulty laptops that have the same screen (which are obviously not damaged). It's not a trivial task to replace, but it's not incredibly difficult either (a few of my non-techie friends have done it with no problems, even with different screens that didn't fit!).

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