Upgrading and Repairing Laptops


Scott Mueller has gone where no computer book author has gone before — right past all the warranty stickers, the hidden screws, and the fear factor to produce a real owner's manual that every laptop owner should have on his desk. Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, Second Edition shows the upgrades users can perform, the ones that are better left to the manufacturer, and how to use add-on peripherals to make the most of a laptop. This second ...

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Scott Mueller has gone where no computer book author has gone before — right past all the warranty stickers, the hidden screws, and the fear factor to produce a real owner's manual that every laptop owner should have on his desk. Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, Second Edition shows the upgrades users can perform, the ones that are better left to the manufacturer, and how to use add-on peripherals to make the most of a laptop. This second edition has been updated to include:

  • The latest processors and motherboards
  • Complete assembly and disassembly information
  • Updated memory standards
  • Upgrading your hard drive to increase performance
  • Changes in networking and firewalls
The included DVD contains one-of-a-kind video showing just what's inside a portable PC. If you have ever wondered what goes on inside your portable PC, how to upgrade/repair it, or how to live on the road with it, this is the one must-have book of the year!
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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Notebook PCs now outsell desktops. If you’re a PC technician, you need to be able to repair them. Mastering notebook repair will raise your value to employers. If you’re in business for yourself, you can help more customers and charge more for your services. If you’re a user, you can save a bundle by troubleshooting your own problems. A “dirty little secret”: Notebook parts have become far more standardized. Next time your notebook goes on the fritz, you might be able to repair it yourself, using low-cost parts. Who’ll help you learn how? Same guy who’s taught desktop repair to 2.2 million people: Scott Mueller.

Mueller’s Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, Second Edition does for notebooks what his 17 editions of Upgrading and Repairing PCs have done for PCs. Mueller covers everything, from basic assembly/disassembly and troubleshooting techniques to laptop batteries and keyboards.

Mueller offers in-depth coverage of notebook computer processors, from Intel’s Pentium M and Centrino technology to AMD’s mobile Athlon XP-M and Sempron. There’s a full chapter on motherboards, including coverage of today’s mobile chipsets from Intel, AMD, and VIA. You’ll make sense of notebook memory standards like SODIMM and Micro-DIMM; learn about replacing 2.5” hard drives; understand Windows’ interactions with notebook hardware. From graphics and sound to external add-ons, Mueller’s explanations are authoritative -- and they’re backed with plenty of helpful pictures, charts, and tables.

Bundled in the back: a DVD with 90 minutes of full-screen how-to video -- indispensable if you’ve never worked inside a notebook computer before. Bill Camarda, from the February 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789733764
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 1/10/2006
  • Series: Upgrading and Repairing Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 912
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Mueller is the most trusted, authoritative hardware voice in the industry. In addition to teaching hardware repair to more than 10,000 computer professionals and enthusiasts, he has sold more than 2 million copies of Upgrading and Repairing PCs, making him a world-renowned hardware author and his book a classic. Scott has taught hardware repair to a host of agencies in the U.S. and foreign governments, and corporations in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. Scott also is a feature writer for Maximum PC, the industry leading PC hardware magazine. The most recent edition of Upgrading and Repairing PCs (16th) published in Sept. 2004.

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Read an Excerpt


Welcome to Upgrading and Repairing Laptops, the only book of its kind on the market!

Laptop computers are the largest growing part of the computer industry, with sales that continue to outpace desktop systems. For those in the industry, there has never been a better reason to get into upgrading and repairing laptops, because not only are they selling better than ever, but their higher prices allow you to charge more for services rendered.

But aren't laptops proprietary, which means they cannot easily be upgraded or repaired? Many people are familiar with the fact that desktop PCs normally use industry-standard components, which allow cost-effective upgrades and repairs to be performed. In fact, this philosophy is the basis for my best-selling book Upgrading and Repairing PCs, currently available in a 16th edition, with the 17th edition currently in the works. However, what many people don't know is that laptop and notebook computers have evolved from being mostly proprietary to using larger and larger numbers of industry-standard components. This means, in plain English, that laptop and notebook computers are more upgradeable and repairable than ever before. Being a long-time user of portable computers myself, I thought the time was finally right to explore this subject in more depth, resulting in this book.

In this book, you will learn about all the components that make up a modern laptop or notebook computer, which components are based on industry standards and which are proprietary, and which components can easily be upgraded or replaced. As most of you know, laptops are more expensive than desktops, sowhereas desktop computers are becoming more and more of a commodity, laptops are still somewhat exclusive. They are more difficult to work on, and the components are smaller and more expensive. All of this contributes to upgrades and repairs that are more expensive overall.

You can look at this book two ways: From the perspective of a laptop user, knowing how to upgrade and repair your own system can save you a bundle of money! Using the information in this book, you can effectively troubleshoot a problem; isolate the defective component; obtain a replacement; and finally perform the physical interchange of parts, the actual upgrade, or repair. This capability is useful not only for older systems, where the cost of service might exceed the value of the system, but also with newer laptops, which can be easily upgraded with newer technology such as wireless networking, faster USB or FireWire ports, more memory, larger hard disks, and even faster processors.

From the perspective of a computer technician or support person working in the industry, knowing how to upgrade and repair laptop computers gives you a significant edge over others in the industry who are afraid to open laptop systems. They can be daunting. Many of the laptops on the market today are held together by upwards of 100 screws, often consisting of several different types! They also often include many intricately assembled plastic parts that can easily break or be damaged if you don't take them apart properly. The benefit is that as a repair technician, you can charge more for laptop service and repair, which gives you another edge over other technicians who can work only on commodity-level desktop systems.Laptops or Notebooks?

I initially struggled with the terms laptop and notebook before even beginning work on this book, not only with how to use them in the content but especially with the title. Although it was not necessarily true in the beginning, in the current context of the industry, these terms are used interchangeably to describe systems. The truth is, there is no consistent industry-wide definition of what is a laptop computer and what is a notebook computer.

Originally, there was some unofficial size differentiation between what was considered a laptop versus what was considered a notebook (the term notebook was used to describe an arbitrarily smaller version of a laptop). However, more recently that distinction has completely disappeared. Standardization on screen technology, screen sizes, as well as keyboard/pointing device layout and size have all served to muddy and eventually dissolve any differences between what was once considered a laptop and what was considered a notebook. The fact that virtually all modern portables include 13-inch (diagonal) or larger screens (which is why innovations such as the ThinkPad 701 "butterfly" collapsible keyboard aren't used anymore) as well as industry-standard keyboard layouts, integrating a pointing device and palm rest, has served to greatly equalize the sizes of such systems. There are still differences in weight and thickness between various makes and models, but in general, modern laptop/notebook systems, from the least to the most powerful and expensive, come in very similar sizes.

So what do we call these systems now? Are they laptops or notebooks? Virtually all manufacturers now use the term notebook to describe all their portable systems, from huge desktop replacements down to ultra-slim or ultra-light models. Unfortunately, outside the advertising and marketing world, few people seem to use the term notebook. Perhaps that is because if you just say "notebook," it seems too generic and could refer to something other than a computer, and thus be easily misunderstood. You almost have to say "notebook computer" for it to become clear what you mean. On the other hand, if you say "laptop," most people immediately know that you mean "laptop computer," because the term is much more widely recognized.

I conducted some informal polls of my own. In the most telling of these, I showed people a picture of a modern portable computer system and asked them, "What do you call this type of computer?" Virtually everybody replied, "A laptop!" In other cases, I asked people what the word notebook means, and I received a variety of answers, not all having to do with computers. Then I asked them what the word laptop means, and almost everybody understood it as a type of portable computer. Maybe I've just been around too long, but I think you'll find as I did that laptop is simply a much more recognizable and familiar term than notebook, whether you actually ever use one on your lap or not.

So, in spite of the industry marketing preferences for the word notebook, and even though laptop computers and notebook computers are the same thing, I decided not to call this book Upgrading and Repairing Notebooks (it even sounds weird), but instead decided to use the more understandable and recognizable Upgrading and Repairing Laptops title instead.

Throughout this book, you'll find that just as is done in the industry, I use the terms interchangeably (that is, I say "laptop" or "notebook," or both), and in almost all cases they mean exactly the same thing.Book Objectives

I wrote this book for people who want to upgrade, repair, maintain, and troubleshoot laptop computers, as well as for those enthusiasts who want to know more about laptops or portable PC hardware in general. This book covers the full gamut of laptop and portable PCs, from the oldest to the latest in high-end multi-gigahertz mobile workstations. If you need to know about everything from the original Compaq Portable PC to the latest in PC technology on the market today, this book and the accompanying information-packed DVD-ROM are definitely for you.

This book covers state-of-the-art mobile hardware and accessories that make modern mobile computers easier, faster, and more productive to use. Inside these pages you will find in-depth coverage of every mobile processor, from the original 386SL to the latest Mobile Pentium 4, Pentium M, and Mobile Athlon XP-M.

Upgrading and Repairing Laptops also doesn't ignore the less glamorous PC components. Every part of your mobile system plays a critical role in its stability and performance. Over the course of these pages, you'll find out exactly why your motherboard's chipset might just be the most important part of your laptop as well as what can go wrong when your processor runs too hot. You'll also find in-depth coverage of technologies such as DDR SDRAM, graphics, audio, AGP, Mini PCI, LCD displays, recordable CD and DVD drives, USB 2.0, FireWire, and high-capacity external or removable storage—it's all in here!Chapter-by-Chapter Breakdown

This book is organized into chapters that cover the components of a portable or mobile PC, emphasizing modern laptop/notebook systems. A few chapters serve to introduce or expand in an area not specifically component related, but most parts in a laptop have a dedicated chapter or section, which will aid you in finding the information you want.

The first two chapters of this book serve primarily as an introduction. Chapter 1, "Portable Systems Background," begins with an introduction to the development of portable computers. This chapter incorporates some of the historical events that led to the development of modern portable PCs. Chapter 2, "Portable PC Overview: Types and Features," provides information about the various types of mobile or portable systems you will encounter and what separates one type of system from another.

Chapter 3, "System Maintenance and Assembly," is where I show you how to maintain and care for laptop systems. I provide a step-by-step process showing how to completely disassemble and reassemble a typical laptop. The drawings included in this chapter, as well as the video included on the DVD-ROM, will greatly aid you in understanding these procedures.

Chapter 4, "Processors," includes detailed coverage of Intel's mobile Pentium M (part of Centrino mobile technology), mobile Pentium 4 and Pentium 4-M, mobile Pentium III, mobile Pentium II, mobile Celeron, and earlier central processing unit (CPU) chips. There's also detailed coverage of AMD's line of high-performance mobile Athlon XP-M and Sempron processors as well as older mobile Athlon and mobile Duron processors. Because the processor is one of the most important parts of a laptop PC, this book features extensive mobile processor coverage, more than you'll find in any other book. All the unique form factors used in mobile processors are discussed, with diagrams, drawings, and examples. This information is invaluable in understanding how processors are implemented in portable systems and what upgrade options you may have at your disposal.

Chapter 5, "Motherboards," covers the motherboard, mobile chipsets, motherboard components, and primary system buses in detail. A chipset can either make a good processor better or choke the life out of an otherwise high-speed CPU. I cover the latest chipsets for current mobile processor families, including mobile chipsets from Intel, AMD, VIA, and more. This chapter also covers special bus architectures and devices, such as high-speed Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), including Mini PCI and PCI Express. Plug and Play (including Universal PnP) configuration of resources and ways to handle resource conflicts are also discussed.

Chapter 6, "Memory," provides a detailed discussion of laptop memory, including the latest memory specifications. After the processor and chipset, the system memory is one of the most important parts of a laptop or mobile computer. It's also one of the most difficult things to understand—it is somewhat intangible, and how it works is not always obvious. If you're confused about the difference between system memory and cache memory; SODIMMs and Micro-DIMMs; SDRAM versus DDR SDRAM; EDO versus PC133 versus PC3200, this is the chapter that can answer your questions.

Chapter 7, "Power," is a detailed investigation of laptop battery technology, as well as AC adapters and power-management schemes.

Chapter 8, "Expansion Card Buses," covers the ExpressCard, PC Card, and CardBus interfaces, otherwise sometimes called PCMCIA slots. Also covered are newer technologies such as USB 2.0 and FireWire (IEEE 1394/i.LINK), as well as older legacy serial and parallel ports. Due to the limited space in laptop computers, external USB 2.0 and FireWire devices offer a wide range of expansion capability.

Chapter 9, "Hard Disk Storage," covers the smaller 2.5-inch form factor drives used in laptop computers, and it even breaks down how data is stored to your drives and how it is retrieved when you double-click a file in Windows. Also covered is the ATA/IDE interface, including types and specifications, plus the Serial ATA interface.

Chapter 10, "Removable Storage," covers optical storage using CD and DVD technology, including CD recorders, rewritable CDs, and other optical technologies. There's even extensive coverage of DVD, with everything you need to know to understand the difference between the recordable DVD drives now available in laptops. Also covered are all the digital memory-storage devices, such as CompactFlash, SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, SecureDigital, Memory Stick, xD-Picture Card, and USB "keychain" drives. Finally, this chapter covers magnetic removable storage, such as standard floppy and magnetic tape drives.

Chapter 11, "Graphics and Sound," covers everything there is to know about video chipsets and display technology, as well as the various interface standards for external displays. This chapter also covers sound and sound-related devices, including internal and external sound "boards" and speaker systems.

Chapter 12, "Communications," covers all aspects of connectivity, including everything from dial-up using modems, to both wired and wireless networking. An emphasis on wireless standards is designed to feature one of the best new technologies coming to mobile systems: 802.11a/b/g networking (otherwise known as Wi-Fi).

Chapter 13, "Keyboards and Pointing Devices," covers keyboards, pointing devices, and other input devices used to communicate with a laptop, including external wireless mice and keyboards.

Chapter 14, "Portable System Accessories," covers all the various accessories, gadgets, and gizmos that make using mobile computers easier and more productive.

Chapter 15, "Software and Operating Systems," covers the Windows versions used on laptops, including detail on the boot sequence, configuration options, as well as installation and configuration procedures.

Chapter 16, "Problem Solving and Troubleshooting," covers diagnostic and testing tools and procedures. This chapter includes information on general troubleshooting and problem determination. Here, I show you what prepared laptop technicians have in their toolkits, including a few tools you might have never seen or used before.

Finally, Chapter 17, "Portable Resource Guide," covers manufacturer, vendor, and alternative resources that are useful for upgrading, repairing, maintaining, and troubleshooting laptops. This information can be especially useful if you have a problem while on the road.The Upgrading and Repairing Laptops DVD

I've included a DVD-ROM with the book that contains all-new, studio-quality, full-screen video, showing laptop construction, components, and disassembly! Also, on the disc you'll find a detailed vendor database. This custom database contains hundreds of entries of contact information for the industry's leading manufacturers and vendors. It's like having my Rolodex on your computer. This database is fully searchable and printable.Scott's Website

Don't miss my book website at http://www.upgradingandrepairingpcs.com! Here, you'll find lots of helpful material to go along with the book you're holding. I've loaded this site with tons of material, from video clips to monthly book updates. I use this spot to keep you updated throughout the year on major changes in the PC hardware industry. Each month, I write new articles covering new technologies released after this book was printed. These articles are archived so you can refer to them anytime.

At the website, you can also sign up for the Upgrading and Repairing PCs Newsletter, which will bring you new articles, FAQs, special offers, and other goodies every month.

I also use this site to tell you about some of the other fantastic Upgrading and Repairing products, including these:

  • Upgrading and Repairing PCs, 16th Edition

  • Upgrading and Repairing Networks, Fourth Edition

  • Upgrading and Repairing Microsoft Windows

  • Upgrading and Repairing Servers

Don't miss out on this valuable resource!A Personal Note

I believe this book is absolutely the best book of its kind on the market, and that is due in large part to the extensive feedback I have received from both my seminar attendees and book readers. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me with all my books. I have had personal contact with many thousands of you via emails you have sent me, as well as through the seminars I have been teaching since 1982, and I enjoy your comments and even your criticisms. Using this book in a teaching environment has been a major factor in its development. Your comments, suggestions, and support have helped me to write the best PC hardware books on the market. I look forward to hearing your comments after you see this book.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Portable Systems Background 7
2 Portable PC Overview: Types and Features 45
3 System Maintenance and Assembly 65
4 Processors 127
5 Motherboards 175
6 Memory 215
7 Power 245
8 Expansion Buses 265
9 Hard Disk Storage 305
10 Removable Storage 377
11 Graphics and Sound 489
12 Communications 569
13 Keyboards and Pointing Devices 603
14 Portable System Accessories 637
15 Software/Operating Systems 673
16 Problem Solving and Troubleshooting 709
17 Portable Resource Guide 751
A: List of Acronyms 763
B: Glossary 773
C: Key Vendor Contacts 873
Index 849
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY! This teaches you how tog et around and maneuver or troubleshoot ONLY!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    MisLeading Title, Showing Basic Already Known Info,

    This book will give you information that is already known and is already available anywhere on the internet by searching Google.
    It apparently was written by a Desktop Repair Technician that is relating their knowledge of Desktop Computer Repair to Laptop Repairing. The Book is basically just like the A+ Study Books which give you information like networking on a Laptop, Memory Upgrading, Hard Drive Upgrading and similar. To use the title, "Repairing Laptops" is quite misleading because NoWhere in the book does it instruct on any motherboard issues or repair techniques, not once...

    The Book Should Be Titled.... Getting To Know Your Way Around A Laptop

    That Is A More Fitting Title For This Book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2008

    great book

    This book contains alot of useful information and drawings.It has a DVD that shows the steps of some repairs inlaptops with useful hints.I can say it worth more than what you paid for.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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