A customer called the other day with an Asus EeePC netbook that would not boot. I could hear a clicking sound when the computer first started to boot but the system would not boot into Windows. A classic example of a bad hard drive especially with the clicking noise. I checked online to find that the Asus EeePC he owned contained a standard SATA hard drive that could be replaced. I grabbed a SATA laptop drive off the shelf along with my USB CD-ROM drive since the netbook does not have a CD-ROM drive as a standard component. I was ready to replace the drive.

Unfortunately looking at the bottom of the laptop, there was no opening for the hard drive, just a battery and compartment for the memory. This meant I'd have to tear apart the entire netbook to replace the drive. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope the instructions below will allow you to remove and replace the drive without too much trouble.

First find a nice flat surface with good lighting directly above. Place a towel on the table or other flat surface and place the netbook face down on the towel. You'll need a small phillips screwdriver and and small flat head screwdriver to accomplish the disassembly.

1) Start by removing the screws from the bottom of the netbook and place them in a small container.

2) Now remove the battery and place it off to the side

3) Remove the memory compartment cover and place it over by the battery.

4) Remove the screw inside the memory compartment since it connects the top and bottom of the case together.

5) Now flip the netbook face up and open the lid.

6) Look at the space just above the keyboard, you'll see some small clips that connect to inside the battery compartment. Gently pop these clips open and with the flat head screwdriver start prying the keyboard up starting from the upper left corner. At the bottom of the keyboard, there is a small ribbon cable that connects to the main board. You can lift the keyboard out, but you'll have to release the keyboard connector as well.

You'll notice, maybe with a magnifying glass, that there are two black latches on either side of the keyboard connector. Push those black latches up toward the top of the keyboard to release the connector. Then lift the keyboard out and place in on the table.

7) Underneath the keyboard, you'll find a silver plate with screws. Take all of these screws out, along with the one that is covered by a sticker. Essentially, once the sticker is broken your warranty is voided. So if you want to send this into the company for repair under warranty, please stop and reassemble the netbook, however if your system is out of warranty, it won't really matter. Place these screws in a second container on the table

8) Now here is the hard part. Starting at the top of the case nearest the screen, begin to pry the case apart working in a clockwise fashion around the case. Use the small flat screwdriver for this procedure. You need to be careful, however some of the case does require a bit of force to open it. You just don't want to snap any plastic connectors along the way.

9) Once the case is pryed apart, lift the top of the case off and place it on the table with the rest of the parts. There is another small ribbon cable that you'll have to unlatch for the touchpad. Its similar to the keyboard connector only smaller.

10) Ok, now you should see all the components of the PC including the wireless card, hard drive, etc. There is a ribbon cable that stretches across the hard drive that will have to be removed for access to the hard drive. This cable has a latch on each end that pulls up to release the cable.

11) Now the hard drive can be popped out by sliding it loose and lifting it out of the case. Replace the drive with the new one and start reassembling the netbook one piece at a time.

12) Once the netbook is put back together connect the USB CD-ROM drive with your Windows CD or Recovery CD in it and turn the PC on. Run the recovery or Windows install and you should be back in business.

Here is a great YouTube video related to this procedure.

Written by Mark Hasting

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