II. Precautions

  1. Many OEMs make laptop cases and bays more difficult to open by using atypical screw heads (e.g. Torx)
  2. Check manufacturer's policy on upgrade/maintenance (risk of voiding warranty)
  3. Cases are very tightly packed with little room for error if components do not seat perfectly
  4. Internal components including wiring may be easily damaged due to tight space (Exercise caution)
  5. Manufacturers mark devices with service tags that may be used online to review installed hardware, compatibility
    1. Check before part upgrades, repair/replacement

III. Approach: Expandability (typically via easily accessible, screw-secured bays in the notebook case)

  1. Mini-PCIe (PCI express ports for smaller, portable devices)
  2. ExpressCards
    1. Modular cards inserted into a bay within the case (previously called PC cards, PCMCIA cards)
    2. Slots are either 34 mm wide or 54 mm wide (which accept 34 or 54 mm cards)
  3. Memory
    1. Uses SODIMM memory modules (check compatibility on manufacturer's website, see above)
  4. Adapters (dongles)
    1. Most ports (USB, Thunderbolt) have commercially available adapters (e.g. VGA, HDMI, Wifi, Bluetooth, RJ-45)
    2. Consider purchasing common converters needed for presentations if frequently presenting at different sites
  5. Storage devices
    1. USB solid state drives
    2. USB optical drives

IV. Approach: Replacement parts

  1. Easier replacements
    1. Battery
    2. Hard drive
  2. Difficult replacements
    1. Mother boards
    2. Power DC Jack (proprietary)
    3. Speakers
    4. Keyboard (individual keys are easy to replace)
    5. Display (LCD Panel)
    6. Screen inverter (DC to AC converter to power a screen's fluorescent backlight)
      1. Not needed for LED backlight displays

V. Approach: External functionality

  1. Reception (Wi-Fi)
    1. Wi-Fi antenna is built into laptop, typically along the display bezel (margin), especially over the display top
    2. External antennas are available that can boost the signal (e.g. workspace more distant or shielded from access points)
  2. Dual Displays
    1. Requires ports or adapters to HDMI, thunderbolt, VGA or similar
    2. Duplicate screen (e.g. to projector) for presentations
    3. Second screen for extending desktop to a second monitor
  3. Docking Station (port replicator)
    1. Quick attach laptop to multiple peripherals (e.g. second monitor, full keyboard and mouse) or as vehicle mount
  4. Locks
    1. Physical laptop lock either fused permanently to laptop case or removable cable lock that attaches to small laptop recess
    2. Full Disk encryption protocols (e.g. BitLocker)
      1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_encryption
    3. GeoLocation Services
      1. Apple ICloud Mobile device tracking
        1. Allows for GeoLocation (device on map), lock device in "lost mode", and remote wipe for logged-in devices
        2. Device may also remotely be instructed to play a sound (so that it may be found)
      2. Intel Antitheft Technology
        1. To work, must be enabled by OEM
        2. Purchase subscription and internet synchronize with online service (e.g. Absolute LoJack)
        3. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vpro-anti-theft-small-business-advantage,3259-10.html
  5. Mobile device (e.g. smart phone, tablet) specific
    1. Mobile battery chargers (e.g. Arkon)
      1. Protective or waterproof covers

VI. Differential Diagnosis: Notebook Display and Media Problems

  1. No Display
    1. Mistakenly set LCD controls (check brightness/contrast)
    2. LCD panel issue (try connecting to external display)
    3. Computer in hibernation mode
  2. Dim Display
    1. Mistakenly set LCD controls (check brightness/contrast)
    2. Battery power-saving mode decreases power to monitor (plug into wall outlet and should brighten)
  3. Flickering Display
    1. Manufacturer defect
    2. LCD panel damaged
  4. External monitor not connecting
    1. Try alternative display output port on notebook
    2. Try various video outputs (cycle through options) from laptop to external monitor
    3. Try different external monitor
  5. Touchscreen not responding
    1. Touchscreen driver missing
    2. Touchscreen disabled
  6. Speakers generate no sound
    1. System volume off or low (check and reset to higher)
    2. Faulty audio driver (roll back to prior to install new version)

VII. Differential Diagnosis: Power Problems

  1. Computer has no power
    1. Try other power outlet
    2. Battery issue
    3. Power supply issue
  2. Battery not charging
    1. Power cable damage or defect
    2. Laptop overheated
  3. Short battery life
    1. Battery may have exceeded maximum number of expected recharge cycles
    2. Defective battery (try replacing battery)
    3. Battery memory effect (NiCd and NiMH)
      1. Partial recharges of battery result in a battery losing maximal capacity
      2. Lithium ion batteries do not have the memory effect, but are limited in total number of charges

VIII. Differential Diagnosis: Connectivity problems

  1. Intermittent wireless access
    1. Misconfigured network mode
    2. Poor Wi-Fi coverage (consider external antenna or move user closer to wireless access point)
  2. No wireless connectivity
  3. ' Wi_Fi radio off
    1. No WLAN Connection
  4. No bluetooth connectivity
    1. Bluetooth radio off
    2. Device not paired

IX. Differential Diagnosis: Input Device problems

  1. Sticking Keys
    1. Spilled liquid damage (clean keyboard, replace affected keys or keyboard)
  2. Mouse pointer drift
    1. Calibrate mouse and trackpad
    2. Dirty mouse sensor (clean with Rubbing Alcohol)
  3. Unable to find mouse pointers
    1. Consider enabling mouse pointer trails, magnification

X. Differential Diagnosis: General Problems

  1. Applications not loading
    1. Limited Resources (e.g. limited RAM) - reboot machine
    2. Reinstall application
  2. Slow performance
    1. Loaded applications are monopolizing resources (reboot machine)
    2. Limited hard drive space or system RAM
  3. Frozen Operating System
    1. Application frozen (close with Task Manager or powershell Stop-Process)
    2. System frozen (identify what changed before system freeze, boot into safe mode or recovery disk)
  4. Unable to decrypt email
    1. Encryption key is missing
    2. Mail program - application incombatibility

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