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Keyboard Removal Guide: Dell Studio 15

written by: Austin•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 7/8/2011

Sometimes keyboards break and need to be removed from laptops. Sometimes you need to access something that's underneath a keyboard. Even more common, you just need to clean off a keyboard. Whatever the reason for you, here's a guide on removing the keyboard from a Dell Studio 15.

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    First Things First: Gather Materials

    As with any construction or craft project in the world, you'll need a few things before you can just go taking the keyboard off your Studio laptop. Thankfully, you should have most of it laying around the house:

    • 3mm Flathead Screwdriver
    • Phillips Screwdriver
    • Tweezers

    After you've gathered these things (a screw tray also wouldn't be an awful idea), proceed to step one!

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    Step 1) Don't Electrocute Yourself

    Picture 2 

    As our schoolteachers and parents always said, safety should come before anything else when dealing with electronics. Therefore, you'll want to flip your laptop over, remove the power cord, remove the battery, and place both in a safe place away from your workstation. This will prevent you from accidentally shocking yourself if your hand slips, and it gives you one less things to break in the process of keyboard removal.

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    Step 2) Take Out The Back Screws

    There are two screws on the back of the laptop that you need to remove before actually getting to the gist of this project. Look for the area where you removed the battery and you should see two screws fairly close together, each with a letter "K" next to them. Remove these using the phillips head screwdriver you have prepared and place them either in a screw tray, or another area where you won't lose them or get them mixed up with other screws.

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    Step 3) Taking Off The Framing

    Flip the laptop back to the normal upright position and raise the screen. If you look, you'll notice that the keyboard is held in place by a lining that goes around the edges of the inner part of the laptop - a sort of plastic barrier to hold the keyboard in. Take your flathead screwdriver and place it in between the keys on the keyboard and the plastic lining as if you're going to pry it out. In fact, you are going to pry it out, but read this first:

    1. Be very very careful when completing this step. If you apply too much force too quickly, you'll crack the layering and you'll need to get a new one, not to mention reinstall it.
    2. Watch what the bottom of the screwdriver is doing while you're prying out the framing. If you accidentally pop one of the keys out, it's incredibly difficult to get them back in. So don't do that.

    If you're ready to go, pry away! The trick is to apply force, but apply it very gradually over the course of a few seconds. Don't surprise it and risk cracking the whole thing and ruining your chances of getting this done today.

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    Step 3a) Pry Out The Media Control Bar

    Take the same methods we learned about in step 3 and apply them to removing the bar above the keyboard with all of the media controls and buttons. Simply slip the screwdriver underneath the left or right side of the plastic and slowly lift up.

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    Step 4) Get That Keyboard Out

    Picture 1 

    Next, it's time to actually take the keyboard out (we're almost done, I promise). Look underneath where the media controller bar was and you'll notice two screws: One above the F3 key, and one above the PrntScrn button. Remove both of these using the phillips head screwdriver and place them off to the side, or preferably, into the screw tray you have handy. Now you can safely lift up on the back of the keyboard (use the screwdriver if necessary) and tilt it towards yourself.

    Be wary: If you pull on the keyboard too hard, you could break the connector cable and have to buy a new keyboard entirely! Gently tilt it towards you until you can see underneath it.

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    Step 5) The Ribbon Cable (i.e. 'The Hard Part')

    If you look underneath the keyboard, you'll see a piece of cable connecting the keyboard to the computer itself. This will be referred to as the "ribbon cable" from now on. Now look where the ribbon cable connects to the computer, and you'll see a black clamping device that holds the ribbon in place - if you flip this upwards, it should release the cable and you can set the keyboard off to the side entirely.

    Congratulations, you've completed the keyboard removal process for your Dell Studio 15 laptop!

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    Putting It Back Together- Tips and Tricks

    For the most part, how to remove the keyboard in a Dell Studio 15 is the same as putting the whole ordeal back together. There are some things you'll want to watch out for though:

    1. Make sure all of the screws go back in their original places. Any misplaced screws could cause things to fall apart down the road.
    2. When putting the ribbon cable back into the black clamping device inside the computer, make sure it's inserted all the way in. Since it isn't a traditional plug like many laptops, it is possible to have it too loosely placed, which can cause malfunctions when you put everything back in order. If you notice your keyboard isn't working like it used to, you may have to open it all back up and stick the ribbon in tighter, and then close it all back up a second time.

    If you follow these two tips, the whole process should go smoothly and you shouldn't run into any issues. Happy keyboard removing!

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    [Image] Product Page,

    [Image] Product Page,

    [Information] Installing Dell Studio 15 Keyboard, iFixIt,

    [Information] Author Knowledge