Removing the Palm Rest
The next part of the laptop that we need to remove is the palm rest. The palm houses the touch pad and buttons, and is the last gateway to the motherboard. Before we can remove it though, there are a lot of screws we need to deal with.
Flip that laptop base over. Every screw in the bottom needs to come out before we can remove the palm rest and replace the motherboard, so get to work! In our example there are 13 identical screws in the bottom of the laptop. Other models have more, others less. Regardless, they've all got to go. Typically these are all the same length but if you find ones that are fatter, longer, shorter etc. than the others, make a note of where they go and separate them.
Once all the bottom screws are out, flip the laptop back over. You now need to remove the top "P" screws. In the Inspiron 1501 from our example there is only one "P" screw, but some models have many. P stands for Palm, and all the P screws need to be removed before the palm can come off.
Note: Some Dell laptop models have a hidden screw inside the CD-ROM drive bay. If you think you've removed every P screw and the palm won't come off, check there.
Once fully unscrewed, it shouldn't be too difficult to remove the palm. In our example, the palm is not clipped to anything and lifts off easily once unscrewed. Some models have the palm clipped to the base plastics, so you'll sometimes have to carefully pry it up. Starting at the back works well.
One last thing you have to do before the palm will come off, however, is disconnect the touchpad/button cable. This is a thin, push-connected ribbon cable. Simply grab the blue tab and pull up to remove it. The type of connector used for this can vary greatly across models. See the previous article in this series for other ribbon cable connector examples and how to deal with them.