3 DIY Computer Repairs You Can Easily Do Yourself

James Bruce 18-03-2011

Don’t pay someone else to do it for you! If you’re prepared to get your hands dirty and learn something in the process, DIY computer repair is a great little hobby, and will save you hundreds in support costs when you’re paying 3 or 4 times as much as the cost of the replacement component for the technical staff.


Read on to learn about 4 easy DIY repairs that anyone can do. For a great primer on the insides of your computer, don’t forget to check out our great guide to PC hardware too.

Replacing The Memory

So you ran a memory checker Test Your Computer's Memory For Errors with Memtest Read More and found out that the cause of your random blue screen of death was bad memory? Or maybe you just think your computer has been running a little sluggish lately? Well, have no fear – upgrading or replacing the memory in your PC is the easiest of all the DIY repairs that you can do.

The hardest part of replacing the memory is figuring out what memory you need. Luckily, comes to the rescue with a simple memory scanner app for both Windows and Mac. Just download it, run it, and it’ll tell you what kind of memory your machine is running (which you can then buy from, of course).

diy computer repairs

When the scan has finished, you can click through to get an extremely thorough report that outlines all your upgrade options. In fact, I can upgrade my iMac to a whopping 16GB of RAM for just £143! Bargain!


computer repairs

To physically replace the memory, open up the case. The memory slots will be right next to the CPU. On either end of the sticks there will be white latches that you pull outwards to release the existing memory. Slotting memory back in can sometimes take a little force, so make sure you’ve got it the right way round then push down on either side next to the latches. It should slot down into the place and the latches will come up on their own, though you may need to lock them in.

If you turn the computer on and it beeps horribly, you’ve probably just not inserted them right. Check out some YouTube videos on how to replace memory before you try this, and don’t forget to touch a radiator or use an anti-static wrist strap at all times when handling the memory.

computer repairs


Replacing The Hard Disk

If your hard disk has failed then replacing it is the easy part – getting your data back and restoring everything from backups is harder. Luckily, we’ve written loads of articles in the past month or so about physically replacing hard disks and fantastic free backup solutions, so be sure to read through them:

All you really need to know is what type of hard disk you currently have, and if your motherboard can handle SATA. The article I wrote on adding a second hard drive How to Physically Install a Second Internal Hard Drive When you find yourself running out of hard drive space, you can either delete something or add some more space. Read More will help you understand if you have the right connections.

computer repairs

Replacing The Power Supply

The most common failure in any computer is the power supply, but it’s a moderately simply process to replace. Unless you have a very small form factor or all-in-one PC, ATX power supplies are basically all the same. When buying a replacement, you need to check a few simple things:

  • That the power output will be sufficient. Unless you’re running a huge gaming rig, 400-500w is more than sufficient.
  • That you have enough connections for all your devices.
  • That you have connections for your motherboard and video card.

diy computer repairs

Basically though, any modern power supply with work with your PC – the only time I’ve ever had a problem is when trying to retrofit an old power supply I had lying around into my modern PC.

Begin by opening the case and identifying all the existing places the power supply is plugged into. There will be plugs going to each of your physical drives (hard disks and DVD etc), as well as one large one to the motherboard, and possibly a few more that provide power to your graphics card. It’s these little ones that will be difficult, so you may want to write down which go where. The power supply itself will also be screwed into the case, usually with 4 screws that you can find directly around when the large black power cord plugs into the case. Lay the case flat so it doesn’t fall downwards and hit your motherboard when it comes undone.

A Word Of Warning: NEVER attempt to repair the power supply itself. If it’s broken, trash it and get a new one. These things store masses of power in their capacitors a long time after being switch off, and they can give you a very serious shock.



As you can see, there are some PC repairs that you can easily do yourself, and it’s a learning experience. Personally, I’ve been tearing apart PCs and upgrading them since I was 10 – my only motivation was to get them back together again before dad came home! Sometimes things won’t work, and it can be very frustrating. For these times, a spare computer and a quick Google search can be a lifesaver. Just be careful not to touch other parts, and never force something in.

Have you tried any DIY computer repairs or upgrades yourself? Let us know how it went in the comments! Would you prefer video tutorials on how to do these upgrades?

Image Credit: ShutterStock 1, ShutterStock 2, ShutterStock 3

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Tech Support.

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  1. Devon Wilso
    August 22, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing this invaluable piece of information.

  2. Tom Inglis
    August 25, 2017 at 5:33 am

    My home is inhabited by an assortment of frankencomputers. I'll define that as working computers I've put together out of the parts of non-working computers (corpses) that other people had discarded. It's never ceases to amaze me when someone gives me a supposedly dead computer, I vacuum it out, make sure all the connections are tight and it fires up perfectly.

    The issues I find on computers in order of occurrence 1) obsolete OS - XP, Vista 2) multiple conflicting anti-viruses installed on top of major malware infections, 3) full HDD with backups from previous users wasting space, 4) loose memory 5) power supply, 6) corrupted OS, 7) CMOS battery, 8) hot running CPU with the entire computer blocked with pet hair and dust, 9) failed HDD, 10) physically broken optical drive, 11) fried chip set. With laptops I'd have to put bad battery and bad power cable in there near the top of the list somewhere.

    The trouble shooting and resolution is always the same. Clean, check for and correct loose bits, try it out. Note any noises or if it flashes and turns right off. If it stays on, crack the password (I gave up even asking for them any more) Troubleshoot for bad parts as you described, replace any that are questionable. Wipe drive and either reinstall OS or install an appropriate Linux Distribution. Run it for a couple hours benchmarking it at several points to see if there are residual issues. Reboot it. Give it back to the owner, put it back to work or pass it along to someone that needs it. On the rare occasion I can't make it work, I strip all the parts, test them out and put them aside as spares.

    I just do it as a hobby but I've kept a lot of old computers out of the waste stream. I have considered turning it into a side business though. There are quite a few people running computers trouble-free that I've rescued and recycled.

    I guess my point, if you're computer is broken, you may as well try and fix it. It's not like you're going to make it any worse than inoperable.

  3. James Bruce
    March 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    sure thing, ill do one now. expect it to be published next week.

  4. fruitgeek
    March 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    MUO Team, could you please write an article on how to diagnose a problem, specifically, how do I know if the power supply is the problem?

    • James Bruce
      March 19, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      sure thing, ill do one now. expect it to be published next week.

  5. fruitgeek
    March 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    MUO Team, could you please write an article on how to diagnose a problem, specifically, how do I know if the power supply is the problem?

  6. Anonymous
    March 19, 2011 at 3:25 am

    bit off topic but is there a way to know what maximum RAM my mother board can support?

    • Aibek
      March 29, 2011 at 10:20 am

      that's not a biggie, just googleyour motherboard model and look for its specs. It should be mentioned.