How to remove a wireless card from a laptop?

Written by m. wade
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How to remove a wireless card from a laptop?
(Photo courtesy: M. Connors)

An internal wireless card is a hardware device inside of a laptop that enables your laptop to access high-speed wireless networks. Most new laptops come equipped with an internal wireless card and house the card in a compartment underneath the laptop. If your internal wireless card is no longer functional or you are seeking to upgrade to a better wireless card, there are several steps you must follow to protect you and your laptop from injury.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Laptop screwdriver set
  • ESD wristband

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  1. 1

    Turn off the laptop and remove the battery. Shut down your laptop through the operating system and close the lid. Flip the laptop over and remove the battery from its compartment. Depending on your laptop model, the battery may be removed by sliding it out from its compartment or by pressing a button to eject it.

  2. 2

    Remove all attached devices and cables. Unplug the power cord from the laptop and detach all cables and devices. This includes unplugging any Ethernet cable, phone line, headphones, USB cables or mouse that may be attached to your laptop.

  3. 3

    Locate the wireless card compartment and remove the cover. Depending on your laptop model, your laptop may or may not have labelled compartments. Some laptops house the wireless card in the same compartment as the memory. If you are unsure which compartment houses your wireless card, consult your laptop's user guide. To open the compartment, use a screwdriver to remove the screw. Be sure to note the type of screw (e.g., F4, F6, F16, B25) you must remove, as this will indicate the type of laptop screwdriver you will need.

  4. 4

    Detach the two antenna wires. After removing the cover, locate the two small wires attached to the wireless card. Gently twist and pull up on the gold (or yellow) clips found at the end of the wires to detach them from the wireless card. Do not yank the wires to detach them.

  5. 5

    Press the latch clips outward. There are two clips, one on each side of the wireless card, that secure the wireless card in its slot. Place your thumbs on each of these clips and push outward to unlatch them. Release the latches when you see the wireless card lift up out of the slot.

  6. 6

    Remove the wireless card from the compartment. Gently grasp the sides of the wireless card and remove it from the slot. Before putting the cover back onto the empty compartment, tuck the antenna wires so that they do not get stuck underneath the cover. Place the cover back onto the compartment, place the screw back into the hole, and use the screwdriver to attach the cover back on.

Tips and warnings

  • The location of your internal wireless card compartment will vary depending on your laptop model.
  • If you are removing a wireless PC card from your laptop's CardBus, as opposed to removing an internal wireless card, simply push the eject button next to the CardBus slot. This will eject the wireless PC card.
  • When preparing to open the wireless card component, you should wear a ESD (electrostatic discharge) wristband or other grounding device. This will keep you grounded while you work on the laptop and prevent static from permanently damaging the laptop's hardware components.
  • Do not remove open your laptop or remove any hardware components if your laptop is still under warranty. Doing so may void the warranty.
  • If you are not comfortable with laptop hardware components, you should not attempt to remove your internal wireless card. Instead, seek the assistance of a computer specialist.

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