How to remove a computer screw with a sheared head

Written by contributing writer
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Everyone has been faced with removing a stripped screw at least once in their life. Removing a stripped screw usually leaves a little damage to the area around it. This is fine on a wooden deck or somewhere a little scratch or mark will not matter, but not on your computer. A stripped screw on a computer poses two problems: the risk of damaging the computer to remove the screw and the increased difficulty of removing tiny screws often found on computers. With a little work, you can remove a stripped screw from a computer.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flathead screwdrivers (different sizes)
  • Philips screwdrivers (different sizes)
  • Small wire cutters (the ones with the pointed ends)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Dremel tool and metal cutting disc bit
  • Titanium drill bit (diameter slightly smaller than screw)
  • Drill

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  1. 1

    Select a Phillips screwdriver in which the tip will fit tightly in the stripped out screw hole. Place the screwdriver tip into the screw hole, put pressure on the screw with the screwdriver and try to turn the screw counterclockwise. If you still can't turn the screw, go to the next step.

  2. 2

    Using the needle nose pliers, open the pliers and pinch the screw head with the pliers. Squeeze the pliers tightly, and turn the screw counterclockwise. If the screw does not turn, go to the next step.

  3. 3

    Using the wire cutters, pinch both sides of the head of the screw. Squeeze tightly so the cutters bite into the screw a little. With the cutters bit into the screw, keep a tight squeeze on the cutters, and turn the screw counterclockwise. If you still can not unscrew the screw, move on to the next step.

  4. 4

    Using the Dremel tool with the metal cutting disc bit, carefully cut a slot in the top of the screw deep enough for a flathead screwdriver to fit in the slot. Take a flathead screwdriver, sized to fit the blade tip in the newly created slot, and place it in the screw head slot and turn counterclockwise. You should be able to unscrew the screw, but if you still can't, go to the final step.

  5. 5

    Using your drill and a titanium drill bit, carefully drill straight down through the middle of the screw. If the screw does not fall out or cannot be pulled out with needle nose pliers after the hole is through the screw, move to one size bigger drill bit, and drill straight through the screw again, removing a little more of the screw with the larger drill bit. Try removing the screw, and repeat with bigger drill bits until you have removed the screw.

Tips and warnings

  • If you own an Apple computer, take your computer into an official Apple store, and they can remove the screw for free and without your risking any damage to your computer. Take other newly purchased computers into the store to remove the stripped screw. Call your store before taking your computer in.
  • To prevent stripping screws in the future, always use the correct size screwdrivers to unscrew the screws on your computer.
  • Step 5 can pose the biggest risk to damaging your computer.Don't attempt this step until you have tried all the other steps first.

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