How to Replace a Dell Latitude CPx Laptop Motherboard

Written by jean brewer
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How to Replace a Dell Latitude CPx Laptop Motherboard
You can replace the motherboard in your Dell laptop. (motherboard image by Pershing from

All good electronics eventually fail regardless of how well they are cared for. In a laptop such as the Dell Latitude CPx, certain parts such as the motherboard are as essential as the motor in a car. Many components are built into the Dell Latitude CPx laptop motherboard and if one of those components fails it is more cost-effective to replace the entire motherboard than to attempt to repair that single component.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Replacement motherboard kit
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Microprocessor extractor tool

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  1. 1

    Power off the laptop by choosing “Shut Down” on the Windows menu. Close the laptop lid.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the AC adaptor and any other cables that may be connected to the Latitude CPx.

  3. 3

    Remove the main battery. Remove the secondary battery (if installed).

  4. 4

    Remove devices from the modular bay if present.

  5. 5

    Turn the laptop upside down and remove the seven Phillips-head screws labelled with the circle “k” located on the laptop bottom, then turn the laptop right side up and open the lid.

  6. 6

    Insert a small flathead screwdriver under the blank key on the keyboard and lift up on the right side of the keyboard. Lift the keyboard away from the palm rest and rotate over the left edge of the computer. Disconnect the keyboard and track stick cables and remove the keyboard assembly.

  7. 7

    Remove the display assembly by closing the lid and removing the four screws labelled with the circle “d” from the rear of the computer. Open the lid and disconnect the display cable from the motherboard by pulling straight up. Lift the display lid and pry the hinge cover loose from the tabs on the bottom portion of the laptop gently using the flathead screwdriver.

  8. 8

    Turn the computer upside down and remove the five screws labelled circle “p,” turn the laptop right side up, disconnect the palm-rest cable from the motherboard and then remove the palm-rest assembly.

  9. 9

    Remove the three screws from the microprocessor shield, loosen the three captive screws on the microprocessor shield, remove the screw that secures the microprocessor shield brace then remove the microprocessor shield.

  10. 10

    Rotate the thermal cooling assembly arm up and away before using the microprocessor extractor tool to remove the microprocessor from the motherboard.

  11. 11

    Remove all PC cards and blanks from the PC card slot, and ensure that none of the PC card ejector tabs extend from the PC card slot.

  12. 12

    Remove the two screws securing the motherboard assembly.

  13. 13

    Remove the screw and washer securing the modem assembly then lift up and remove the modem.

  14. 14

    Lift the motherboard out of the bottom of the laptop case.

  1. 1

    Transfer the memory cards from the old motherboard to the new motherboard. Install the new motherboard.

  2. 2

    Replace the modem. Replace the two motherboard mounting screws.

  3. 3

    Replace the microprocessor, the palm rest, display and keyboard assemblies. Replace modular bay devices, PC cards or blanks, and replace the battery/batteries.

  4. 4

    Reconnect the AC adaptor.

  5. 5

    Insert the floppy disk or CD-ROM that came with the motherboard replacement kit into the correct drive before turning on the computer. Follow the instructions on the screen to program the system tag number into the new motherboard.

Tips and warnings

  • The BIOS (basic input/output system) chip located on the motherboard contains the system tag number from Dell. This number is also placed on a bar code attached to the bottom of the laptop. The motherboard replacement kit contains a floppy disk or CD-ROM that contains a program to transfer the service tag number to the new motherboard.
  • You may not feel the effects of every single static discharge but your laptop will and could be seriously damaged. Protect your Dell Latitude CPx by wearing an anti-static wristband and using caution when handling computer components.
  • Do not force any components during assembly or disassembly. If the items will not connect easily, verify that they are being joined correctly to avoid damage to the components.

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