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How To Replace A Dell Inspiron Laptop Heat Sink And Fan Assembly

Posted in Computers by Joe Colburn on the October 10th, 2007

Before I get started, I should thank Dan and Sherree for this article that saved me the headache of trying to go enter my wife’s Dell Inspirion 1100 from the bottom only to find that would be a waste of time. Now on to the destructions.. er.. I mean INstructions.

First, I like to label the screws I’m going to remove on a piece of paper to avoid confusion. If there’s a lot, I like to use scotch tape to keep them all apart. In this case, we only have five screws, so no tape.

Dell Inspirion Repair

Also, you’ll need a slotted screwdriver and a Phillips head as well. The Phillips head should have a small point on it. Needle-nosed pliers will also make unlocking the ZIF CPU socket easier.

Diving in, you want to pry up the top plate with a slotted screwdriver. Remember to open the laptop all the way (push the screen all the way back) to let the plate come up easily. There’s four or five plastic slots that will pop out as you pry the thing up. Go from right to left.

Dell Inspirion Repair

When you pull the top plate off, you’ll see four black screws. You’ll need to remove these to pull the keyboard up. I’ve pointed to them with my screwdrivers, but I’m sure you’ll see them.

Dell Inspirion Repair
Dell Inspirion Repair

Remember. The keyboard should remain attached, so use care when lifting it out of the way. On the right side, you’ll see a metal cover protecting the heat sink, CPU, and other vital stuff from, well, you. Just remove that. It has only one screw, so they want you in there, anyway.

Dell Inspirion RepairDell Inspirion Repair

With the metal protective plate removed, you should see the heat sink / fan assembly and probably some dust. The assembly has four screws. Hold on. First, unlock the ZIF CPU socket before trying to pull the heatsink out.

Dell Inspirion Repair

Now throw the new one in there and lock the ZIF CPU socket again.

Dell Inspirion Repair

About the author

Joe Colburn Joe Colburn is a software engineer specializing in PHP and a technology enthusiast. Always eager to dive into new and exciting things, Joe writes about anything technology related news and products that he thinks you will also be excited about. Find Joe Colburn on Google+ or by any of the links below.

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Seo Manipulator
Seo Manipulator

interesting I am glad I never had to do that.  I don't think I could. 

4 Link Suspension
4 Link Suspension

Great post. Tech info can be used on other applications I think too. Cheers.

Chiropractic Marketing
Chiropractic Marketing

Awesome...thank you so much for this informative lesson. Sometimes you think you know how to do something and then you read to find out you were wrong. Saved me buying unnecessary parts. 

Muhammad Irshad
Muhammad Irshad

Joe you are wonderful- it has solved my problem and save money

DamienMoye 1 Like

Thanks for the tips about screwdrivers. Last time I used the wrong one, and I had to buy a new keyboard!

TechoTalk 1 Like

its really disgusting even my friends also suffering for this i feel like dell is bad in their heat pad coz after they get heat up their processor become slow

LutherM 1 Like

Thank you thank you thank!!!  I took appart the computer and removed the fan for cleaning (and I was curious) but I couldnt put the fan heat sink pin things back in properly, they just wouldn't  fit back in and they stuck out a bit and it was not sitting very snug.I then put it together and the computer turned on but nothing was happening (I panicked a bit)...After reading this post I realised I needed to unlock the ZIF CPU and when I did it fit in perfect and bam! it works. Thanks again.

Stress Care
Stress Care

Very safe full explain, good to share

p90x 1 Like

I would be scared to death taking this thing apart with the fear that I wouldn't be able to put it back together again correctly. Very detailed guide Joe. I was planning to get a used Inspiron so I may have to use this guide down the road.

- Robert


  1. [...] JoeTech – How to replace a Dell Inspiron Laptop heat sink and fan assembly. I’m so not technical, I’ll think I’ll read this blog more often now. [...]

  2. [...] as I’ve done here. When giving a tutorial, use screenshots, or photos like I used in my laptop repair article over on [...]



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