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This page outlines the process for preparing a computer which has failed Evaluation to be dismantled. The predismantler should have a stack of computers next to his/her station to work on.

Before Predismantling

Though not necessary, it is advised to wear work gloves, as the origins of the computers are usually unknown, and many have sharp edges or corners.

Getting Started

Opening the Case

Typically the panel of a case hiding access to the computer's guts is, if looking at the front of the case head-on with the computer top-side-up, on your left. Sometimes a case will have a 3-sided shell that extends over both sides and the top of the computer.

  • Unscrew any case screws binding the panel or shell to the rest of the case. Usually these screws are found on the back. Occasionally they will be covered by the front panel, which would then need removing first.
  • Once all the necessary screws are removed, the case can be slid, or in some cases lifted off. Occasionally there will be clips at the front which have to be opened first. This is done by pressing them in a certain direction as to allow them to fit through an opening, and then sliding the case so that the clips are no longer holding it in place.

What to Remove

  • First, unplug and remove any flatwire. There should be a bin underneath the station to store them in.
  • Find out if there is a hard disk drive. If so, remove it. Generally, they will be located at the front of the computer inside a metal holding space, underneath any CD or DVD drives. Depending on the computer type, there are two ways to remove the hard drive:
    • Remove screws on each side of the hard drive connecting it to the holding space, then pull it out
    • Slide the hard drive out the front of the machine (Usually requires removing the front panel)
  • Look at the optical drives. By inspecting the front of the drives, determine if any are DVD or CDRW. If so, remove them and put them aside in a designated spot at your station. If not, leave them as they are. Also, if there are any Zip drives, remove them. Ignore regular floppy drives.
  • Remove any Pieces of RAM in the motherboard. To do so, simply push down the tabs on both sides of the RAM and pull it out. There should be a bin somewhere on the desk of your station to put it in.
  • Remove any expansion cards. These are larger rectangular pieces inside slots on the motherboard which have ports on the end that are visible from the back of the computer. They usually have one screw holding them to the frame of the computer, and after this is taken out, the card can be easily removed from it's slot, and put into an appropriately labeled bin underneath the station.


Once all this is done, put the case back on, with at least one screw for each loose case component, and take the computer over to the Dismantling station, where there should be a stack for you to put it on.