I dont usually do hardware but every now and then I’m feeling generous and/or brave and will give it a go. The task in question was replacing a combo drive on an Acer laptop that couldnt read DVDs, which is odd as most of the research I did indicated that combo drives would stop reading CDs but continue to read DVDs. Anyway after fiddling with zones, deleting and readding to the device manager and cleaning the lens, I forked out for a new combo drive. The charge for installing it was to be $60 but I thought ‘how hard can it be?’

In most cases Google is my friend and we find the info we need to do the job – this applies to just about any task – but it was pretty bleak, I wasnt getting a lot of useful data about taking apart laptops fullstop. To cut a long story short I ended up getting there using a combination of websites and just following my nose, which involved removing every screw I could find (unfortunately one stripped in the process, will need to drill it out, dang!) and prying the case (gently!).

Turns out it was  a lot easier than I thought … to replace a combo drive on an Acer Travelmate 2403Wxci try the following (keep the screws somewhere safe and remove the battery first):

  1. Pry the cover by the monitor hinges, above the keyboard to expose a couple of screws holding the keyboard down.
  2. Remove all screws on the bottom of the laptop.
  3. Unscrew the keyboard, raise up and unscrew all the screws – particularly those around the combo drive.
  4. You should now by able to pry the combo drive out of its bay – dont force it, if its not coming unscrew a few more screws
  5. I swapped over the face plates on the combo drives so the new one would match – just pry them gently off.
  6. Slide in the new drive and restart the machine. Theres every chance the laptop will freeze when you first try to use the new drive – just force a shutdown and restart – it should be fine now.
  7. Screw everything back into place.
Disassembling an Acer Travelmate 2403 laptop