Dell Inspiron N3010 (13R) HDD replacement

My Dell N3010 with Intel Core i3 is starting to show its age so I wanted to give it a level up by replacing the 7200rpm HDD with a SSD.

Replacing the HDD is not easy, beside backing and later restoring all your data, you will also have to disassemble all your computer.

I could not find any guide for opening the N3010, so I started documenting the process, starting from a nice guide for N5010 provided by

Go read that tutorial and then continue to read this page.

The layout for the N3010 is a bit different, there is CD-ROM unit, and the HDD is placed under the mainboard (not above as for N5010).

Removing the keyboard, top and bottom case and other cables is similar to N5010 and I will not write too much about it here.

This will void your warranty. This guide is only for "educational" purposes. Don't blame me if something went wrong. My laptop is out of warranty.

Step 0

Prepare your tools.

You will need a good quality screw driver and a piece of thin plastic ( guitar pick, gsm card holder)

A brush is recommended for removing the dust.

Tweezers will come handy when handling the screws.

Find a white table, or put a white sheet on the table or your workbench. This will help identify/finding lost screws.


Step 1

Start by removing the power cable, the battery and the crew from the memory cover. The memory cover will not come out easy. Use the piece of this plastic to open it.


Step 2

Remove the three screws around the memory cover (green).

Remove the 4 screws (pink) under the battery. These 4 screws are the only one with different size.

All other screws have the same size, so you don't have to worry from where they were removed.


Remove the memory. Remove the WiFi cables, the black and white cables.


The 4 different screws


Step 3

Remove the keyboard. Use the indications from the N5010 guide.


Step 4

Remove the screws from under the keyboard.

Remove the power button cable and touchpad cable (blue).

Carefully detach the wifi cables (red). Make sure you have disconnected them in step 2.


Step 5

Remove the screws from the back of the laptop. Use the guide for N5010 to unscrew them and remove the top. I will not get into much details here.


Step 6

After following step 5 and indications from N5010 guide you should have a clear main board, but still attached to the bottom cover.

We will continue by clearing the main board.

Remove the screws and cables around the FAN.

There are cables for FAN power and external VGA (blue). The external VGA cable might be glued to the fan. Gently remove it.

There is a screw under the external VGA cable (green) holding the FAN.

There is also a screw with an unknown role (red). The screw will stay attached to the cable. This may be the monitor grounding.

You will also find the main monitor cable (yellow). Probably you can detach it. I was able to disassemble the laptop without removing it. On my laptop the cable was firmly connected and I did not force it.

Take the FAN and clean it. Clean the fan connection to the out vents (brown). There can be a lot of dust and it may look like a filter. Is not a filter, just a lot of dust. Remove it.


Remove the speakers' cable, located near the right speaker.


Step 7

Continue with removing the monitor hinges.

When removing the screws holding the hinges, they might be partly covered. You can try doing step 8 first.


Step 8

In Step 5 we have removed the top cover, but there is still a top cover under the monitor.

We well also need to remove this part.


Step 9

Next you will have to remove the main board from the bottom cover.

There are a few screws marked with B on the mainboard.

Remove all of them or any other screw holding the mainboard.

Note that the mainboard is somehow fixed in the bottom cover by the external connectors. Use the plastic piece to help bending the bottom cover to allow removing the mainboard.


Step 10

While the internal monitor is still attached to the mainboard, flip the mainboard over the monitor as in the picture below.

It is recommended to put something over your monitor to protect it from scratches.

The HDD is not accessible and there is only one screw (green) holding it to the main board.

The HDD is placed in inside an adapter and replacing it should be easy.


Step 11

The botton cover should be now fully detached. It is recommend to clean it.


Step 12

Repeat the steps in reverse order to put everything back together.

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