How to Open a PC Case? Step by Step Guide for Newbies

If you need to access the computer’s internal components for upgrade or replacement, opening the computer case is necessary. Although it is a straightforward process, many people still don’t know how to open a PC cases.

If you are also one of those people, this article will help you with “how to open a computer case.” But first, we need to understand the basics of the PC case.

What is a PC Case?

A PC case (or computer chassis) is the enclosure that contains most of the components of a computer. The case is usually constructed of steel, aluminum, or both and provides a physical structure to which other components are attached.

How to Open a PC Case – A Step by Step Guide for Newbies

Cases usually include separate compartments for peripheral components such as disk drives, the power supply, the motherboard, video cards, and the CPU. The drive bays may be integrated into the case or located in a separate enclosure.

Drives are usually mounted in the drive bays using slide rails or proprietary trays or, for 3.5-inch drives, retaining clips. The case usually also has bays for adding expansion cards. These bays support either PCI or ISA expansion cards. Cases are not airtight and thus are usually used together with a fan to provide cooling.

According to Case Type How to Open a Desktop Computer

There are many different types of cases. They come in different shapes and sizes, so it will be hard to talk about them all, but we will try to cover what you need to know about “how to open a desktop computer.”

Tower Cases:

Tower cases are popular among hardcore gamers because they provide much more space than their desktop counterparts. The case is popular due to its open nature (one sleeve or two panels on each side) and provides people with decent cable management options while also showcasing components in clear, easy-to-view ways.

Separate Panels:

Separate panel computer cases are often opened by removing two or three screws on each side of the back panel and then sliding off the panel. Additionally, some separate panel computer cases have a quick-release feature that removes the panel by simply pushing a button, pulling a tab, or moving a lever.

Separate pc case panels

When purchasing a case with this feature, there should also be markings informing users of its quick-release point. When you have removed all of the screws or pushed back the latches, you will be able to slide the panels back. Be careful as computer cases tend to contain sharp edges and can sometimes be more difficult than they appear.

Single Sleeve:

This type of case is easier to open by removing up to six screws depending on the computer. Once all the screws get removed, slide the whole sleeve backward. Some resellers have instructions specific to their model of sleeve cases which you should follow first before attempting any work on your best case.

Desktop Cases:

The most common desktop computer case has a variety of screws on various sides, some on the back and others not, some under the motherboard and others above. Once you have removed these pieces, lift on the desktop computer cover with your left hand while sliding the cover backward using your right hand while simultaneously lifting it underneath.

A Step by Step Guide to Open a PC Case

Generally, working with the modification of the computer is not a hectic task unless you know what you are doing. Similarly, opening the computer case is quite simple, and it takes only dealing with the screws and safely opening the cover.

Here is the step-by-step guide to further explain the process in detail. It can help you to avoid any problems that you can face when opening the computer case.

1) What Tools Do you Need?

When opening pc case computer by yourself, you only really need a Philips head screwdriver. It is best to use two, one big one for leverage and the other small for tiny areas of your computer case.

If working in an environment that produces static electricity, you might want to wear an anti-static bracelet if possible. Finally, bowls are useful to place your screws into so they don’t roll away while inside your computer case.

2) Turn the Computer Off

Before you get started with opening computer case, turn off your computer. You can do this by going to the Start Menu or button and selecting ‘Shut Down.’ Or you can use the power button and press it for a few seconds to completely turn the computer off.

Once the computer has completely shut down, you will know it’s time to open up your case. To make sure your computer is off, check all of the corners because some computers stick in a sleep mode in which they turn off their monitor but keep running on a minimum power mode

3) Unplugging the Power Cable

Unplugging the Power Cable

Unplugging it is an important step. Some people think that turning off a computer by pressing what is always referred to as “the big power button” on the front of the computer is sufficient to turn it off. However, this isn’t true for every device. Some components won’t completely turn off unless you specifically unplug their power cables.

4) Removing all Peripherals

Removing all the external devices and peripherals is important before taking the case off from the desktop. It minimizes the clutter of the cables and makes the process much easier.

Attention needs to remove all the cables that connect to the PC case. Ensure to remove VGA and HDMI cables as they can also interfere with the opening of the PC case.

5) Remove the Side Panel

Removing the side panel can take some pondering as some cases have screws and some have screwless side panels.

Cases with Screws: Some cases have a few screws on the back that you can unscrew with a screwdriver to take off the side panels. You can do that if your case has those screws on it with the help of a Phillips-head screwdriver. However, all cases don’t have these screws.
Some cases don’t have completely removable screws. In that case, you need to unscrew them as much you can with the help of a screw driver. Keep the screws aside in the bowl so that you can easily pick them up while closing the computer case.
Take a precaution not to remove the screws that keep the power supply connected to the case. They are responsible for keeping the supply in its position, and unscrewing them can cause it to fall into the computer. It can directly damage the power supply or other internal components.

Cases with Single Thumbscrew: Some cases are screwless when it comes to removing the side panel. However, some of these have single thumbscrews that need removal. You only need to find that thumbscrew from the backside of the computer case.
After you have done removing the thumbscrew, you can easily remove the side case. Press the small levers that are present on the side panel to lift it easily. The levers placement can vary, but they all work by lifting against the side cover.

Cases with No Thumbscrew: In modern PC covers, sometimes there is no thumbscrew or screws that need removal. In these cases, some buttons do the deed of keeping the PC cover to the case. Find the button that keeps the cover close. You can often find the button on the front bottom portion of the case. Press the button and slide the case to remove it easily.

6) Removing the Front Cover

Sometimes removing the front cover is also needed with the side panel. It is especially useful for accessing the hard disk drive or optical drive. To get started with the process, first, turn the computer off and remove the power cables. Now remove the side panel by following the above steps.

Removing the Front Cover

Dig deep and locate the locks and tabs that secure the front panel. Pull the front panel away from the case by carefully unlocking the tabs. Once you remove all the tabs, slightly pull the front to the left and remove the front panel.

7) Removing the Back Panel

Back case removal is no different from removing the front and side panel. If you are looking for simple steps, here are some. Detach the keyboard and other peripherals from the computer. Turn off the computer and detach any cables attached. Lay the computer to the flat surface and place a cloth under it to prevent scratches.

Remove the side panel and open the screws using a suitable tool. Once you have removed the screws, pull off the back panel from one side and gradually remove it using slight force. Don’t use force to the extent that it breaks the back panel. Once you have followed all these steps, the back cover will easily get off the case.

How to Put the PC Case Back Together?

Reattaching the opened computer case is not much challenging as it requires following the reverse of the steps needed to open the PC case. Make sure that all wires and connections are in a proper place with their respective slots.

Keep an eye that no tools are inside the case. They can interfere with functioning and can cause physical damage to the internal parts. Once you are sure that all connections are fixed properly and there are no tools inside, you can reattach the lids.

In some instances, your computer case will require you to close a few screws into the lid before closing. In other scenarios, it can shut closed on its own by a simple sliding action. The easiest way to make sure you put your PC back together correctly is by reversing the process used when initially taking it apart.

After that, you can reattach the cables and other peripherals and turn the PC on to check if it is working.

Best Practices for Opening and Closing a PC Case

  • Always read the instructions given in the manual provided with the case.
  • Disconnect all the peripherals and printers if connected.
  • Remove the internet cards or ethernet connection.
  • Use a flathead screwdriver to open the case.
  • Always use a flat surface to place the computer.

Prefer using a cloth to place the computer before starting the process.


Hi, I am Robert. I made myself expert in all PC components. I tested and taken reviews from users, specially Gamers to make a reliable buying guide and best product descriptions. It will help to find compatible parts and save your money on PC custom build.

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