May 12, 2022

Learn how to tear down/repair Surface Laptop Studio from Microsoft

In a video posted on the Microsoft Surface YouTube channel, Microsoft demonstrates the repairability of the Surface Laptop Studio. The 14-minute high-level demo takes you through a full teardown of the device and highlights some of the components that can be replaced with minimal tools.

Of course, Microsoft warns that you seek professional assistance with device repairs and exercise caution when doing this on your own, but the video is interesting enough for experienced repairers. The tools needed include a spudger, tweezers and Torx plus screwdrivers with a 3IP tip and a 6IP tip. An anti-static wrist strap is even recommended, to avoid frying the internal components. Microsoft also mentions that guides are available in the service guides on the Microsoft support website.

Thanks to this video, we can see that to enter the bowels of the Laptop Studio, you must first tear off the rubber feet as well as the cosmetic tape surrounding the lower lip of the device. This will then give access to seven screws, and two screws on the edge. Once these are removed, you can then remove the back plate and access the SSD to replace it and also cut the power (with only two screws) or remove the battery cable and then the battery.

With the backplate and SSD removed, Microsoft goes a step further to emphasize the repairability of the device beyond just those components. According to Colin Ravenscroft, who handles the teardown, the fans, motherboard, and display module are all removable with no hidden adhesives or glue. “We really wanted to make sure that we were focused on getting the repair the right size and getting you up and running as soon as possible,” said Ravenscroft, senior DFX engineer, Design for Repair, Microsoft.

The repair video then shows the process of replacing the display module (mark 4:50), Surface Connect port and audio jack (mark 7:04), fans (mark 8:43), subwoofers (mark 9:51.) Even the motherboard is removed (10:47,) along with the thermal module (11:43,) revealing that Microsoft has visual indications (via stickers) of where the screws might be covered. Microsoft then ends the video by mentioning that when reassembling, removing the SSD puts it into repair mode, so the device won’t turn on until a charger is plugged in.

It’s really great to see that many of the Surface Laptop Studio’s components are replaceable, but it’s also a shame that to get into the device, users have to replace both the rubber feet and the adhesive tape. If you’re not careful, these can get damaged and make the Laptop Studio look pretty ugly when reassembled.

Either way, it’s a huge win for repairability. Microsoft said in October 2021 that a third-party organization would study the environmental and social impacts of increasing consumers’ options for repairing their devices. It has also teamed up with iFixit on Surface repair tools for certified technicians, making device repairs faster and more efficient. The new Surface Laptop SE in Education is also a fairly serviceable device, mostly made of plastic.

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