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  HP 17-ca2002na...

[10 November 2020] I ordered one of these for a client, but some alterations were required:

Firstly, I would class this as a budget 17" laptop with Windows 10. It's nothing special or flashy, but I typically work from the bottom of the pile and work my way up. On this occasion the HP 17-ca2002na was in stock and came in at a good price, the main thing it was lacking was an SSD. Instead it had a 1TB hard drive. I really think these are to be avoided unless you really need the space over responsiveness (and aren't prepared to shell out for a 1TB SSD). I typically recommend a 240GB as that's generally adequate for the people I do work for; if the laptop came with a 120GB SSD I would have left it as is.

Another thing, which my client had sort of stipulated/showed a preference for was 8GB of RAM and this one only had 4GB. For his usage the difference probably wouldn't have been noticeable, but since I would be opening up the laptop to replace the HDD, and I had 8GB of DDR4 to hand, I went ahead and replaced both.

Disclaimer: If you don't know what you're doing, don't go dismantling things you don't have a clue about or can't afford to replace if you bugger things up. I'm not responsible if you get yourself in a pickle. That being said, you might find this page useful or just interesting.

The HP came shipped with 1 x 4GB DDR4, with one slot free to add more. I however opted to replace that single module with a matched pair. That's what I had to hand.

Laptops are becoming less friendly when it comes to replacing or upgrading such parts, with no simple-access covers and batteries being "built-in". This HP isn't so bad though; the base is clipped on, but it also has a handful of screws (some hidden - which is the main purpose of this page).

Steps for removing the cover / base of the laptop:

Ensure the laptop is shutdown and unplugged (and not just put to sleep).

I would recommend wearing cotton gloves since the plastic of this laptop is of the annoying (and all-too-common) kind that retains fingerprints.

Remove the four visible screws from the base.

There are two long rubber pads acting as feet, running the width of the base of the laptop, front and back.

The front pad has a screw hidden under each end; prise up each end and undo the screws there.

The rear pad has four screws hidden behind it so you will need to virtually peel off the whole pad to gain access to them.

Obvious screws (green) and hidden screws (red)

You will then need to use a plastic pry too (or thin guitar pick/plectrum) to unclip the top panel from the base working your way around the perimeter (watch some Youtube videos to see how this is done) being careful not to mar the plastic.

The base will then pull off (being careful to ensure you haven't missed any screws).

Replacing the components:

I always remove the battery before touching any components. In this case it is held in place with four screws; with these removed it can be lifted off the board. I then press the power button on the laptop to ensure any remaining power is drained.

I then removed the RAM and Hard Drive and replaced them, installing the replacement SSD in the Hard Drives 'cage'.

I then reinstalled the battery and powered on the laptop to ensure all was well. It started up only prompting me regarding the CMOS data since the battery had been removed (no separate CMOS battery in these).

Once I was satisfied the replacement components were installed OK I powered down the laptop and replaced the cover and screws (and feet pads) and proceeded to (re)install Windows from a USB drive.

Final notes:

  • As mentioned, this laptop is fairly accessible; I'd prefer to not have to unclip the whole base in this way, but laptops these days rarely have separate access covers for HDD/SSD and RAM. The battery is also housed within and not easily removable/replaceable.
  • The plastic is the annoying kind that marks easily with fingerprints.
  • This laptop thankfully still has an ethernet socket; I've come across a few now that have done away with this since most people use WiFi.
  • This model lacks a DVD drive (as many laptops do now), although there is the internal space for one.
  • While this laptop (like many cheap ones now) lacks a power light on/near the power button to indicate the system is on (let alone a hard drive light), it does actually have these lights on the right side; not all that visible and obvious, but at least it has them.

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