Software & Apps Windows 125 125 people found this article helpful How to Open a Desktop Computer Case by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on March 13, 2020 Windows The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide Tweet Share Email A computer case houses all the parts of a computer. You'll need to open the case to access the various components inside, like the hard drive, motherboard, video card, etc. Every computer case is a little different, but these instructions will point you in the right direction no matter what computer case you may have. 11 Ways to Keep Your Computer Cool 01 of 05 Turn the Computer Off © Edward Shaw/E+/Getty Images Before opening the case, you must turn the computer off. Shut down your operating system as you normally do. On the back of your computer, locate the power switch and turn it off, as shown above. Some computers don't have a power switch on the back of the computer. If you don't find one, skip to the next step. 02 of 05 Unplug the Power Cable Unplug the Power Cable. © Tim Fisher Unplug the power cable that's currently plugged in to the power supply on the back of your computer. This is an important step! It may seem overly cautious to remove the power cable in addition to powering off the computer normally, but some parts of a computer remain powered on even when the computer seems to be off. 03 of 05 Remove All External Cables and Attachments Remove All External Cables and Attachments. © Tim Fisher Remove all cables and other devices attached to to your computer. This will make it much easier to work inside your computer and to move it around as needed. 04 of 05 Remove the Side Panel Retaining Screws Remove the Side Panel Retaining Screws. © Tim Fisher Remove the outermost screws from the case—the ones that are holding the side panels to the rest of the case. You'll likely need a phillips-head screwdriver to remove these screws but some cases have screws you can turn by hand. Set these screws aside, or unscrew them as far as you can if this case doesn't have fully removable screws. You'll need to use them to secure the side panels to the case again when you're through working inside your computer. Take care not to remove the screws that are securing the power supply to the case. These screws are more inset than the case retaining screws and may cause the power supply to fall into the computer, possibly causing damage. 05 of 05 Remove the Case Side Panel Remove the Case Side Panel. © Tim Fisher The case side panel can now be removed. Sometimes the panel can simply be lifted off while other times it may be attached to the case in a slide-lock manner. No matter the mechanism, you should be able to easily jar the panel loose.