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Find out how to replace a hard drive and RAM in an HP TouchSmart 520 PC

Jim Greer of Angel Computer Systems, Inc. shows us how to replace the hard drive and RAM in an HP TouchSmart 520 PC


The procedure to replace a hard drive and RAM in the HP TouchSmart 520 PC is pretty basic. Begin by getting the correct tools for the job. For this job, you only need a Philips head screwdriver. You may want to have a can of compressed air nearby for any dust or debris you may encounter. For an all-in-one computer like this one, I recommend placing a piece of cardboard or a towel on the work surface to prevent screen damage.

The first step is to remove the back casing of the computer to expose the internal components. Place the computer screen down to access the back panel. There are a total of 3 screws to remove. Two are located in the lower corners, and one is hidden by a panel in the lower middle. The panel snaps off with very little effort, exposing the hidden screw. Remove all 3 screws and lift the back cover off slowly.

We will begin by replacing the hard drive. The hard drive is enclosed in a metal bracket for mounting. The casing is held in place by one screw only. The screw is located on the side closest to the side of the computer. Unscrew it and slide the bracket away from the middle toward the side of the computer. It should lift off easily. The hard drive is secured to the bracket by 4 screws; 2 on each side. Remove the screws and slide the hard drive out of the casing. This would be a good time to use the can of compressed air to blow any dust away from the bracket.

Now we will install the replacement hard drive. The procedure is just reversed for installation. Secure the new hard drive back into the bracket with the 4 screws. Place the mounting bracket back into the computer case, making sure to slide the hard drive toward the connections. Do not force it in! If it doesn’t seem to fit properly, look closely at the connections, and slide gently. After the bracket is back in place, just tighten the screw back down.

Next, we will replace the RAM modules. The RAM is located under a rectangular metal screen in the lower right of the exposed back. The screen is snapped in place and not secured with any screws. Gently pry it loose and expose the 2 RAM slots. The RAM modules are held in place with 2 small clips, one on each side. There are 2 modules in this computer, stacked on top of each other. Remove the top module by gently pulling the retaining clips apart, which will cause the module to pop up from the mount. Slide the first one out, then repeat the procedure with the one that is now exposed.

The new RAM modules can now be installed. Place one of the new RAM sticks into the slot and press it into place until the retaining clips take hold. Repeat the procedure with the 2nd, or top, module. The notches in the sides of the RAM modules is where the clips will fit and clamp shut. The metal screen can now be replaced over the RAM. Just snap it back into place to protect the components.

The computer can now be reassembled since the components have been replaced. The back cover slides in at the top and lowers into place. Again, do not force anything! If it doesn’t seem to seat properly, check the sides and try again. After it is back in place, replace and tighten the 3 screws that were removed during the beginning of the process. The last step is to snap the rectangular plastic piece back in place, and the job is complete!


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