How to replace a cracked Chromebook XE303C12 screen for $44

I got a Chromebook a while back. I believe that for at least the mid-term future, the web browser is the de-facto common platform for software, and at $250, the Chromebook is a lightweight, reasonably performant, and affordable price of entry into the rich world of web applications.

Unfortunately I think there were some corners cut in terms of durability to reach the $250 price point. It worked great, fast enough for my needs and very portable, but the screen cracked one day seemingly at random while I was out of the room. There’s not much of a market for Chromebooks with cracked screens, and according to Internet forums the “tech support” is something of a racket designed to fleece customers. I looked into DIY repair options and it turns out the fix is pretty cheap / simple to do at home. It literally took me five minutes.

What you’ll need:


This quick video on Youtube from Dennis Padiernos illustrates the procedure pretty well.

  • Completely power off the computer.
  • Use your fingernail to remove the screen cover, starting from the inside.
    • Save the bottom of the cover for last – this part is held on by a sticky tape. You will have to be persistent and apply steady force. Start from the middle of the bottom and work your way out. The parts are all plastic so don’t use too much force.
  • Remove the screws holding the screen in place. There are only four screws, two on each side of the screen.
  • Lay the screen flat on the keyboard. Locate the cable running from the computer to the screen and disconnect by pulling on the little yellow plastic “handle” on the side closest to you. Be gentle because the metal on the connector is very soft and easy to bend.
  • Place the old screen aside and maneuver the new screen in place, face-down on the keyboard. Align the cable with the screen connector socket, using the yellow plastic handle to maneuver it. It’s hard to see the tiny connector, but the cable side is male and the screen side is female. Pull the two sides together once they are aligned; it should snap it into place.
  • Hold the new screen in place against the computer and reconnect using the four screws. You should be able to turn on the computer now and verify the screen functions.
  • Press the screen cover in place.

That’s it! I wish you and your new screen a long and happy life.

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