When my 5-year-old-laptop bailed on me, I reacted like any strong independent woman with a brain and an alarm clock; I handed it off to my husband and said “This is broken, please fix it”. Seriously.

Women have been fighting for equality for nearly a century, and yet it’s common to find the nearest guy when one of our electronics isn’t working*.  Like me, many women who use computers daily don’t feel comfortable taking apart and putting back together their devices .

Being the feminist my husband is, he said NO……. but I’ll help you me to fix it yourself.”

He showed me iFixit.com and loaned me his iFixit Essential Electronics Toolkit, which has just about any tool I might need. Then I was on my own.


First, I did some research on iFixit to find out what was wrong. It’s friendly homepage asks: What would you like to fix today?” The site is organized by computer model, so I started by going to a page that specified in my 2010 13-inch MacBook pro. (HINT: Exact model numbers can be found on the back of your computer engraved in the smallest font imaginable. you may want to use a magnifying glass.)

I realized that I need to replace my trackpad, battery, and hard drive. To find the models I needed to order, I googled “2010 13-inch MacBook hard drive” and “2010 13-inch MacBook pro battery“…double checking model numbers and reviews on various sites, and comparing them to what iFixit showed in their instructions.


When I first started I was a bit nervous. I am a visual learner, and when instructions get too wordy, I lose focus. The clear and specific images on iFixit it were really helpful. (The images are model-specific because every model is internally quite different.) This guidance was perfect for me, but if you like things written out there are simple instructions as well. And iFixit’s brilliant toolkit, contained everything I needed to replace all three components.

ifixit toolkit

My husband stayed nearby and documented my adventure…

Greg Keras
Greg Keras

I felt giddy with accomplishment when all was completed and my computer was up-and-running again! (It inspired me to looked online for other computer hacks. I found an old article on RookieMag about how to build your own computer completely from scratch for about $100. I’m down with that!)

An old-school relationship said “I love you, so I’ll do it for you”.  My relationship says I love you, so I’ll help you learn how to do it yourself”.

What in your life that needs fixing? Can a little research and encouragement help you do it yourself?

Mira Keras

*(Women in programming and technology is a growing industry; this is not to discount that- it’s to encourage even more)


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7 replies on “How to Fix Your Computer (Love Means Helping You Do-It-Yourself)

  1. I say NO! to having to do it all. I did my garden including planting some trees requiring big holes in the ground, I stripped my kitchen cabinets, I care for my dog’s skin condition ongoing, I repaired and painted my canoe, I sew my clothes & curtains, I refurbish furniture, I prepare delicious meals, I host soirees for friends and then clean up, I wash my own windows, etc. etc.

    We cannot be expected to do everything ourself. Fix my computer? NO. I’ll take it to a geek – saves time and grief.

  2. Hey, no one said you had to do it all. But finding that you are able to fix something you THOUGHT was beyond your capability, can be truly liberating. (With Mira’s encouragment, I swapped out the hard drive on my old 17″ MacBook Pro, and felt like a million bucks.

  3. This is just the kind of thing I love to know about. That feeling of not knowing what to do with computers really sucks when you’re a “bring it on”person with other challenge. With iFixit I can’t wait until my Mac crashes.

  4. Aye, I’m dealing with this very idea this week: need and neediness, dependence and independence, asking for help and learning how to do it yourself. I think sometimes I ask a man for help because it makes me feel more feminine, not because I couldn’t accomplish the task. I, like the author, stray from tackling tasks that require too much detailed instruction. And, yet, there is a huge amount of satisfaction in overcoming a challenge I might not have thought I had the capacity for. I recently asked a man for coaching advice for negotiating the purchase of something big. He is a savvy negotiator. I’m a pushover. I got the coaching and handled the negotiating solo. That felt really good. As for my computer, well, it is intimidating to open it up. I say, good for you, Mira. It’s up to us to give each other courage and support.

  5. I’m constantly fighting my tendency to give up quickly – I generally try to DIY everything, but if it goes sour, I often ask for help vs. trying to figure it out on my own first.

    In some ways this is certainly healthy – recently I spent an hour trying to get an upright bracket installed on a not-plumb stud, and when I realized I didn’t have 6 hours to spend trying to get the others on, I called in my Dad, who’s a contractor and has installed many an industrial shelving unit. Turns out I had been over-thinking/over-engineering it, and we got everything done in 30 minutes. We did almost exactly what I was planning to do, but FAST, and without me 2nd-guessing myself at every step. The next time I need to install these kind of brackets, I’ll know exactly how, and feel confident in doing so. If I had muddled through it myself without asking for help, I would have a lot more holes in the wall, and likely would still be messing with them!

  6. Fix it , enter : Life .
    Probably a lot of research and little encouragement , at first .
    Will feel like a million stars ; ) or a star among millions of stars .

    Ctrl Shift

  7. For those who are already taking care of a lot themselves – there are also repair cafes or you could initiate one – or exchange services so everyone does what they can do best and enjoy most .

    Then the site might be good to check what really needs to be repaired if you take something to a shop ( and are being told that it cannot be repaired ; heard that one often for notebooks: ‘it’s not worth it’ . Yes , and what about creating heaps of trash – with things that still work . )
    Recently saw a report about a couple who repair computers that are out of use and give them to people who could otherwise not afford one , for a small fee . Some companies are donating their ‘outdated’ computers to them.


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