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Trick to getting screws out of 2.5 inch HDDs?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by, Jul 29, 2006.

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  1. Guest

    Anyone know a trick to getting those star screws out of laptop hard drives
    please? I specifically bought the correct star screwdriver and one of them
    (usually at the top by the pins) always seems to burr over. However careful
    I am. I once even had one burr over when I had taken it out before and put
    it back in loose 'cos I knew I would have to take it out again sometime to
    try replacing the PCB

    Is there a trick or a way of getting a burred over star screw out? Dunno the
    size but it is the one for the PCB
  2. Arno Wagner

    Arno Wagner Guest

    I don't know what you are doing wrong, but Torx (that's the correct
    name) is the most tough head type out there. Are you sure you have
    the righ type and size?

  3. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    Am I correct in guessing that by star screw you really mean
    a Phillips head?

    If so, then I'd recommend investing in a set of jeweller's screwdrivers,
    choose the absolute correct one. It's really easy to come close
    to the right one without it being a perfect fit.

    You might find one that will work nicely even though you describe it
    as burred over, but if not perhaps you may be able to carefully
    saw a slot into the head, effectively turning it into a plain old
    flat head screw.

    Take care.

  4. Salmon Egg

    Salmon Egg Guest

    At a swap meet, I bought a set of a hundred driver bits for about $10. While
    some styles look like others, there can be significant differences between
    them. For example, the aare about three or four kinds that look like Phillip
    head drivers but are not.

    -- Ferme le Bush
  5. Lee Babcock

    Lee Babcock Guest

    Those odd-ball phillips are probably a variant called bugle head, used
    to drive bugle head screws.
  6. You can sometimes grab the head between center and edge with a pair of
    sharp tipped diagonal cutters to loosen it. Then, any sort of small
    screw driver will remove it entirely.

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  7. Guest

    Sorry for misdescription but Arno recognised and described it correctly as a

    There doesnt seem to be any room outside the edge of the screw which seems
    to be sitting relatively flush with the PCB. It's not actually flush but it
    is not proud enogh to get any sort of leverage can on it
  8. Guest

    It goes in, sits tight and 'cracks' all other screws on the drive relatively
    easily: There is always just ONE which it burrs over however careful I am
  9. Nelson

    Nelson Guest

    Why not use a small drill and screw extractor? I did a quick google
    search and found these:
    Surely there are others.
  10. Cellphone screwdrivers, works best for me and comes with torx and star (for
    samsung and such)

    Bart Bervoets
  11. Ken Weitzel

    Ken Weitzel Guest


    Makes me wonder if it isn't possibly done intentionally by the

    Just one of the screws made of softer material; perhaps even with a
    drop of loctite (or similar) on it.

    The "burring" would be pretty compelling evidence of tampering in the
    case of a warranty claim.

    Take care.

  12. Arno Wagner

    Arno Wagner Guest

    Hmmm. Strange. Can you post a photo? Of screw heads and screwdriver?

  13. Arno Wagner

    Arno Wagner Guest

    There are better ways to do that: There are special paints for
    securing screws. A bit like sealing wax. Would be cheaper, since no
    special screw was required.

  14. Ray L. Volts

    Ray L. Volts Guest

    For future reference:

    It's entirely possible the manufacturer purchased a custom run of unique
    screws, requiring an exact match driver to avoid stripping the head. Or,
    they may have used a particularly strong screwlock compound under the head
    which they know will cause head damage, which isn't a prob as the warranty
    techs have loads of new screws -- this stuff would be tougher than Glyptal,
    which is the trade name of the translucent blue or green (sometimes red)
    resin seen on most consumer screw heads.
    Either of these scenarios would be strongly indicated if it's the exact same
    screw that gets stripped on each unit of a particular model or series of
    drive. If the screw which gets stripped/burred varies in location, then
    it's more likely that your driver isn't of sufficient quality (i.e., not
    tight enough tolerance in machining).
  15. Arno Wagner

    Arno Wagner Guest

    Nice reference!
    That sounds plausible to me. More likely the screw is really fixed in
    place, I think. Also I just thought of another possibility: Is it
    possible that this one screw is threaded with a left-hand thread, i.e.
    needs to be turned into the other direction to come out? I have seen
    this some years ago in some HDD model (can't remember which one) for
    one screw.

  16. Salmon Egg

    Salmon Egg Guest

    The Phillips head was patented. Many of the variants are to get around the
    patent. Now, of course, all of those old patents have expired.

    -- Ferme le Bush
  17. Lee Babcock

    Lee Babcock Guest

    Bugle head screws were invented to allow the flat head to be level with
    the wood surface when driven in. The bit was invented because it gave a
    better 'bite' on the screw than a normal phillips.

  18. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Sounds like you're not using the exactly correct sized driver - other
    than clumsiness/inexperience, that's the usual reason people chew up
    small screw heads.
    If you're 100% sure you're using the correct driver, you can free up
    the screw by placing the unit on a solid surface, inserting the driver
    into the head, & giving it a bit of a tap with a soft-headed hammer.
    It'll also likely work well to fix up the chewed up heads.

    I recommend you practice this on one of the drives you've already
    written off. ;)

    BTW: I've pulled apart drives (usually for their voice coil
    actuators), ranging in size from 5.25" down to 1", & the screws are
    always very stiff - presumably to protect against the motor vibration
    - so I nearly always have to use the above procedure.
  19. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    No way. Hard disks nearly always use Torx screws, & many people refer
    to them as 'star' screws, because that's what they look like. I've
    never yet seen a hard disk with Philips Head screws on the covers.
  20. You need a more expensive Torx driver set. The cheap ones don't fit
    well. You end up stripping screws with a driver that's one size off
    because the correct one doesn't fit.

    I hope you know that the hard drive will never work again. Dust will
    cause head crashes, or even launch the heads off the arms. A 10K RPM
    drive with glass platters might be rather dangerous to mess with too.
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