Suggestions for Dell Precision M6400 w/ broken latch


Dec 28, 2009
My old Dell Precision M6400 (specs below) has finally broken down in a way I just don't feel like fixing. The latch that opens the laptop has broken, and I now have to pry it open with a piece of metal to get it open. Obviously, something's got to give. Replacing the latch looks like a full teardown, which I can do, but I'm not sure this old beast is worth the effort.

I can think of two alternatives: Cut the catches on the lid so that the latch never engages, or just get a dock and use it as a desktop. The problem with cutting the catches is that it decreases this thing's resale value, which is admittedly fairly low, as the laptop lid can then freely open and close. But I'd have to replace the lid if I ever decide to fix it up.

The dock option is somewhat attractive, as the laptop is more powerful than most of the old Socket 775/Athlon II systems I have available to me. Most of the Dell docks do come with an external power switch, don't they? I wonder how Windows Server 2012 would run on this thing...?

Anyway, thoughts and suggestions are appreciated.

Core 2 Quad Q9100 2.26GHz
8GB DDR3-1066 (upgradeable to 16GB)
256GB Crucial MX100 SSD (this is probably coming out shortly)
ATI FirePro M7740 1GB



Sep 17, 2012
If it is just the latches at the top it shouldn't be hard to replace. It isn't a total tear down. Most of the dells you can remove the bevel around the screen and you are exposed to everything.

As far as a laptop goes and having a Q9100 in it yea it is a pretty nice laptop to have for something so old.

As far as running Server 2012, if you had a SSD in it it would probably run pretty good. I know some older machines with Dual core Xeons with a SSD running Server 2008 are night and day after replacing the HDD with a SSD.


Dec 28, 2009

It's not the catches at the top that are the problem, it's the latch and button at the bottom. When you close the lid, the latch "catches" and the lid is solidly shut. However, when you press the release button in the base of the laptop, it doesn't release the lid. Lately I've been having to use a piece of metal to pry the lid loose. Not good.

I've started learning Windows 2012 in a VM, maybe this would be a good opportunity to put it on real hardware. It's not like it would get hammered with a real workload while I'm learning.

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