Laptop repair is not always easy, but sometimes it can be. If the laptop is not under warranty and you dont feel comfortable replacing some of these parts yourself, youll have to find a professional to do it. If you only want to upgrade then you cant send it back to the manufacturer and you'll have to find a tech to do it. You can bring it to a well known retailer like Best Buy and have their Geek Squad work on it since they're pretty well trained and always do a good job on repairs, or you can find a professional someplace else to do it for you.
Easy to replace parts:
Wireless adapter- if your wireless stops working for some reason, you can just go out and get a USB wireless adapter or a PCMCIA wireless adapter to put in the card slot.
RAM / Memory-Memory is pretty easy to install and fairly inexpensive. In many cases, you can drastically improve the performance of your laptop just by adding some more memory. Most places that sell laptops can install it for you, or if you feel comfortable installing it yourself you can put it in. There's an enclosure on the bottom that you unscrew in order to install the memory.
Hard Drive: A hard drive can be a little more tricky to upgrade. If your hard drive gets corrupted, youll probably lose most of your data without a professional can recover it. Then you've just got to toss it out and buy a new one and have it installed. The # 1 reason for hard drive corruption is abuse, so be careful with your laptop if you want to keep your hard drive safe. If you just want to uprgrade to have more space, first youd need to back up your data and then take the old drive out and put the new one in. A hard drive upgrade is similar to a RAM upgrade. There is an enclosure usually on the bottom that contains the hard drive. In Gateway laptops it's typically in the front for easy access.
Not so easy to replace parts:
For these repairs you'll definitely have to take it to a professional, or sometimes it'll actually be more worth it and less hassle just to junk it and buy a new one
CPU: If you want to upgrade the CPU in your laptop, you're going to have a hard time because the motherboard typically has to be changed as well. You'd be better off just buying a new laptop. On the other hand, if your processor goes bad for some strange reason and you want to install the same one or even a higher speed version of the same processor, it is doable. Youll probably have to ship it out or find a professional to do this.
Motherboard: Upgrading or replacing the motherboard can be a hassle as well, and costly. Again, you'd probably be better off buying a new laptop without you have a good warranty and you're willing to go through the hassle of shipping it out.
Keyboard Keys: When a key pops off the keyboard, it usually cant be put back on, so if your laptop is under warranty youll need to send it out for repair. Otherwise you can take it to a tech and have them order the keys you need.
Graphics card: Since laptops dont have as much room as a desktop computer, the graphics card is usually integrated onto the motherboard. If you really think it's worth it to spend the money and replace the guts of your laptop, go right ahead. Otherwise I'd say buy a new laptop with a very good graphics card so you'll never feel the need to upgrade.
Various other upgrades and add-ons can be made through USB or the PCMCIA card slot. For example, if you get more involved with things like sound and video, there are certain expansion cards you can buy depending on what you're trying to accomplish. They're usually plug and play and very easy to install.