How to remove a computer expansion card

Updated: 08/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Video expansion card

Many types of expansion cards can be installed in a computer, including sound, video, modem, network, interface card, and more. For most devices, the expansion card fits into a slot in the computer called a PCI slot. However, in the case of video cards and a few others, they may fit into other types of slots, like an AGP slot or a PCI Express slot. When following the steps below, make sure you are following the steps for the type of expansion slot the expansion card resides in the computer.

Warning

While working in your computer and with an expansion card make sure you're aware of ESD and its potential dangers. We recommend using a grounding strap while working on the inside of the computer.

Note

On nearly all laptops today, the video card, sound card, and network card are integrated into the motherboard and cannot be removed. If any of these stop working, you need to have the problem fixed by a certified repair shop. In the case of a network card, another option is to purchase and use a network card that utilizes the PC Card slot.

To remove an expansion card, turn off your computer and unplug the power cord and all cables from the back of the computer. Then, remove the side panel from the computer case to see the motherboard. The expansion card slots are often on the bottom half of the motherboard.

PCI card

Warning!

Handle with care when handling an expansion card, taking extra care not to touch the gold plated connectors. Any grease or dirt on these connectors can cause corrosion. It is best to handle expansion cards by the metal back plate.

  1. If any wires are connected to the back of the expansion card, disconnect them from the card.
  2. Inside the computer, if any wires are connected to the expansion card, disconnect them now.
  3. Remove the screw holding the PCI card in place.
  4. Push up on the back metal to loosen the back of the card.
  5. Grab the top edge of the expansion card and pull up. If you plan on keeping the expansion card out of the computer, place the card in an antistatic bag to keep it protected. If you are only reseating the card, it can be installed back into the computer after it is removed.

PCI Express card

Warning!

Handle with care when handling an expansion card, taking extra care not to touch the gold plated connectors. Any grease or dirt on these connectors can cause corrosion. It is best to handle expansion cards by the metal back plate.

  1. If any wires are connected to the back of the expansion card, disconnect them from the card.
  2. Inside the computer, if any wires are connected to the expansion card, disconnect them now.
  3. Remove the screw holding the PCI Express card in place.
  4. Push up on the back metal to loosen the back of the card.
  5. On the front of the PCI Express slot, there's usually a tab holds the front of the card in place. Gently press this tab and hold it in place while you are removing the card.
  6. Grab the top edge of the expansion card and pull up. If you plan on keeping the expansion card out of the computer, place the card in an antistatic bag to keep it protected. If you are only reseating the card, it can be installed back into the computer after it is removed.

AGP card

Warning!

Handle with care when handling an expansion card, taking extra care not to touch the gold plated connectors. Any grease or dirt on these connectors can cause corrosion. It is best to handle expansion cards by the metal back plate.

  1. If any wires are connected to the back of the expansion card, disconnect them from the card.
  2. Inside the computer, if any wires are connected to the expansion card, disconnect them now.
  3. Remove the screw holding the AGP card in place.
  4. Push up on the back metal to loosen the back of the card.
  5. On the front of the AGP slot, there is usually a lock tab or lever that secures the card in place. Press this tab and hold it in place while you are removing the card.
  6. Grab the top edge of the expansion card and pull up. If you plan on keeping the expansion card out of the computer, place the card in an antistatic bag to keep it protected. If you are only reseating the card, it can be installed back into the computer after it is removed.

ISA card

Warning!

Handle with care when handling an expansion card, taking extra care not to touch the gold plated connectors. Any grease or dirt on these connectors can cause corrosion. It is best to handle expansion cards by the metal back plate.

  1. If any wires are connected to the back of the expansion card, disconnect them from the card.
  2. Inside the computer, if any wires are connected to the expansion card, disconnect them now.
  3. Remove the screw holding the ISA card in place.
  4. Push up on the back metal to loosen the back of the card.
  5. Grab the top edge of the expansion card and pull up. If you plan on keeping the expansion card out of the computer, place the card in an antistatic bag to keep it protected. If you are only reseating the card, it can be installed back into the computer after it is removed.