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Inside the Surface Pro 11: Priority is given to making the battery and fans easier to repair or replace.


I’ve given up almost completely on trying to repair notebook computers. Once the trend shifted toward thin-and-light systems, it became nearly impossible for regular people to open up their laptops for repairs without causing more damage. 

Additionally, it can be extremely difficult to find parts for certain systems — I’m looking at you, Apple — and even when you can find the parts, they are often priced in a way that makes buying a new system more appealing — I’m looking at you again, Apple.

Also: I tried Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop Copilot+ PC and it beat my MacBook Air in 3 ways

Under such circumstances, conjuring up the motivation to get the tools out can be very hard.

That said, it appears that Microsoft has decided to completely rewrite the rule book and unveil a fresh lineup of hardware that is — by today’s standards, at least — remarkably repairable. In this ever-evolving tech landscape, Microsoft has gone above and beyond to create a series of devices that prioritize easy maintenance and repairability.

This is the verdict of repair specialist iFixit, which took a look at the new Surface Laptop 7 and Surface Pro 11 and declared them “a stunning and swift U-turn from unrepairable to very repairable.”

It’s important to remember that the iFixit team is a tough crowd, indeed; we know this because when iFixit tore down the first Surface Laptop, the company awarded it a repairability score of zero out of 10.

Yes, a zero.

Also: Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Laptop are the ultimate ‘AI PCs’, and I’m worried for Apple

How have things changed?

To put it simply, in almost every way possible. Take the Surface Laptop 7, for example. This device exudes repair-friendly vibes, from its magnetically secured bottom plate to the QR code that directs you to service manuals on Microsoft’s website.

Additionally, Microsoft uses tiny symbols called Wayfinders to indicate the type and quantity of screws used to secure specific components. These features are everything that a modern laptop should have had years ago — if manufacturers had put in the effort back then to make them repair-friendly.

The QR code and Wayfinders markings inside a Microsoft Surface Laptop 7.

The QR code and Wayfinders markings inside a Microsoft Surface Laptop 7


Microsoft has also made an effort to ensure that commonly serviced components are easy to replace. For instance, you can easily replace the battery and cooling fans by removing the bottom of the device.

The Surface Pro 11 follows a similar repair-friendly design philosophy. It features a QR code that leads you to the manual and Wayfinders to assist with screw identification. Moreover, the laptop uses nonmagnetic screws to secure components that contain magnets, eliminating the frustration of screws being attracted to nearby magnetic components.

Best of all, there’s not a drop of annoying glue to be found inside these laptops!

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These repair-friendly design choices have earned both the Surface Laptop 7 and the Surface Pro 11 an iFixit repairability score of 8/10.

As someone who’s had the opportunity — or should I say, misfortune — to work inside several Microsoft notebooks over the years, I can attest that these small repairability touches will significantly extend the lifespan of these devices. This is beneficial for users’ bank balances and the environment.

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