How to fix the Dell XPS M1210’s keyboard flex / bulge

how to fix m1210 flexing / bulging keyboard!!!

UPDATE 3/21/08 — found the pictures thanks for! (though, only the thumbnails)

due to an issue caused by me not thinking when switching webhosts, I have lost all the pictures of this guide :( — I will continue to look for them, and re-upload if found!!

aight, so I just got my brand new dell xps m1210 and was so excited as I opened the box. I read some reviews (mainly from, GREAT site!!) and they mentioned that there was some pretty significant keyboard flex, mainly on the bottom right. Well turns out, that’s VERY true! I opened the laptop and instantly noticed a bulge in the keyboard, as if there was a bubble under the right hand side of the keyboard! this really bothered me as I spent like $1200 on this thing and I wanted it to be like it *should* be perfect (at least in my mind, haha)

So I decided to see if I could figure out why it was bulging and I found why and fixed it (or at least made it MUCH better)!! I assume it’ll be the same reason for other m1210’s?….

So here’s the general view of the chassis under the keyboard, and from here, you can’t really tell what’s causing it.

Here, you can see where the chassis is protruding a bit, which causes the keyboard to bulge, and most likely is also why there’s such flex in the keyboard

this is another view of what’s causing the chassis to rise up like it is — seems that it was a bad design / flaw as it seems that the plastic part shouldn’t be as thick as it is..or there’s something pushing up on it… perhaps this can be shaved down, cut out,etc?

yet another view from the otherside showing the chassis sticking up

so….is this a design flaw? are all the m1210’s like this and this bad? I was thinking about cutting that section of the plastic part with my dremmel but was worried that it would throw plastic shavings all over the place and that would suck….so then, before I called dell for a return (!!!) I tried to see if I could figure out what the problem was…..

turns out, the cable from the touch pad was wedged between the a plastic part of the chassis and the bottom!

this takes patience, some long flat-head screw drivers, and a flashlight helps. What you basically have to do is pry the top part of the chassis up so you can move the cable free and up to where it seems like it was supposed to go…..

you gotta start out by pulling out the cable from the motherboard — be gentle, and kinda wiggle the cable left and right while pulling out slowly and carefully until it comes out.

when done, the cable will actually run though this little…’path way’ in between these (where arrow points) plastic things and come out at the other side (green circle)

so this is where I put the screwdriver to pry that part of the chassis up (it seemed a safe place) — just be VERY careful not to let the screw driver slide into the memory!!! — you can just kinda shove the screw driver in there, with the screen all the way back, and leave it there — (and of course if it’s not lifting the chassis up enough later, you’ll just have to hold the screw driver down to hold the chassis up more, it may help to have someone else hold it)

before after
after removing the dvd drive — using a 2nd screwdriver in the bay, kinda push the cable to the left (while having the chassis lifted up by the first screwdriver with someone else helping if the wire is still wedged too tight) while pulling the end of the cable from the keyboard area and try to get it in that ‘path’ pictured above (arrow/dotted lines/green circle..) — it may take a while cause you don’t want to pull/push to hard because you don’t want the screw driver to slip and then scrape the motherboard or something else important! 

once you get the cable up and around/behind that vertical plastic piece that was squishing the cable, it’ll probably look like this in the keyboard area..

just simply push the cable under/behind the plastic thing and then out at the end, plug it back in, put the keyboard back on, and the dvd drive, and you’re done! No more horrible bulge/keyboard flex!!

21 thoughts on “How to fix the Dell XPS M1210’s keyboard flex / bulge”

  1. interesting! i’ll see if mine has this problem and will post my results if some deeper exploration is possible! thanks!

  2. Hi. Got a set here in Singapore and yup as you mentioned there’s some flex on the right side of the keyboard but its not noticeable if you just look at the keyboard from any angle. Even when typing you wouldn’t notice it.Only when you press hard on the keyboard and compare the flex between the buttons on the right and the left; then you will notice this flex thing. Great advice here to fix it though. I frankly haven’t tried. It doesn’t bug me enough to want to fix it and the risks involved are a bit too much. Perhaps if enough people complain about it to Dell they might fix future sets. But really, I don’t see it as a major impediment to normal usage of this product.

  3. hi,I just got my M1210 in Singapore yesterday and did not notice any flex or bulging on the right side of the keyboard.But the detail advice is really good.Thanks

    On a separate note I tried to order the svideo composite video adapter and s/pdif cables for connection to a TV after I read my owners manual and was told that I could not do so after delivery.

  4. hmmm that’s strange that they won’t send out the adapter…. I would imagine that one could order some kind of generic one (I assume there is one) — I’m going to contact dell today and see about that cause I want one too.

    It’s good to hear, though, that yours didn’t have the bad bulging keyboard I had! thanks for the heads up!

  5. I bought the a/v kit for the M1210,it comes with composite,svideo and s/pdif cable.But no composite adapter.also there is no option to purchase this item from the customise page.
    If you manage to track one down,please feedback here too.
    Here is one website that I found for the cable and you can buy it in different lenghts

  6. Looks interesting, I will most probably be getting from a 12ft cable and will feedback when I receive it.

  7. I found the information with the pictures very very helpful, i don’t have the product yet but im planning to but it. The thing is i bought sony vaio sz series and configured it for the price to come over 3G’s and now i have it and it is poping blue screens (0x0000007F) all over it, i tried to change the memory didn’t help. Very bad experience with the machine. So i wsa hoping if Sony took their product back then what should I get and this is the only good option i can see, other than this i saw Lenovo V100 but it doesn’t come in T2600 processor otherwise the price for T2500 is like 1600$$ which is pretty damm cheap. Anyways thanks all for this very useful information, if any of u have any suggestions please feel free.

  8. yah i actually had the sony sz too for a while (was able to get it for $1400) and I just didn’t like it, especially when compared to the m1210 — i didn’t like the fact that it didn’t come w/the OS restore cd (since sony ships with a bunch of crap like dell) and the keyboard just seemed….weird to the touch — plus the m1210 keep the same resolution w/a smaller screen and much better battery life!

  9. I linked here from and fixed my problem with an Inspiron, so thanks for a great how-to. I noticed that Singh had an issue with the Vaio and I wanted to say that I had EXACTLY the same issues. I wanted to try another brand of lappy (originally I used Dell) and went to Sony. I was really shocked at their service and quality of product and (sorry Vaio lovers) will never go back. It’s a shame because I had always thought of Sony as top notch but they don’t really live up to that. I am not a gamer much and have gone with Sager and am impressed with their “everything”. Thanks for a great posting!

  10. thanks… used this fix on my m1210 and no more bulge! now if i could just tansform the LCD to be as good as the one in my 700m :(

  11. ahhh acctually i think that i have the worst chance on laptops.

    i read all your comment thnx for everybody but i wanna ask something but plz someone which has xps m1210 answer to me
    can i use m1210 for 4 or 5 years with out any problem

  12. Just wanted to say thanks for the info that solved a different problem I had with my M1210. I thought I had stoped the screen from dimming on me after reading about the power saving features in Nvidia control panel, but that still didn’t fix it. I noticed I could get it to brighten up if I changed the screens angle. Day two of the dimming becoming unbearable I can across your site think I had a loose wire in the bezel area of the screen. I figured that removing the bezel was going to be more of a pain then the warranty was wroth. I figured what the dell and pulled off the keyboard instead… followed the wire to the lcd to it’s motherboard connector end, a small sharp click after pressing on the connector; problem fixed.

    Thanks man, I was about to send this thing it. Happy hardware un… hacking

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