Laptop as a desktop

I would like to know the best way to utilize a laptop as a desktop, hopefully without having to involve accessing more than the power button, not opening lid....
In my own past experience this has been problematic and I don't know if the landscape is any better, so wanted to ask of the forum.

I am putting together two computers for use at our new office. My initial concern is theft. We have cameras and a burg system installed but an empty (thus far) building is far less attractive than one with equipment inside. Along that concern I rebuilt one of the previous company PC by upgrading, and one of the other folks in the company had a broken laptop they were willing to donate.
It turns out to be a Inspiron 13 7000 with the Ryzen 5. It's a darned decent machine aside from having a VERY broken touchscreen. I have already reformatted after backing up the previous owners info, loaded Windows, disabled the touch aspect of the screen and it's a completely usable machine, aside from the screen.

In 2020, is there a way to make this laptop think that an externally connected monitor (either HDMI or hub, I am not sure yet) is native and have it perform all functions including update, BIOS, etc. via that screen just as if it were a "desktop PC" ?

What I envision is a wireless mouse and keyboard, some hidden wire runs to a ~32" TV, having this sticky taped to the bottom of a desk where the power button is accessible. No opening of the lid whatsoever. Can it be done? Would I need to disconnect the monitor in the lid?
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Not sure that I fully understand your installation concept.

That said, I would not sticky tape the laptop to the underside (bottom?) of a desk.

Or sticky tape the laptop anywhere for that matter.

Heat buildup will be a direct problem for the laptop. And that same heat will dry out the sticky tape and the laptop will fall.

Are you able to get a docking station for the laptop? A docking station is designed for the purposed of using a laptop as a "desktop" by connecting keyboard, mouse, and monitor to the docking station hosting the laptop.

And docking stations have locking methods to secure the laptop.

Plus you can probably set up the laptop for dual monitor use: Duplicate screen mode (laptop and monitor identical).

Just some thoughts....
 
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I guess to get a bit more in depth about it....

A child got ahold of this 'covertible' 2 in 1 and absolutely destroyed the lid and screen. The screen is operable but if you leave the touchscreen aspect on it acts much like it has a virus with hundreds of points of activation going on simultaneously. The lid itself is also severely damaged in such a way that the common ~$75 replacement screen would be allowing you to see behind it. Likewise the keyboard tray, where operable, is dented downward severely.

Surprisingly, in spite of this damage, the machine works quite decently for the task it could be used for. The issue being that it is basically un-usable as the device it is meant to be unless I (as above) use a remote keyboard/mouse/monitor.
I DO have enough experience to know that if I were going to sticky tape a machine and try not to get too hung up on the sticky tape aspect, can be anything to keep it out of sight to the bottom of a desk (for security reasons) that also happened to have a ruined lid and screen in a functional sense, to do so by securing the hinge and taping the lid back. Vents stay open that way ;)

I went in and did a registry entry to disable the hardware id of the touch screen device. Otherwise it is basically unusable. I set power settings and close lid settings in an appropriate way and will see if it hassles about it on start up. As above, I suspect I may have to play with actually unhooking the monitor internally? Anyway....free computer fully up to the task, more expensive to make right than to try this redneck mess. Hope y'all can help.
 
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Interestingly enough I found that going inside and disconnecting the onboard display worked and didn't work, so to speak.
Doing so resulted in a BIOS warning on every power cycle that required hitting a 'continue' key. Otherwise completely boots correctly without having to hinge the lid or change the project/duplicate settings.
I messed around a bit within the advanced power settings and have it properly restarting from the external monitor without having to open the lid (with the internal connected), but cannot do a full power cycle without having to open the lid. Seemingly there is no way around it within my knowledge base. (that is to say I don't know what mechanism triggers the "lid switch")
 
I am actually astounded this machine works.

I don't know the exacts...this was the friends son school computer. It was sitting on a table that had something the young child wanted on it (around 3 yo) so she pulled the laptop down and attempted to use it as a step. The first step on the lid crushed the touchscreen 'coating' right at the top middle and sent cracks all the way through the outer glass. Repeated stepping on it was hard enough to actually bend the entire chassis across the middle from corner to corner. The whole unit is slightly bent like a "V".

After this the young child attempted to pry the lid and screen apart. The entire left top corner, down the left side, and across 3/4 of the top has all the catches broken out of the casing so that there is nothing to hold onto. The bent edge of the aluminum there is slightly deformed from the weight and pulling.
It appears that after that the child took something small and pointy and used that to beat repeatedly along the lid and body of the laptop. Small dents all over it as well. The damage from these aspects alone would make it necessary to replace the entire chassis in order to repair. The lid itself no longer has all the retainers for the display.

The aspect I found most astounding was that upon the initial look at the machine I figured it dead as disco. It turns out that the motherboard for this machine is mostly located along one side. It uses cabling to go to daughter boards for the i/o on the other side and thus the bending of the entire chassis didn't break the motherboard like it would have in full length.
I took some time last night to get it apart, check all the components, clean the fan. I used a bit of clear tape on the really bad part of the screen glass, and some silicone adhesive along with some clothes pins to essentially glue the screen surround back in place to the lid that I pried back into place.
The actual display inside the machine is fine. I would NEVER have guessed it would be. The camera works, and all of the aspects of the machine seem to work. I haven't done a complete keyboard check yet....I will continue to be very surprised if it is all operational.

Personally feel like Dell would be proud to know their build took so much abuse and continued to work. I would call it more luck than anything. I have seen machines with far lesser notable damage not...

Anywho, still interested to know if there is a 'better way' not to have to open/close the lid on this machine in order to use with an external monitor. Anyone have any helpful suggestion?
 

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