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I lost one or more of the screws needed to secure the cover to the case
Explanation: You are trying to secure the cover to the system case but have misplaced one or more of the screws.
Diagnosis: The best way to prevent this problem in the future is to set aside an area for putting screws when disassembling part of your machine.
Recommendation: If you have a newer case that uses only a single screw for easier accessibility, then losing that screw will make it impossible to attach the case again. Otherwise, with a conventional case, just re-assemble the case using what screws you have. Most tower cases that use four or six screws to hold the cover on will go together just fine with only two--use the screw holes at the bottom of the case. For a desktop case, you can do fine with two screws at the top left and top right of the back of the case, and I have many cases just being held together with one screw in the middle on top in the back. This also makes it easier to get into them later on. Incidentally, most of the cases out there use the same type of standard screw and you can easily get one or two extras off an old machine somewhere if you look around.