Picture this: you’re busy doing the finishing touches on your thesis due the next day. You’re typing away while drinking from your mug. The mug tips over and spills coffee all over your laptop.
On the spectrum of liquids troublesome to gadgets, coffee is somewhere on the safe side. Meanwhile, water is the least damaging from all the possible liquids people could spill on their laptops. Here’s the rule of thumb: the stickier the liquid, the stickier the situation. So, if you spilled soda on your PC, you’re in trouble. Things get even more complicated if you’re dealing with spilled chocolate milk.
If your laptop still works after the accident, then lucky you. Otherwise, you will have to breathe in and breathe out and convince yourself that it is not the end of the world. Instead of panicking, follow these simples steps to troubleshoot your laptop.
Troubleshooting steps to follow
- Unplug your laptop. This should be done as soon as the spillage happens to prevent your laptop from shortcircuiting. You should also turn the laptop off immediately.
- Remove detachable laptop components. These may include the mouse, tethered phone, headset, cables, CDs or DVDs, and flash drives. Leave your laptop as bare as possible.
- Hold your laptop upside down to drain the liquid. While doing this, get an absorbent and lint-free towel to wipe the accessible parts of your laptop. Do not stop until all surfaces are dry.
- Let your laptop dry out in a room with little moisture.
If you’re using one of those old laptop models with detachable batteries, remove the batteries and other parts that you could disentangle without using any special tools. Do not use a hairdryer to dry your laptop. It will push moisture farther in. A hairdryer might also ruin laptop parts due to its static charge.
The rice debate
The jury’s still out whether rice is effective in sucking moisture out of a wet laptop. Some stand behind its efficacy, advocating at least 48 hours of complete and continued immersion for best results. Others are less enthusiastic, calling it a myth.
Now, here’s our two cents: what’s the worst that could happen if you tried this tactic? There might not be a study about it published in a peer-reviewed journal but in desperate circumstances, it would not hurt to give it a try. The only problem we see here is that you will probably have to dispose of a large chunk of rice later. That would be awful given how worldwide hunger is on the rise.
Take your laptop to a repair provider
If going DIY proved unsuccessful, your next recourse is to work with an expert. Drive straight to a pc repair provider. Ideally, you should go to a repair technician you trust, someone you’ve hired to work on your gadgets before and successfully delivered.
In case you are not on intimate terms with any gadget technician, ask your friends. They might know someone whose credibility they could vouch for. Keep in mind that you probably have sensitive files you do not want tinkered with by some stranger.
You can also go online to research nearby repair shops in your area. Read their customer testimonials if there are any. Lastly, do not forget about your laptop’s warranty papers if it’s still covered. That’ll save you lots of money.
If none of the recommendations cited above worked, you have no choice but to retire your old laptop. The best that you could hope for is for your important files to still be retrievable. Ideally, you saved those files in the cloud in anticipation of accidents such as this. But if you failed to do that, you may refer to this tutorial on how to recover files from a broken PC.
The next order of business is to purchase a new laptop. The price range for this gadget is between $300 and $3,000. If you do not want to spend an arm and a leg, consider these budget laptops selling below $350.
And by now you should have learned your lesson. As much as possible, keep those liquids away from your laptop. Or if it can’t be helped, at least make sure you’re extra careful.