Drinks

Laptops hate drinks, any kind of them. Some may tolerate a small sip of vodka or scotch on the rocks, but that’s about all. Any other kind of drink – coffee, tea, wine, pop or any soft drink will kill them almost instantly.

I’ve been dealing with laptops for quite a long time but have seen just a couple of mainstream laptops that are spill-resistant. This is one of the biggest design flaws of all laptops. How hard is it for the manufacturers to put a plastic or metal tray under the keyboard that will prevent any liquids from entering the laptop? It doesn’t even have to be completely waterproof, just spill-resistant. Well, it’s not hard at all and very inexpensive to implement, but… Nobody does it.

Another “thing” is the keyboard. Many years ago some laptop keyboards had a plastic membrane under the keys, covering the actual contacts and preventing any dust, debris or liquids from damaging the keyboard. Unfortunately all newer laptops come with pretty much the same keyboards that have absolutely no protection from liquids. Just a few drops will usually kill a keyboard and it will have to be replaced.

What to do if you spill something on your laptop? Act quickly! Unplug the power cord and any other cords, turn the laptop upside down and remove the battery. Don’t try to shut down the laptop, that takes time… The damage you may do to the operating system by removing the battery while the laptop is running is insignificant compared to the damage the liquid will do to your laptop when it penetrates to the motherboard.

After removing the battery, keep the laptop upside down for a while, allowing the liquid to drain as much as possible. Don’t even think about turning it back on to see if it still works! It has to dry completely first. That takes at least 48 hours. After the liquid has drained, remove the hard drive, usually held in place by one or two screws, the CD/DVD if possible, and all small covers on the back that are held by screws (there is at least one, covering your RAM expansion slot, and possibly another covering the Wi-Fi card).

The next step is removing the keyboard. That is usually not very hard but unless you can get a service manual describing exactly how to do it on your laptop (the procedure varies for different models and brands), I would suggest letting a technician do it. It is important to remove the keyboard because it is most likely damaged and will need to be replaced and because that will expose the area where most of the spillage occurred, allowing it to dry.

The important thing to remember is not to turn the laptop back on before it is completely dry. However trying to speed up the process with a hairdryer is a very bad idea, as the temperature of the air is too high and may damage the laptop. I’ve seen a few melted laptop cases from a hairdryer.

If that was your business computer and you need to continue working, the best thing to do is to transfer the hard disk to an external USB enclosure, providing that it wasn’t damaged from the liquid (in 99% of the cases the hard disk is not damaged). That way you will have access to all your files (but not to your programs) and will be able to continue working on another computer.

74 thoughts on “Drinks”

  1. I’m depressed. I sneezed and spilt my tea all over my laptop screen and key board (and myself) I did not think to turn it off until 15 mins later. The liquid was spreading upwards in a wave from the bottom left corner. It got bigger. Later on my keyboard started mixing up the letters. THEN… I turned it off. I took out the battery and turned it upside down. I don’t know what to do next? HELP!!!

  2. My cousin spilled his juice in my laptop and now stop working. I tried to bring it to a computer technician but they said some parts have been damage so I decided to leave it and buy a new one. I know it sad but I can’t take time back.

  3. So, months ago I spilt juice onto my HP laptop. After unplugging everything and wiping it all off I realized it was only one side that got coated in juice, the side with my DVD drive. So everything works except my DVD drive won’t open. I push the button, it makes a little noise, and that’s it. I don’t usually play games or anything so that didn’t really bother me. But now I need to put something in my DVD drive and it won’t open! SUGGESTIONS PLEASE 🙁

  4. shampoo in my bag leaked into speaker on laptop. it turned on fine but crackled even on mute, now the sound doesnt work at all. Any ideas?

  5. #36 by Tacoya October 16, 2012 at: 1:02 am
    My daughter spilled juice on my Hp presario laptop i quickly moved to get the juice off but didn’t knw i needed to unplug the cord and remove the battery i cleaned up what i could see with a dry cloth and then it shut off it has been off since Saturday i tried turning it on today and it came on the shut right off why is that? Do i need to let it sit for a few more days or do i need to purchase a new laptop? Your reply would be greatly appreciated… Sincerely Highly Upset
    ———————————————————

    Depending on how much liquid was spilled on and entered the laptop could mean different possibilities, a laptop will turn on and boot to the windows login screen/desktop without a keyboard. This means the issue lies elsewhere, it could be the hard drive is damaged, the ram is damaged, the motherboard is damaged or maybe something as simple as a connection has come loose, I would suggest taking it to a technician if you are set on getting it repaired. If the motherboard is damaged you will be better off with a new laptop. If it is unrepairable and have things on the hard drive you still want you could always remove it from the laptop and plug it in to an external usb environment allowing you to get the files you desire.
    ——————————————————————————————————————

    #30 by david February 19, 2012 at: 3:50 am
    People are really soo dumb that they don’t think to UNPLUG an ELECTRONIC device after liquid gets spilled in it?

    Wow.

    THINK People. For F’s sake, Think, just a little.

    I spilled a full cup of hot tea with sugar into one of my IBM Thinkpads,
    It beeped, then turned off.
    I unplugged it right away,
    tipped it over and shook the hell out of it to get liquid out,
    Then I placed it upside down on a towel in a big opened window on a warm breezy day.
    Left it there for 2 days.
    Laptop Still works.
    This happened a few years ago, and that old thing is still kicking strong.

    Thinkpads are the best, ever, btw.

    ———————————————————

    Little tip folks, never shake your laptop, it could cause something to disconnect causing problems or even damage the delicate hardware in some cases though you would be unlucky it isn’t really worth taking the risk, just turn it upside down and hope for the best, 9 times out of 10 you will end up with a defective keyboard reguardless. But like you have stated its and older generation of laptop, previous gen laptops were a lot more robust and hardy, I have a few lying around that still work perfectly after an absolute battering too 😉
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    To everyone else that has damaged they’re keyboard with liquid, if it isn’t greatly needed for the laptop keyboard to be replaced because you don’t use it on the move, you can always get an external usb keyboard to use with the laptop until you really want to replace the laptop keyboard itself.

    Good luck everyone 🙂

    Eifion

  6. My daughter spilled juice on my Hp presario laptop i quickly moved to get the juice off but didn’t knw i needed to unplug the cord and remove the battery i cleaned up what i could see with a dry cloth and then it shut off it has been off since Saturday i tried turning it on today and it came on the shut right off why is that? Do i need to let it sit for a few more days or do i need to purchase a new laptop? Your reply would be greatly appreciated… Sincerely Highly Upset

  7. Spilt lemonade on my HP DV7 back in feburary… Unplugged it soaked all the drink up rah rah rah worked fine for a few hours then kapoot the screen has just gone white and fizzy like a tv with no reception… Everything else works fine got everything off my hard drive only problem is lights are on no ones home… If I get the screen and keyboard replaced should it still work??

  8. My laptop has drained in water n I switched on it n I was on latter I switched off it n I removed the battery wat happens to it n whn should I on it by keeping the battery

  9. If my motherboard gets liquid spilt on it does it mean that all the data on my laptop would also be lost?? I gave my laptop to this guy to fix and he said that he replaced the motherboard but there was no data on it….this is a lie because i had tons of pics on and now he’s charging me to get my laptop back!
    Most upset over losing my pics, HELP!!!

  10. spilled beer on mine last night i got a towel and socked what i could then turned it upside down for few hours tried turning it back on but screen wasn’t showing then it just went off completely wish i had read this before else i would of just left it hoping it starts up if i leave it i was pretty slow at responding only just got this laptop as well after my old one broke gutted now i’l take it to a shop if it don’t work in the next few days see what the damage is had loads of work on there to none of it backed up.

  11. People are really soo dumb that they don’t think to UNPLUG an ELECTRONIC device after liquid gets spilled in it?

    Wow.

    THINK People. For F’s sake, Think, just a little.

    I spilled a full cup of hot tea with sugar into one of my IBM Thinkpads,
    It beeped, then turned off.
    I unplugged it right away,
    tipped it over and shook the hell out of it to get liquid out,
    Then I placed it upside down on a towel in a big opened window on a warm breezy day.
    Left it there for 2 days.
    Laptop Still works.
    This happened a few years ago, and that old thing is still kicking strong.

    Thinkpads are the best, ever, btw. 😉

  12. i spilt a little grapefruit juiCe on mn Hp EliteBook’s keyboard and now the kens aren’t working properly. When i press the t or b button i get tb, and i get yn for the n or y button. The x button turns the CapsloCk on, aynd tbhe C buttbon either highlights, erases, or works as the enter button. The enter key makes this html scRipt thing appear, and other keys are working funny too. i held myn laptop upside down, but i didnt switCh it off, and now i don’t know how to fix it! Please help!

  13. spilt quite a bit of vodka&coke over my compaq last night, quickly turned it off and turned upside down to get rid of excess liquids an left the keyboard on a towel as i went out. However when i came home afew hours later i tried to see if it was ok. at first encountered afew startup problems and slowness. now all programs seem fine but half the keyboard either doesnt work or does the wrong command. and wifi is unresponsive too. anything i can do or should i just take it to the shop. email me at jokin… please.

  14. ive just spilt coke everrrrywhere and some may have gone on my keyboard…all seems to be working fine but theres a really irratating ‘d-ding’ noise on the speakers, anyone know what this is and how i can get rid of this? its my dads laptop and i dont wana have to tell him ive broke that aswell as stained the white carpet and beige sofa, ruined the phone and wifi systems oh and flooded the mains!! HELP ME!!

  15. First of, Very well written article!. but unfortunately i am not one of those people to do the dumbest things I am not saying i haven’t spilled anything on my computers/laptops the worst one i spilled was milk including the content of my cereal bawl on my macbook pro lol.

    All it takes for is a few screw drivers and you’d done don’t worry if u cant remember where the screws go just DO NOT PUT them in 1 pile keep them separated and if you want to make sure u put everything back as you got them out a digital camera will help, every part you take out take a photo of it and put the screws close to it. and every part that you do take out even if it is wet does not mean it has been fried just get baby wipes, YEA Baby wipes it don’t matter weather the liquid just dried depending on the type of liquid it can contain sugar and Sugar is a beech when it comes to conducting electricity and short circuits, baby wipes will save the day just remember to give it good time for it to dry ( that does not mean you used your hair dryer and it dried faster) give it a few hours at a well ventilated conditions

  16. I spilled coffee over my laptop and i held it upside down but i didn’t unplug the laptop i also kept turning the laptop back on to see if it will work cause the screen turned black and i could hear the fan going and it was on but then it just died. I only read this after it all happened so did I burn it out by not switching it off, it happened about an hour ago.

  17. I spilled coffe over (well it actually went under it however luckily i am a Digital Multimedia Computing student and straight away i removed the battery and RAM, dried both of them then redried with an anti-static cloth and today 12 hours later it is showing small signs of life. I just had it on there and it seems fine but i am going to open EVERYTHING and give it a good going over. Pleased so far but still have 36 hours to wait. Fingers crossed because it has some of my college work on it (thank goodness for U.S.B sticks lol ;-))

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