Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Can Static Electricity Damage My Computer?

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...

I’ve Always Wanted To Know:
Can Static Discharge Damage My Computer?

Static electricity builds up quickly when you rub up against something or walk on carpeting, but regular daily activities over time can also build up a static charge. After the charge has built up and you touch something conductive the energy discharges and you feel a little shock. Lightning is another form of static energy, which builds up in clouds until it finally discharges into the ground…and sometimes into an unlucky person.

So if lightning is static electricity and so is rubbing your feet up on the carpet quickly, then why does one kill people and the other just annoy them?

The simple answer is it’s a matter of energy released. The human body can feel shocks of a few thousand volts – there are examples of 15k volt shocks being recorded, but they are extremely low amperage (think 1 microampere.) So what kind of wattage is that? Get ready to be amazed: A 10,000 volt shock at 1 microampere is 0.01 watts.

Not so impressive huh?

So why do you see the recommendation that people make sure to avoid static discharge when working with electronics? Because electronics are much more sensitive to shocks than we are, so the risk of damage is much higher. What can you do to prevent static damage to electronics when your working on them?

Memory, Hard Drives, Internal Components and Power Supplies:

  • Ground yourself by touching something metallic before touching the piece of electronics. A good example would be a metal cabinet or a door knob.
  • Use an ESD strap. An ESD (electromagnetic discharge) strap will safely channel the energy to the ground preventing static discharge.
  • Use anti-static bags for electronics when needed. Most hard drives or memory will ship in one of these bags or be insulated in a plastic container to avoid accidental damage before you take it out of the package.


  • Ground yourself by touching something metallic before touching the electronic. Once again, a good example would be a metal cabinet or a door lock.

Having said all of this, I’ve been building and repairing computers for over 20 years and have not had a device damaged by static electricity, that I know about, although I still use the basic tips above to mitigate the risk as much as possible.


One Response to “Can Static Electricity Damage My Computer?”

  1. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Thank you Tim for a very interesting information. I have been thinking that humans can withstand only a few volts. I was surprised that we can stand even ten thousand volt, provided the current is microscopic. Does it mean that humans can not stand even few volts if the current is high? Is there any such chance? Say, if one short circuits accidentally many 1.5v batteries (we use at home)connected together?

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive