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Surviving a Leakage

Friday, June 8th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
The other day, my grandson accidentally spilled some water on my laptop. I know he didn’t mean to and I cleaned it up the best I could, but I’m extremely worried about what will happen to my computer. Is there any way of saving it or what do I need to do next? Please help me!

A:
I know you already feel this way, but ouch, that hurts! (I’m sorry, I had to say it!) I’m sure this sort of thing has happened to all of us at one time or another. I mean, we all know that liquids and electronics do not mix well, but sometimes you can’t keep spills from happening. And unfortunately, we can’t blame Microsoft for this one either! But don’t fret, because there is still some hope for all of us. It just depends on how much water was involved and what you did right after it happened. Let’s check it all out!

Now, this type of thing can happen to any kind of gadget, including cameras, cell phones, keyboards and of course, computers. So, this tip can work for whatever device you’re having trouble with, but I’m going to focus on the laptop for the person who asked this question. Alright, now, I’m going to be honest and tell you that your gadget may not make a full recovery, but with a little tender care, you might be able to save more than you think. Just follow these steps to see what you can do.

First, if your laptop is still turned on, turn it off immediately. You’ll also want to remove any batteries, CDs, memory cards, etc. Basically, remove anything you may use to save your data and especially for laptops, remove any modular components and removable drives. Once you’ve got everything out, wipe off any excess water you may see on those items. Then if you’re comfortable with it, it’s best to disassemble the device as much as possible to get as much liquid out as you can. This is even more crucial if you can hear water moving around inside your computer. If you’re not comfortable with this, you may want to find someone who can help you right away!

You need to get your laptop as dry as possible, both inside and out. If you’re still worried about how dry you’ve really gotten it, you can try a couple things, but they’re all a matter of luck, so just try them at your own discretion. For one, you can try putting your laptop in a heated area. For example, maybe place it on the dashboard of your car for an afternoon. As long as it doesn’t get hotter than 150 degrees, the heat will evaporate the water. Just make sure the battery is removed from your device before you try this. You can also try just tipping your laptop upside down for as long as needed to give the water a chance to drain out.

I found a Web site that gave some other options, but they just didn’t sound very safe to me, so I would try the two above first, for sure! Now, if you’re not comfortable with any of this, you’ll want to get your laptop to a professional as soon as possible. Don’t wait a day or two to “get around to it,” do it immediately! You don’t have time to waste in these situations. That is, unless you don’t mind paying for a brand new computer or damage control.

So, the next question is, “How can you prevent this kind of thing from happening again”? The best answer is to tell you to not keep any kind of liquid near your computer. Don’t keep drinks or anything else by your computer. If you do that, you’re just asking for a spill to happen. And you know how it goes, the liquid always goes right for the computer instead of the paper and pens you have sitting there.

For other devices (cameras, cell phones, etc.), you can keep them in plastic bags if you’re going to be near water. If you’re at the beach, keep your cell phone concealed, so there’s no chance of water getting on it. Or use a waterproof camera. Just taking some simple precautions will keep you from many, many headaches down the road. If you just use some common sense and are very careful when it comes to your electronics, you’ll be just fine!

~ Erin

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