Updated: May 17
Every so often I receive a call from someone who has spilled wine or coke or some other beverage on their laptop.
If you are reading this because that is what you have done, then STOP right now and read this instead!
UPDATE 18/5/20: And some extra information here at this article: https://www.ifixit.com/News/41383/ask-ifixit-i-spilled-liquid-on-my-laptop-now-what
There are many variables at play here but quite often this is a fatal combination.
What happens is that the liquid penetrates the interior of the machine to varying degrees.
Sometimes this penetration is enough to kill the laptop outright, other times it may be a slow and painful death.
Depending on the sugar content, salinity and acidity of the liquid you laptop will start to slowly erode from the inside.
Once your computer fails then you need to consider whether it is worth fixing. You may want to read my blog post here for an idea: https://www.ihatemypc.com.au/post/2016/05/31/the-ever-changing-it-value-proposition
You will also need to consider the state of your backups and whether anything needs to be retrieved from the machine.
Having a laptop damaged this way professionally cleaned can be an expensive and futile exercise.
You can imagine that circuitry eroded by acid is a little hard to just clean and make work again.
The pervasive nature of liquid damage means that many components will likely need replacing and you quickly reach an unpleasant place re: cost vs benefit.
If you are handy and fancy pulling down your laptop and putting it back together again, then it may be worth a try.
Even if you saw sparks or smoke or heard a bang, don't just throw out your dead laptop. Hard disks are usually reasonably well sealed and easy to retrieve data from even in the face of such overwhelming failure.
By now you may be wondering what's the point of this blog post?
Well, it is a tale of caution. And, like many other activities, it contains a warning about working heavy machinery while fatigued.
Sure, many of us seem to think that we need to work at home in our own hours and sure, many of us think that a glass of wine makes the process less painful.
Well let me re-iterate, drinks, unstable surfaces and computers don't mix.
It all happens so quickly and thoroughly that you won't see it coming. Spilling liquid on a laptop is a very good way to stop it dead in its tracks.
You may think it won't happen to you. After all, you are careful and know what you are doing.
I thought that too until a visitor spilled wine on my computer when I wasn't even there!
I was lucky. It was just the keyboard that was ruined and easily replaced. It was a desktop PC not a laptop you see.
You may think your household insurance will cover it. But do you know for sure? When is the last time you checked? This happens so often that many insurers now exclude such damage from being claimed.
For the love of dog.....
Just don't drink and compute!!!