If you’ve ever spilled water on your laptop, you know the sinking feeling of watching your computer shut down and refusing to turn back on. You may have tried to turn it on again, maybe even gone as far as taking it apart to dry everything out, but still nothing. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this post we’ll talk about some things you can do to try and get your laptop up and running again after a spill.
First, the most important thing: Unplug everything. Yes, even that power cord! Water conducts electricity and can fry your circuits in a split second if you leave the power on while the laptop is still wet.
There are always exceptions to these rules but its better to be safe than sorry. There are some laptops which don’t have removable batteries so refer to your owner’s manual or do an online search for what you should do before continuing with this process. If you spill something other than water on it then check the owner’s manual for cleaning instructions first as well. For example if it was soda pop or something sticky use waterless hand cleaner (which contains oil) to clean off the sticky substance first any liquids will spread it around.
As far as liquids go, water is not the greatest because it can seep through tiny spaces. Coffee is another liquid that has many of the same issues as water. Soda pop (especially cola) or any other sugary drink will wreak havoc on your computer. The sugar isn’t good for the hardware and the acidity of these types of drinks can dissolve plastic housings and corrode metal parts. If you spilled any type of beverage on your laptop then unplug everything now! If possible remove the battery if there’s one in it also.
If it was an accident, most likely you’ve done nothing to the computer except turn it off. But if someone tried to wash your laptop, you may have some internal damage. Only a qualified service person should check for this type of damage because opening up the computer can cause further problems that are very difficult to fix. If you have any doubts then don’t open anything up! Do not attempt to dry out the inside of your laptop yourself unless you’re completely positive about what you’re doing. Water left in too long can corrode or rust parts so being careful is necessary.
If everything looks fine on the outside but there are no signs of life at all when you flip the switch try these steps before giving up on it. If the laptop is completely dead of course you won’t be able to do anything via a USB but if there’s still some life left in your battery this might work.
Remove the battery from your laptop and plug everything into an electrical outlet. Leave it plugged in for at least 30 minutes, then try turning it on again. It may take several tries to get a response from a “dead” computer, so don’t give up after one or two attempts. If your laptop is completely dead then remove any peripherals that are attached such as a printer, scanner, wireless card etc before trying to turn it back on . Remove everything except the power cord and hard drive if possible including memory cards and USB devices especially those which rely on power from the computer this includes external hard drives. If you have a laptop that has a removable battery then take it out and just try turning it on without anything connected to the laptop or using AC power only being sure not to leave any metal items connected such as a cell phone because they can short your motherboard even if its off .
If there is no physical damage but the laptop won’t turn on at all after several minutes of trying something else worth trying before giving up is to plug in an external monitor and press the key which will switch from one monitor to another usually F8 F6 or CRT/LCD button depending on your laptop model. If your display appears on the external monitor even though none appear on yours then most likely your laptop screen is just not getting power. If the external monitor doesn’t come on at all then there’s a problem with the video card or the monitor itself.
If you’ve tried all of these things and your laptop is still not working then you may have to face the fact that it’s time for a new one. And if you’re feeling really adventurous you could try to fix it yourself but be very careful! Water and laptops don’t mix well!
Remember to always unplug your laptop when you’re not using it and keep liquids away from it especially if its on your desk!