It is a sad fact that the easiest, and probably most common, method of destroying a laptop is to spill a drink on it. The fact that I’ve avoided this fate myself is really only down to the fact that I tend to only drink water the vast majority of the time, and water spills are relatively easy to rescue equipment from if acted upon early. In the office, I operate a strict ‘closed container only’ policy.
A few years ago I was alerted by email to a spillage onto a laptop that was not so simple. Worse still, the user had waited several days before contacting me. They had vainly attempted to drain the laptop by simply lying it keyboard-down on a towel, and only sought help when that failed.
The beverage in question was a mug of Baileys and hot chocolate. A large mug. The entirety of a large mug.
I didn’t hold out much hope.
Recovering from a laptop spillage is a relatively simple procedure involving four steps:
- Stripping the laptop down to its component parts.
- Thoroughly drying said components.
- Praying really hard.
The first thing that struck me when I began dismantling the laptop in question was the stench of rotten milk the moment I lifted the keyboard, a vicious assault on the nostrils the likes of which I had been unprepared. Even if the hot chocolate had been black, connoisseurs of Baileys liqueur will know that it contains cream. It also contains sugar (both in pure and caramelised form) and alcohol, none of which are particularly healthy for electronics. It took me an hour and a half to painstakingly clean the sugar/milk residue from the inside of the laptop, but the damage was done. It never booted again. The laptop was expensive, less than 6 months old, and the purchaser had declined insurance against spillage.
Remember, dear friends; alcohol is hazardous to your laptop’s health. Please compute responsibly.