Repair computer water damage

First aid in case of water damage to the laptop

Lincoln Spector, Sabine Schischka

Spilled coffee? Dropped your laptop in the pool? We reveal how you can prevent damage - if you act quickly.

EnlargeWater Damage: How To Save Your Laptop
© iStockphoto.com/Mipan

Electricity and liquids don't get along well. When the two meet, liquid can wreak havoc on electrical wiring. You may even get another electric shock if you're not careful.

Important: If your laptop has suffered water damage just now, then leave it switched off until you have taken all of the precautions mentioned here! And read this article on another computer, tablet or smartphone.

Let's go: avoid water damage

Immediately after the liquid has entered, you should ensure that your hands and the power button on your laptop are dry again. Use a towel if necessary.

If, despite the accident, your laptop is still running and switched on, switch it off now - and we don't mean the standard process of shutting down Windows. Instead, press and hold the power button for about five seconds - your laptop will turn off.

iPhone dropped in water: How to save your smartphone

Next, remove any type of power supply. Pull the power plug out of the socket, if it was plugged in, and then remove the battery if it can be removed. By now you've at least made sure that you don't get electrocuted yourself.

Now remove all components that are still attached to your laptop: mouse, cables, USB storage media and so on. Open and remove all doors and parts that can be easily opened and removed. This can be, for example, RAM, hard disk or SSD. In this guide we show in detail how to dismantle a notebook. For more tips on opening and disassembling a laptop, check out this article.

If the liquid is sticky (like soda or alcohol), it is better to leave the innards of your laptop to a professional cleaning company. If, on the other hand, you have only spilled water, you can dry out your laptop yourself.

First, dry the outer surface thoroughly with a towel. Then place a larger, dry towel on a free, flat surface, open the laptop as far as it will go and place it on the towel with the screen and keyboard facing down. Leave the laptop in this position for at least a few hours to allow any water to drain out.

When this time has elapsed, put your laptop back together and be surprised if it still works. If not, take it to a professional.