How to Recover From a Laptop Spill

Last Updated Mar 22, 2007 6:57 AM EDT

Wet LaptopLaptops and liquids don't mix well. I've lost one to a Diet Dr. Pepper and have seen another fried due to a harried late-night combination of Google and Heineken. The two seem to be brought together in the most inopportune places—conference rooms and airplane tray tables come to mind—but disaster can strike at almost anytime. I now keep my laptop slightly raised off of my desk in order to avoid indirect hits from a nearby spilled coffee, but I haven't yet outfitted it with a prophylactic in the form of a protective cover.

Over at Engadget, there's a video of folks dousing a laptop with wine and juice and then successfully reviving it—a pretty impressive feat. While they don't show it in the video, the very first thing to do is to unplug the power sources (plug and battery) as soon as possible and flip your laptop over to aid in the draining process. If your warranty covers such accidents, the next step is to simply call a repair man. If not (as is the case with many basic warranties), start following the steps outlined in the video, which include: disassembling your computer as fast as possible; removing and washing (in ionized water) as many components as you can pop out; drying them (without using heat!); and then putting everything back together. Of course, as many of the commenters on Digg point out, it's not such an easy thing to remember where everything goes. So make sure to download a diagram of the internal workings of your laptop and to document your steps with a digital camera