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Windows 7: Chances of a Laptop Recovering from Water Spill?

02 Feb 2016   #1
PlasticTopHat

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 
Chances of a Laptop Recovering from Water Spill?

I spilled about half a cup of water on my laptop keyboard. Immediately unplugged, soaked up visible water with towel, propped laptop upside down to let the water drain out. At first, in my frantic state of mind, I thought I should leave the battery in to keep the fans running and blow evaporated moisture out. Read an article that said I should take out the battery, turned around, and saw that the screen had gone black. I took the battery out. I now have it propped upside-down with fans blowing on it from above and below.

I've read some articles, but they just tell me what to do right away. What I really want to know is, assuming I get it all dried out, what are the odds that the laptop will be okay? I mean, it's just water, not coffee or soda or anything.

UPDATE: Just checked the ingredients on another bottle of the same water. Purified water, calcium chloride, and sodium bicarbonate. Hopefully residual calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate will not destroy my computer over time.


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02 Feb 2016   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I think the odds are pretty good. Just let it dry naturally for a few days.
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02 Feb 2016   #3
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

As long as it was just water and you let it dry completely you have a good chance of saving your laptop.

You could put a fan blowing on it with easy to remove panels off the laptop to speed things up a bit.
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02 Feb 2016   #4
PlasticTopHat

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Okay, the two responses I've received so far are pretty comforting...

So, to add another question, now that I've drained out the bulk of the water, and have had fans blowing on the keyboard and the bottom of the laptop for a few hours, is it better to leave it that way, or to put it in a box of dry rice? When do you think it will be safe to use the laptop again? There's a spreadsheet on there that I've been working on for a few days for work, and I told them I should be able to finish it and get it to them midweek.

Fortunately, the plastic seems to have been shaped so as to form a solid barrier around the battery and, even better, the hard drive, so they're both dry. Worst case scenario, I have to buy a new laptop and pay someone to retrieve the files from my hard drive.
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02 Feb 2016   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The rice may speed up the drying but else it does not add anything. I would just let it sit for a week.

Quote:
pay someone to retrieve the files from my hard drive.
That can be very expensive. Forensic data retrieval is not trivial.
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02 Feb 2016   #6
PlasticTopHat

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
The rice may speed up the drying but else it does not add anything. I would just let it sit for a week.

Quote:
pay someone to retrieve the files from my hard drive.
That can be very expensive. Forensic data retrieval is not trivial.
Rats. I kind of hoped it would be not much more difficult than a usb drive since the water hasn't touched it... you know, pop it out of the laptop, put it in another computer, copy the files to a folder in my new computer for me to sort through... or even just put the hard drive in my new computer. Guess that shows how simple my mind is...
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02 Feb 2016   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I would get an external enclosure for a few bucks and work with that. Examples:

hdd enclosure - Newegg.com
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02 Feb 2016   #8
indianacarnie

 

I did the same thing with my last lappy, i.e. spilled water on it. Drained it, left it to dry for a day (with a space heater blowing on it)(on LOW) and it worked just fine afterwards.
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03 Feb 2016   #9
PlasticTopHat

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Okay, it is a great relief to hear that a laptop can usually handle a drink (of water) as long as it is dried out afterwards...

Thanks, everyone, for your help! I'll probably try booting it up this evening.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2016   #10
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PlasticTopHat View Post
I'll probably try booting it up this evening.
Totally depends on your environment as to whether it's advisable to try quite so soon. If it's winter-dry RH, and you have fans and maybe a low-wattage heater on the thing, it could dry-out that quickly I suppose. Anyway be darn sure cuz any leftover water could cause the short-circuit that you don't want!

If it were mine I'd probably take the back off (as if you were replacing HDD or RAM or ???) and see if any wetness appears anywhere at all.

I sorta doubt the HDD has been killed--those things have a single hole which is tightly filtered on the inside such that IMO it'd have to be sitting in water before it got wet. Also the drives I've seen have dessicant inside as well.
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 Chances of a Laptop Recovering from Water Spill?




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