How to (Possibly) Save a Laptop from Water Damage


It’s each pc proprietor’s nightmare: a carelessly spilled cup of espresso. A unexpected bathe while you’re operating outdoor. Heaven forbid, some roughly farcical rest room tumble while you actually needed to get that TPS document in. Conventional knowledge says soaked pc is a useless pc, however that doesn’t essentially should be true, particularly in case you have a couple of equipment and a large number of endurance.

What You’ll Need

There’s no be sure that you’ll be able to repair a water-logged pc, however if you wish to give it a shot, right here’s what you’ll want.

  • Tools: You’ll almost definitely desire a set of Flat-head and Philips-head screwdrivers in a couple of sizes. If you’ve a collection of small Torx screwdrivers, take hold of them too. You’ll additionally almost definitely want some roughly small, slim pry bar—a Swiss Army knife will paintings. You can take hold of all of those in a single bundle with the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit ($50).
  • A can of compressed air: Normally used for dusting and cleansing, this may increasingly turn out to be useful in our later steps.
  • A secure paintings area: Someplace blank and dry is what you’re on the lookout for, preferably with out a carpeting and a wooden or rubber area to position elements.
  • Rice or silica gel packets: Either of those will lend a hand take in moisture.
  • Heater: An area heater or a hair dryer will do, in case you don’t have get admission to to heat, dry warmth from another supply.

Most of this may also be had at your native ironmongery shop. But if you’ll be able to’t in finding one thing—particularly the silica gel—proceed with out it. Time is of the essence on the subject of rainy electronics.

Step One: Safety First

Before you start, you’re going to have to stand the truth that your pc could be useless. Sorry, however at this level what you’re doing is principally a salvage operation, with a faint hope that you’ll be able to rescue your and your funding. If you’ve any choices, like a full-coverage harm guaranty or a easy improve that you’ll be able to find the money for, cross forward and employ them.

But in case you actually wish to rescue your present pc, don’t be silly about it. If the object is actively sparking or smoking, break out from it, and if essential get it out of the development. If you notice precise flames, give it a twig with a hearth extinguisher. And at that time, you could as neatly prevent studying this newsletter and get started looking for a brand new pc.

However, in case your pc appears to be secure, unplug it from its energy twine and take away the battery if imaginable. Now say good-bye on your guaranty—which almost definitely doesn’t duvet water harm, anyway—then proceed.

Step Two: Find a Service Manual or Guide

Get to any other laptop or use your telephone—one thing that may browse the Internet and examine PDF recordsdata. Then do a Google seek for your pc’s type quantity and “Service Manual” or “Repair Manual.” Download and save a replica if you’ll be able to in finding one.

A carrier guide is a unique guide created by way of your pc’s producer, meant for technicians and third-party restore products and services. It provides you with step by step directions on disassemble your pc. Service manuals are normally cut up up into sections for particular restore jobs (changing RAM, arduous drives, keyboards, displays, et cetera), however by way of transferring between the quite a lot of sections you must be capable of in finding directions on strip lots of the portions out.

Service manuals be offering step by step disassembly directions.

If you’ll be able to’t discover a carrier guide—which is a definite chance, particularly with more recent designs—don’t surrender hope. You nonetheless could possibly in finding an end-user information on disassemble your particular pc type. YouTube is a great position to look, as is the restore website iFixIt, which hosts disassembly guides for plenty of fashions. If in any respect imaginable you need to search out some roughly visible reference in your pc earlier than you continue to your next step.

iFixIt’s restore guides may also be very helpful. has a very good database of laptop carrier manuals, as does this unbiased Australian website.

Step Three: Disassemble Your Laptop

Here comes the thrill phase. Follow the carrier guide (or no matter information you’ve been in a position to search out) and take aside each piece of your pc that you are feeling very easily casting off. It’s an extended, tedious procedure, even with a information, so get ready for some frustration.

Start with the straightforward stuff. Many laptops are designed in this type of manner that the RAM, arduous pressure or SSD may also be got rid of with only a screwdriver (and infrequently even different elements just like the disc pressure). Others require you to take off the ground frame panel. Unfortunately, the more recent and extra advanced pc is (like Dell’s XPS 13 and different ultraportables), the fewer most probably it’s you’re going with the intention to simply take away elements. You might wish to pry aside plastic or steel tabs on the frame seams to take away panels. Be as mild as you’ll be able to, however some designs would require important drive to open.

As you take away items, position them someplace secure and electrically non-conductive. A rubber mat is perfect, however a picket desk will do in a pinch. (It’s additionally a good suggestion to paintings someplace with out carpet and to put on tennis footwear.) You would possibly need to make notes for your self and take footage along with your telephone as you cross in the course of the procedure, in order that reassembling your pc shall be more uncomplicated later. Place screws in puts the place they received’t be simply scattered, like empty bowls or baggage, or a magnetic portions tray.

Step Four: Dry the Components

Inspect every got rid of part for moisture or liquid residue. Use a towel or a washcloth to absorb and scrub each little bit of liquid or dried subject matter that you’ll be able to. Be cautious to not let the rest snag, particularly on circuit forums. When you’re carried out wiping a component off, hit it with the canned air to take away any fluff or mud out of your towel.

Place the elements someplace heat and dry. Not too heat—over the top warmth can do as a lot harm as water. A room with an area heater on low is perfect right here. Placing your non-conductive paintings house on a heat sunlit porch or deck is an k choice, despite the fact that after all you’ll should be cautious of any climate or wind. If all else fails, you’ll be able to check out gently drying them with a hairdryer on low, keeping every part securely to your hand and no less than two ft clear of the blower.

Don’t devour these things. Really.

Let the elements sit down out for a number of hours, so long as it takes to take away any lingering moisture. There are some things you’ll be able to do to hurry this alongside: in case you have silica gel packets (the ones little paper baggage marked “DO NOT EAT” incorporated in electronics and baggage), you’ll be able to in moderation unfold them round on most sensible of your elements. They’re designed to suck away moisture, which is strictly what you need. If you don’t have any silica gel, you’ll be able to roll your personal moisture-absorbing instrument by way of striking dry rice right into a fantastic mesh bag or a skinny pillowcase. Any material porous sufficient to let air via (however no longer the real rice grains) will do.

After a number of hours, check out the entire elements for any lingering moisture or residue. If you notice any, repeat this phase earlier than continuing.

Step Five: Reassemble Your Laptop

Now you’re going to accomplish step 3 in opposite. Once once more, you’ll wish to employ your non-conductive paintings house, your carrier guide, and any footage or notes you’ve taken all through the method. If you’ve any screws or elements left over when your pc is reassembled, paintings backwards till you in finding the step you neglected.

Step Five: Power On (and Hope)

Finally, you’ve reached the instant of reality. Replace your pc’s battery, if it’s an exterior type, and plug it in. Then pass your arms (editor’s notice: that is fully not obligatory) and press the facility button.

As we stated, there aren’t any promises, but when you’ll be able to get issues operating, thank your fortunate stars—and make a backup as temporarily as imaginable.

Image Credit: Lenovo, iFixit, Future Proof weblog, BinaryKoala/Flickr