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Coffee in your Computer?

Posted on: 10th September, 2020

Last week I was contacted by a visitor to Northumberland with the sorry tale of her dropping a cup of coffee onto her laptop. Oh dear.

She had done the right thing of quickly turning the laptop upside down and pulling the power lead out, but to no avail. Even after allowing the laptop to dry in the airing cupboard of their rented cottage it wouldn’t switch on.

Coffee spilled on laptop

This is a surprisingly common problem and many people will have heard tales of leaving the wet laptop, or mobile phone, in a bowl of rice. The theory being that the rice will attract any remaining moisture. Good luck.

The worst liquids to spill onto your prized laptop are anything with sugar, e.g. tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc. On the off chance that the liquid hasn’t killed the computer, the sugar will do its best to do so. And it’s awful to try & clean the sticky mess out of the internal workings.

Despite my best endeavours the laptop wouldn’t respond and it was pronounced dead at the scene. Once liquid gets onto the motherboard it is rare that a laptop will fully recover, if at all. Some laptops have a membrane underneath the keyboard to alleviate the problem, but that can be breached in seconds by liquid.

I was able to suggest that she may be able to claim on her house insurance. Many policies do cover you for household goods which are temporarily away from the home. In which case they would probably also cover her for my charges, as I was able to furnish her with a written diagnostic report.

Not the best outcome for her holiday but, on the bright side, the weather was good and she couldn’t do any more work during the week!

So, my woebegone tourist couldn’t be helped, as the laptop simply refused to respond to any treatment. Sadly it was a very high end Dell XPS, worth around £1,250! And she didn’t have any backup.

On the good news front, I was able to rescue the data from the laptop hard drive. But, why not have a backup? A computer disaster is a question of when and not if! To make matters worse, she did have Microsoft OneDrive, but wasn’t using it. Had all the documents been stored in there, that would have been perfect for this type of computer catastrophe.

I am hoping that she has taken away 3 lessons from her disaster:
1. Leave the laptop at home. You’re on holiday.
2. Don’t keep a cup of coffee so close to a laptop.
3. Backup. Backup. Backup.

If you would like to understand just how inexpensive a reliable and robust backup system can be, call me today for free advice.

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