What happens when you spill water on a laptop?

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What happens when you spill water on a laptop?
Water does not necessarily spell certain death for a laptop computer. (laptop image by Jorge Figueiredo from Fotolia.com)

A water spill on a laptop induces heart-stopping anxiety for most users. This is because while they may not know exactly how, they understand that water--or any liquid--can cause severe damage to computer equipment.

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A laptop is made of numerous components, including electrical wires and a motherboard, which is where the most important information is stored. No type of liquid should get to this area of the computer.


When water is spilt onto a laptop, it can leak under the keyboard, accessing the motherboard. Once this happens, it will generally short out important electrical wires that allow your laptop to function. Moreover, water damage to the various chips and additional parts of the motherboard will adversely affect its ability to function as well.

Time Frame

Once water has been spilt onto the laptop, damage can occur almost instantly, particularly if the computer is on. Once the water interacts with the wiring in the computer, a short can occur instantaneously.


When water is spilt, a user should power down immediately. He may find that after removing the battery and sometimes even the casing to allow the laptop to dry, the computer still won't function properly. In this instance, he will need to visit a professional laptop repair technician.


Many people mistakenly believe a water spill on their laptop spells certain disaster. However, water is actually one of the safer liquids to spill on a computer. Juices and sodas contain sugar, which leaves behind a sticky residue between keys and underneath the keyboard.

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