Liquid Beverage Damage to Dave’s Laptop: Delicious, but deadly!

… So, for those of you who think that these kinds of perils can’t happen to your favorite IT company – think again! …

This time, it was Dave’s laptop that was the victim of liquid damage – specifically, the display. Yes, this does really happen – even to IT people. How exactly Dave’s laptop screen got damaged by liquid is not important. The type of beverage involved in said liquid is also not important, although I will say that had it been alcoholic, I probably would have felt better about how things went over the next few hours than I actually did…

The laptop’s LCD screen, shall we say, was not very happy to be entirely saturated in liquid, regardless of whether it was a beverage, or not, or regardless of its alcoholic content (or lack thereof). The LCD screen took on kind of an unhealthy, “puffy”, almost “swollen” sort of a look, kind of like it had gotten punched in the face, or some kind of strange infection…

Next, after about 20-30 minutes after “the spill”, the far left portion of the screen started flickering erratically, kind of like a bugzapper that’s been left continuously turned on in front of Old Crazy Man Jesse’s porch for over eight years and is way past due for replacement, or like a flickering neon sign on a seedy motel with most of its letters on its signboard burned out, that you just KNOW is probably not really on the up-and-up…

I took this as an indication that things were probably going to get worse before they got better, and I made sure to do a full and complete backup of my laptop’s data, immediately (I generally have this set to run every night when it’s plugged into its “home” network).

A few hours after the spill, all of the backlights on the display slowly twinkled out one by one, and it was essentially unreadable (unless plugged into an external monitor). The laptop just looked, “sad”. For some reason I was reminded of a scene from the 2002 remake of the movie “The Time Machine”, when the main character stumbles upon the wrecked ruins of an advanced holographic library computer’s Avatar, that was still barely functioning on what little capabilities it still had remaining in its neglected and worn out innards…

My story did end with a Happy Ending. Dave’s laptop being a Dell (Shameless plug: RiteTech is an Official Dell partner), and the laptop also having the Dell “accidental damage warranty with on-site service” – after I had ensured that all of its data had been backed up, I placed a service call with them to arrange a repair or replacement of the screen. 🙂

Sure enough, about 2 business days after my call, a Dell technician arrived with a replacement screen, and within about 20 minutes, had skillfully replaced the one that I had so badly and wrongly abused with a replacement.

Lessons Learned:

1. Be careful with your beverages around your PCs, especially laptops
2. It’s always worth it to get the “on-site service” option for critical computers. Downtime is very expensive.
3. The Accidental Damage and Liquid Damage “option” can be especially valuable for laptops. For desktops, maybe not so much – but definitely consider point #2, at least.

— DB

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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