Laptop Spillages – How to handle liquid damage
I often see laptops that get brought to me at Ross-IT that have been subjected to an unwanted bathing in some form of liquid, the majority of people when i asked them what they did after the spillage said the first thing they did (other than panic of course) was to get some form of cloth and try and soak up the liquid. Then shortly after their laptop cuts off never to be turned on again, this is because usually the liquid has made its way onto the motherboard and shorted out a circuit. Now you would think that is bad enough right, how much worse can they get? Well if your poison of choice happens to be a fizzy drink like Coke or worse alcohol the damage doesn’t stop there, the problem with these liquids is that they will also corrode the circuit board after the inital short circuit, which makes repair even harder and normally more expensive.
Below i am going to give you a few simple steps to remember, so if you are ever subject to this happening you can reduce the risk of completley ruining your laptop altogether.
Step 1 – Remove Laptop Power Cord + Power Off
Yes if you have your laptop conected to its charger remove it straight away, the first thing you need to do is kill off the electrical supply and this is the first step to doing so. Once the power cord has been removed the next step is to manually turn the machine off as quickly as possible seconds count here, so no messing about push and hold the power buttong until the machine turns off, don’t simply push it once and allow it to shut down as this will take to long and shutting down using the start>shutdown option in the OS will take even longer!
Step 2 – Remove the Battery
The next step is to remove the batery as this holds charge, and could also cause a short circuit. by removing the baterry you are eliminating the chance of the motherboard blowing a fuse. The quicker you do this the better, the idea being if you are quick enough you ca do this before any liquid makes its way through to the motherboard, however this does depend on the design of the laptop and the amount of liquid that has been dumped onto it.
Step 3 – Place face down
Although this may be pretty obvious as to why you should place it face down, im going to briefly explain why, by placing face down you are helping to stop the liquid finding its whay onto the motherbaord, obviously this will depend on the laptop design but the rule remains the same. If your laptop does not extend fully like the one in the picture you could for example hang it off the edge of your bed with the keyboard face down on the bed and a couple of books to weigh it down. You can to speed up the process put your laptop somewhere warm and dry such as an airing cupboard this will speed up the time it take to dry out.
So hopefully after reading this brief article if you ever spill liquid onto your laptop you will have a good idea of what to and what not to do. once it is fully dry can take a few days! you can either try and power back on, or i would recommend taking it into your local computer shop. Here at Ross-IT we specialise in laptop repairs in Colchester and are more than willing to take a look for free.
Laptop or Tablet which is best for you?
If i had a pound everytime i was asked this question, im sure i could retire, there are a few things you need to take into consideration when you have this decision to make. 1. Have you ever used a tablet before? 2. What are you hoping to use the laptop or tablet for? 3. Direct comparrison between the two products. These would be the main points to cover, with also a few other points that need to be covered which i will do in this article, so you can make an informed decision without any biased views. Lets face it we all have “that friend” who is obsessed with a certain product either Apple products or android so i am going to try and keep this article as un-biased as possible. So if you decide to go and shop for either you won’t be suckered into the “technical” jargon that may be thrust upon you when you go to your local IT wholesaler.
What will your Lapotp or Tablet primarily be used for?
What are you intending on using your new device for? Will you be just surfing the net, checking out your Facebook, eBay and sending a few emails? If so then you definately qualify for a tablet, where as if you are intending on doing anything a little more demanding such as photoshop tasks, playing the latest 3D games. Then you would most certainly need to choose a laptop over a tablet, even thought they are advancing graphically with every release they are not yet able to rival a laptop power wise.
Have you used a Tablet before?
Well, have you? its very easy to get suckered into the advertisements on TV especially the Apple iPad adverts, they are very good at matketing their products, and i have chosen Apple as an example not only because they are the market leader in tablet sales but i also own an ipad 4. If you have never used a tablet before i suggest you try one out before you go out and buy, try a friends of even go into your local Apple store and have a play about with one on display. You may find that beneath the glitz and the glam of the TV adds you simply can’t get on with a touch screen device, however if you have a smart phone that is touch screen this would be used as a good gauge as to whether you can cope using one properly.
Laptop or Tablet – direct comparison
An overview of the two, and you will find that you can pick up a new iPad direct from Apple for around the £400 mark just as you can pick up a new low to middle range laptop for about the same price. It all boils down to screen size, touch screen or traditional, do you mind having a 10″ screen, or do you prefer to have a traditional 15.6″ screen with a full size QWERTY keyboard, Yes you can get the adapters for the iPad that joins a minuture keyboard to it, but i personally think that is not very practical. Also the touchscren as mentioned above may be an issue for you. The iPad as you may have guessed wins the round on portability with it being so small it s easily carried to and from wherever you need to go.
In conclusion, i personally think that if you are just looking for something to do the basics, and you can get on with a touchscreen, and can do without the keyboard then a tablet may just be what you are looking for. However if you need something with a little more power, to do gaming or editing on then you will need a laptop. I have however yet to see a tablet come down with a virus, where as computers contracting an infection is becomming a regular occurance, but who is to say that with the rapidly increasing demand of tablets that there will not be viruses introduced for them too? I have both and i utilise them both, but i am also aware of the limits to the iPad, even though they are produicing new and more innovative apps everyday its quite ovbious that a tablet just is not yet anyway a replacement for a laptop.
Anti-Virus is essential
We are going to cover the need for anti-virus on your pc or laptop, i can hear what you are thinking, “pretty silly topic to cover, everyone knows you should have anti-virus don’t they?” Well you would think so, but you would be wrong! Considering the number of laptops and pc’s that i see coming into Ross-IT everyday that have no anti-virus protection what so ever, not even having Windows defender eneabled. Having some form of anti-virus installed on your machine is absoloutley critical wheter it is a fully paid subscription or even ajust a free basic form of protection, or you could be booking your computer in for a virus removal much sooner than you think!
Free or Paid Subscription?
This is a very common question that i am asked by customers and friends alike, “should i be paying £30, £40 or even £50 for a paid subscription of anti-virus, or just stick with the free option?” I have seen computers with even the most expensive anti-virus programs fall victim to a virus intrusion. I generally find that 9 times out of 10 it is down to the user being sensible enough to know what to and what not to click on, shall i open that suspicious looking attachment, that you will generally find dropping into your inbox from a bank that we don’t actually bank with. Also being sensible in choosing what we are downloading onto our computers. Bypassing your anti-virus to install some cracked software or games will do exactly that bypass all of your security inplace that is there to protect you, usually found when “UAC” user account access pop-up usually makes an appearance asking if you are sure you want to open a certain .exe file or allow a program acces to the hard drive, by clicking yes to this you are simply brushing asside your security. I am a firm beleiver that a FREE anti-virus is usually just as good as the paid counter part the main benefit being that the majority of the tasks such as updates are all automated leaving less for the user to worry about. With obviously a few added bonuses such as instant messaging protection and email sorting. So in conclusion if you feel it is worth shelling out the extra £££’s for having this luxary then the paid service is probally for you.
Which Anti-Virus is the best?
Another question that i am frequently asked is, “which anti-virus is the best? Which will offer me the best protection?” As i have previously covered in this article that is normally down to the user that the majority of infections are caused by the user and not a gap in the protection, it really boils down to which you, the user prefers, or even which you are used to, have used on a previous system. There are a few major companies such as AVG, McAfee and Norton, these you will generally find pre-installed when you purchase a new laptop or pc, these are the few that many people have heard of (good marketing on their end) so people tend to stick with what is familiar. I personally work on the basis that they have all been around for quite some time, so they can’t be completley useless or they would have gone out of business a long time ago. I often use the example that if i was a hacker the first thing i would do is go out and purchase all of the big name anti-virus programs and try and find ways around them. I would however suggest (if you are that way inclined) have a look at their respective websites and see which looks the best to you, they all have a main user panel which is pretty easy to use. I use AVG FREE anti-virus protection purely because of my experience i can usually spot a fake email or dodgy looking link a mile off and i don’t tend to use any cracked software so that generally tends to keep me out of harms way most of the time, and from experience all of the added on features in the paid for subscriptions generally tend to slow down my machine which i find VERY annoying, so i choose the free version so it doesn’t tend to dent my system performance too much. But overall the decision is yours, they are all as i have stated pretty much as good as each other, i find most people tend to stick with what works, and what they can get on with, and then you can decide if you want to stick with the free version or pay out for a subscription with the added extras.