Thursday, November 20, 2014

It just has this little ding...

It's like a slow motion scene in the movies.  You set your laptop on the corner of your desk at home when the cat jumps up and bumps the laptop sending it tumbling to the wood floor.  Your arm and fingers are stretched out trying to desperately reach it before it hits the floor while the word "Noooooooo!"  is coming out of your mouth.  Alas, your fingers touch the tip of the laptop, but not enough to get a good grip and it hits the floor.  Your heart is racing as you gingerly pick up the fallen laptop and examine it for damage.  You notice it just has a little ding...

Naturally, if your laptop had flown out of your protective backpack while you were driving 195 mph on your motorcycle you would expect some major damage.  (That's what happened to this poor MacBook Pro.  The owner got lucky because the hard drive still worked.)

MacBook Pro 13" gets dropped at 195mph

However, it's just a little ding with a bent corner.  As long as it still starts, you'll be ok - right?

Dropped my MacBook Pro by Karl Baron

Over the past few years working in the tech department for our school district, we have had a few laptops tumble to the floor.  Most of them come in with corner dings, but a few have a little more damage.  In our district, we send damaged computers to AppleCare Services for repairs.  When the computer is returned, Apple includes a Product Repair Summary.  This summary provides a list of parts that were replaced and the symptom related to the damaged part.  For example:  Description - Bottom Case, Symptom - Enclosure - Mechanical/Cosmetic Damaged.

That sounds normal for a laptop like the one above, but would you believe other parts can get damaged from a little ding like this?  A minor ding to the case could cause the need to replace other parts like the keyboard (specific keys may not function properly), trackpad (the cursor may not track properly) and battery (no power; it's completely dead).  Sometimes, there is no visible ding from a dropped computer or even one involved in a car accident, but there can still be hidden damage like the need to replace the optical drive because the computer won't accept or read a DVD.

Minor fluid spills can also cause unseen damage to a computer.  A single drop into the keyboard can
A little drop of fluid under the keys can damage more than you realize.
trickle down into the memory, battery, logic board and more.  If you do a quick Google search for "fluid under the keyboard," you will get several suggestions on how to "dry out" your computer including the use of rice (which, by the way, is best saved for recovering a wet cell phone).  However, wiping up the computer and drying it off can still leave you with sticky keys and rust or mold under the keys.  Furthermore, the actual damage to the internal parts of your laptop may not start surfacing for weeks or even months after the initial spill.  Your best bet with water or liquid damage is to suck it up and turn it in for repair because once the case on a laptop is opened up, liquid damage is easy to spot.

So remember, while accidents do happen, don't assume a little ding or one drop of fluid will not impact you laptop.  Talk to your technology department or you computer repair store because a little damage can be as detrimental as major computer damage.

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