How to Fix a Computer That Has Water Damage

Man looking stressed staring at a computer
  • 3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 20
What You'll Need
Camera/mobile Phone
Blow dryer
Soft absorbing cloth

A computer that has water damage will likely not be in proper working condition. Even after the computer is dried out, there is no guarantee that the hard drive, battery, RAM, and other parts will function as intended. However, before writing off the water-damaged computer or taking it to a costly repairman, try the following steps to fix it.

Step 1 - Turn Off Power Connection

If the computer is connected to the power outlet, remove it immediately. If it is a laptop, remove the battery from its casing at the bottom. You will need to release the tab that comes along with the battery pack according to the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual. This will prevent you from getting a shock while working with a water-damaged laptop.

Step 2 - Open the Computer

man's hands over a laptop

If the computer is a laptop, remove all the screws underneath it. After this, take out the two screws that connect the laptop screen. If the computer is a desktop, then unscrew the cover that protects the CPU.

Step 3 - Hard Drive

Remove the hard drive from the computer. Take note of the way that it is removed so that when putting it back there is no problem. Preferably, take photos or make a video with your mobile phone. Check the drive for any water or moisture. Press down with a soft cloth to absorb the moisture. Do not make swiping motions with the cloth to mop up the water as this may spread the water around instead of absorbing and removing it. Dry out any remaining moisture with the help of a blow dryer set to cool, or a fan. If some of its content is important, take it to a repair shop ASAP to get the content backed up, just in case.

Step 4 - Keyboard

In the case of a desktop computer, unplug the keyboard from the CPU. Turn the keyboard upside down and shake the water loose. Unplug the screws at the bottom and blow-dry. Keep it out under the sun for some time without allowing it to get excessively hot.

Step 5 - Other Components

computer graphics card

Disconnect and take out all the other components including the motherboard that lies within the computer. Ensure that snapshots are taken of all the components that are taken out of the computer so that a frame of reference is there while putting back the components.

Step 6 - Drying Process

Dry all the components one by one by using a soft cloth to absorb the moisture. Then, use a dryer to dehumidify them. Let the components sit overnight so that they get naturally dried in the air. After drying out, there may be some calcium deposits on the components from the dried water. This can cause problems with the computer. You can clean the components with a solution of 90 percent alcohol.

Step 7 - Reinstall

After a few days, reinstall the computer. While keeping the photos as a reference point, reinstall all the components back in the reverse order of their removal. Reconnect the keyboard. In case of a laptop, put in the battery pack and restore power. If there was no damage of a permanent nature, your computer should now be in working order.