I just dropped my computer, now what?

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I’m so sorry. Been there done that and the horror is indescribable. The seconds between the drop and the crash can last an eternity. Everything happens in slow motion. You valiantly try to catch it but to no avail. Your child knocks it over or the pet runs underneath it, it’s never pretty.

In a best case scenario, everything appears fine. Nothing cracks on the laptop and everything continues to work. All is not OK though. Impacts will frequently cause damage to the internal hard drive, so a back up is absolutely critical at this point. You have been backing up regularly right? That’s what I thought, so do one right after the crash.

Continue to monitor your hard drive’s health for at least a few months. If damage occurred it should show up if you run hard drive tests. There are various utilities for Mac and PC hard drive testing. At the first sign of trouble, it’s time to replace the drive.

The most common part to get damaged during a fall is the power jack. That’s the thing you plug your power adapter into from the wall. The jack will loosen up and you’ll find your laptop no longer charges it’s battery reliably or you have to put pressure one way or the other in order to get the laptop to acknowledge it’s receiving power. If it’s after a fall, don’t assume it’s the battery or the power adapter. Too often I near of customers buying these items and wasting their money.

Repair of power jacks averages around $125 and if the laptop is more than a few years old I don’t recommend the repair. The average life span of a laptop is 3 – 5 years so consider that as well as other parts that typically are consumable on a laptop such as the battery.

Should the screen crack: arrgh. That’s expensive as well. Repairs average on those around $250 depending on the size of the screen and brand. For an older system, that’s probably at least half its value. If your screen cracks, then a backup is critical because if it hit hard enough to damage the screen, the hard drive probably suffered some damage. If you can’t see the screen well enough to do that, frequently you can hook up an external monitor so you can see what you are doing.

As mentioned with water damage, it’s time to contact your (or your parents’) insurance agent to check on coverage or if it’s within the first 90 days, check with your credit card company. You may be partially covered for the loss and might consider adding your laptop to your insurance policy.

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