Thirsty Dell WIN7

Little Dave

New member
Sep 27, 2022
After recent brain surgery I now have some motor skill issues. Long story short I emptied a whole cup of coffee into the keyboard while it was on. I quickly pulled the mains, switched off the laptop via the 'on' button and pulled the battery.

I emptied the laptop onto an absorbent pad and shook it out in all directions. Then left it in a room with AC set on 'dry'. In the afternoon left it out in the sun and when switched on the smell of coffee was great but it all worked!

The following morning I switched it on and most of the keys did not work, so with two screws removed from the back the keyboard was lifted out and a new one fitted.

When switched on there is a continued beep, press ESC key and boot resumes and beep returns whilst cursor flashes, another press of the ESC key and all seem good however, where you would enter your password the box gets filled with dots, press enter and wrong password comes up, press OK I am then able to enter correct password and computer works perfect..... except the space bar. Tried blowing out keyboard plug with compressed air no change.

Sorry for long first post, but saves a lot of 'to and fro'.

Hope someone recognises the issue.

Many thanks.

Hi Dave, and welcome to CF :)

If you're really lucky the issue might be just a case of re-seating the keyboard connector - depending on the machine they can be a right pain to connect correctly.

I will be honest, the long term prognosis for the laptop might not be so great - liquid spills can appear to be fine at first but without ultrasonically cleaning every component (and even then your chances may vary) you might find the machine starts to fail in lots of weird and wonderful ways.

I lost my Blackberry in a similar fashion - it worked great for a week, then I was unable to move around on the phone, and eventually it died altogether.

My advice here, at least as a first action, would be to use an external keyboard to access the laptop and backup your data and either think about a new machine, or finding out how much it would cost to replace the mainboard.

If you fancy your chances the next best thing would be to take the bottom portion of the machine to bits, disconnect the battery and spray liberally with a PCB safe contact cleaner. It would be worth seperating the mainboard from the bottom chassis in case any liquid has pooled around here.

I'd advise paying particular attention to the keyboard connector (usually a ribbon cable) as this appears to be where you might having issues.
Hi and thanks for the reply. I did use compressed air to clean out the connection and fitted a new keyboard, access is very easy on the DELL, two small screws and the keyboard pops off. Interesting that once past the boot process and the password automatically filling the entire password box, I can then enter the correct password and all is well, the only key not working is the space bar?

I will try and get some PCB cleaner but fear this will mean stripping the laptop completely. I may have to employ a friend as my shaking hands will have bits flying everywhere, LOL!

Re a new machine, I am from the old 'DOS' school and once WIN 8 onwards came in I vowed never to use it after it was not logical to me in fact, I revere in getting WIN 8 and onwards machines back to WIN 7, yes finding drivers can be a pain but gives me something to do.

Many thanks for your advice, if I get it sorted or not I will report back, at least this may help other forum members?

Thanks again

Yes do let us know how you get on, hopefully it will be good news!

Certainly if you prefer using older OSes, while I have to advise this might not be the best thing to do security wise I’m sure you are already aware of that, if you do need to get a ‘new’ machine it might be worth looking towards eBay - Core 2 Duo and early i series machines can now be found rather cheaply as companies tend to keep machines for around 5 years then bin them off so anything older than that can be found for next to nothing.

I myself tend to buy old ex corporate machines for my personal use - my personal daily driver machine is a lot older than ones I send for disposal at work. Most of these laptops spend their lives docked on a desk so tend to be available in good condition.