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Flooded Office Computers

Posted on 2015-01-08
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Last Modified: 2015-01-21
Our office flooded today and I had 3 computers on the ground.  I haven't yet seen the office but was told that the restoration company is in there with blowers.

Any advice on when I should try to turn the computers on?

Also, if they are not working, should I try to replace the power supplies or just go get new computers?

Needless to say, the computers will be off the floor after this.
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Question by:hrolsons
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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:CoSmismgr
CoSmismgr earned 400 total points
ID: 40538453
You can use 99% isopropyl alcohol to displace any water on internal components (just douse it on over a trash can or something). Then let it dry for at least a day.
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by:FarWest
FarWest earned 400 total points
ID: 40538457
The last line is a very cleaver addition to the question, so no one will play the wise guy with you :)
try to achieve total dry before plug them to the power,
if the water is clean, maybe  it will work fine, the power supply usually away from the ground, and you have to check them before replace if it did not work
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Eirman earned 400 total points
ID: 40538468
I'd open them, dry the out with a combination of tissues, a hair drier on low and time in a warm room.

A lot depends on how high the water went ... The DVD reader would certainly have been destroyed if it got wet.
A hard drives might have survived.

The motherboard & memory ..... who knows.

It was only for a few hours and if the water was clean you might be lucky.

(If you are insured, you might get newer computers)
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LVL 93

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by:nobus
nobus earned 400 total points
ID: 40539656
my company (a computer  manufactory) had a fire some years ago
the old hardware was there for taking by the personnel
i must say  - after rinsing everything with fresh water and mild soap, and cleaning with brush, i allowed it at least for 2 days to dry near  my house heaters at ease
ALL did work again - so maybe you're as lucky as i was
Don't forget it takes much work doing so
maybe it's cheaper - or faster bying new  hardware
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LVL 39

Assisted Solution

by:BillDL
BillDL earned 400 total points
ID: 40540684
Were the computers plugged into the mains power supply and powered up / on standby at the time of the flood?

If so, did the fuses in the plugs blow?  Test the cables, or the fuses from the plugs, on another device.

If they was power to the motherboards when water hit the components, you could have short-circuited components even if the fuses in the wall plugs blew or a trip-switch tripped in the office's fuse box.

Did water get up as high as the hard drives or run onto them?

If so, it could have found its way into the casing of the drives and you won't get it back out.  Although they appear to be completely airtight or vacuum-sealed units, there are actually very fine filters that can allow water penetration, and even clean water can leave residue on the platters.  You can't open a drive to dry out the cavity containing the data platters yourself without contaminating them with dust, so you will only really know when you eventually power them up again.  If you have irreplaceable data on the hard drives and no backups, take them to a data recovery company who can disassemble them in a clean room.
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Author Comment

by:hrolsons
ID: 40542167
Status Update:

2 computers are working great.  The third computer keeps wanting to do Windows Recovery but keeps turning off and then back on again.  Also, I have a battery backup that the surge protection side works, but not the battery backup side.

I've taken the 2 bad hard drives home and am going to run Seatools on them and see what I can see.  I'm pretty sure both of these drives got wet.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40542752
good results - post followup
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Author Comment

by:hrolsons
ID: 40547578
I took the hard drive that kept failing startup to another computer and did startup repair.  It then worked just fine on the original computer.  So the only thing lost at this point in time was the battery backup.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40547730
Sweet!    : )
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 40561539
Thank you hrolsons.  I'm glad the event wasn't as catastrophic as it might have been.
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