Laptop went completely dead after touching end of USB charger/data cable to other USB port

Hello Experts, I am freaking here. I had a USB charging/data transfer cable plugged in to one of my laptop's USB ports, with the other end not plugged into anything. I accidentally touched the free end of that cable to another USB port on the laptop and my whole laptop immediately died - no power LED lights , no anything! Please say that my hard drive contents are not toast - I have my life on that laptop. I read a few online articles that it was just a "short protection" mechanism and that sometimes you just need to remove the battery and unplug the adapter for a few minutes and it might reset itself. God I hope so. Calling all experts to help please!!!


P.S: My laptop is a fairly old IBM T43 Thinkpad. Tough as heck (... was, anyway).
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dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
>>  Please say that my hard drive contents are not toast - I have my life on that laptop.

You can probably remove the hard disk and attach it to another computer and copy the contents across.  I suspect that the hard drive should still be OK.  You may need an adapter so you can connect your hard disk to the other computer.  And you'll have to log in as administrator on that computer to access the attached hard disk.

Now as for removing the battery and unplugging the adapter I can't comment whether that method will work, I'll let other experts comment on that.  But the comments in the first paragraph above should still apply if the laptop doesn't come back.

And you will arrange for a backup of your hard disk contents so this won't happen again.

Not sure about the 'shorting protection' mechanism, but your hard drive contents should not be affected at all.
The suggestions that you have read, I would certainly try those things.
shawn857Author Commented:
Thanks guys. I do have one of those IDE/SATA?USB adapter kits to read hard drives... just got one last week actually. First, I'll try to remove the battery though, as I've seen in a few sites while googling around. Only thing is, I can't figure out how to get the battery out. I went to this page for my IBM Thinkpad model T43:

There, it says there are 2 battery latches. My laptop only has one - the one to the left of the battery, and it won't budge when I try to slide it. On the back of my laptop, it says "Type 1871". I suspect this specific must be a little different than the typical T43.

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If your life hangs on your data I'm sure you have several backups. As you know every disk dies. 100%. So backups are the most important tasks that need to be done in anything that has to do with IT.

But short-circuiting your system won't have killed the disk, it probably just destroyed something on your PC's mainboard. If the PC was running when it happened, then it is possible that the file-system on your disk got corrupted. But the Disk itself should still be OK.
shawn857Author Commented:
OK, I removed the battery okay guys. Now I can't find that specific site where it described how to do a "hard reset". I see some sites where it says hold the power button down for 30 seconds and then re-insert the battery... and then another site where it says hold the power button down for 4 minutes, then wait 20 minutes and then re-install the battery. Can anyone offer advice there please?


P.S: I do have a backup of my files, but I hadn't did one in about a week and I would hate to lose that week's work.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?  Illegitimi non carborundum.Commented:
It also says:

Note: Some models have only one battery latch, which is to the left of the battery.

Have a read of this thread  and  May or may not apply to you but there are suggestions.
Data going back one week is usually still fresh in a person's memory, so that shouldn't matter too much as that can usually be reconstructed again.

If it was me, I would:

1) Remove battery
2) Disconnect power adapter
3) Press power button for around 30 seconds or so.
4) Either put battery back in and plug adapter in, or just plug adapter in, and see if machine will power up.

As the laptop died on you, for the time being, I'd just plug the adapter in and try it.  if it still won't power on, then that's probably a sign of more serious problems.  Also, I might temporarily remove the hard disk from the laptop for the time being, to avoid further potential corruption, as has been suggested above.

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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Looks like your motherboard is fried. Or its power unit is fried which is the same in case of laptop. And HDD should not be affected in this case. Take it out - slave it to a PC and get an image of it.
Sure you can try replacing the battery, holding the power button for 15 secs etc. If you are lucky - then it will work again.
Imho this is a good chance to invest into new laptop.
shawn857Author Commented:
Guys, I got it back!!! The hard reset thing worked, thank you LORD. I took out the battery, unplugged the adapter, then held down the power button for about a minute. Put the battery back in, plugged the adapter in, and the battery LED came back on! I've never been so happy to see a little green LED. Pressed the power button and it booted up just like nothing had happened... phewwwww!

So now I am doing a BACKUP!!

Thank you all!!!

shawn857Author Commented:
Thank you all!
The HDD will not lost any data except any that you may have been working on and not saved when it crashed.
Remove the HDD and use the IDE/SATA?USB adapter kit to read hard drives data.
You could also find a cheap IBM T43 Thinkpad on ebay ... swap drives and continue to use it.

DO NOT do a "hard reset"
If you do a "hard reset" that will restore it to factory condition loosing all your data.

A mobo reset may or may not undo the damage caused by shorting USB to USB as you descibed.
Remove the battery and the adapter  ... wait 3-4 mins. replace batt. and see if it powers up.
If not also remove the CMOS battery on the mobo (motherboard) ... wait 3-4 mins. replace batt. and see if it powers up.

Good Luck
Was typing when you closed ... too late again ...
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