How to Ruin Your Laptop in Three Easy Ways

As a working expat, my laptop is my livelihood.

Nothing strikes fear into the heart of an expat like a broken laptop. I’d just as soon get in a motorcycle accident rather than lose my laptop, even in an act of God!

I make sure my laptop isn’t running too hot.

I don’t download any strange programs (or lesbian porn).

I’m always careful to not drop it.

And somehow, I’ve always found a way to ruin my laptop.

So I’ll share three easy ways to ruin your laptop. Might as well!

That way, if you ruin yours, I’ll feel better about myself because then I would know I’m not the only one.

And your benefit is knowing your laptop is already ruined, you don’t have to worry about ruining it again. Think of the weight being lifted off your shoulders and the hours of sleep you’d regain!

1. Drop a pair of scissors on your laptop

I wasn’t even yet an expat when I committed this cardinal sin. I was packing my things when I had my laptop on the coffee table.

I was cutting some packing tape when I dropped the scissors. I just happened to be standing right over the coffee table with my laptop on it.

The scissors did a single somersault on its way down… and, being not too thrilled for getting dropped, it lashed out on my laptop in vengeance. One of it’s legs hit the screen on the lower left, and dislodged the F2 key.

If you want to give your laptop some bad-boy scars that you can show off to other expats in coworking spaces, here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Put your laptop on a coffee table or on the floor.

Step 2: Get a sharp object. A large steak knife, mail opener or heavy scissors will do.

Step 3: Stand tall over your laptop.

Step 4: Drop the sharp object. Make sure the sharp end faces down.

Step 5: Repeat if necessary.

Finally, embellish a good story about how your laptop acquired that scar. Tell it to as many people as you can. Be proud of your new bragging rights.

2. Pour liquid on the keyboard

An easier, and safer, way to ruin your laptop is to simply pour liquid on it.

Why? It’s simple:

Electronics and liquids don’t play nice together.

This is exactly how my last laptop died. It was just an accident and, while it did not die immediately after the spill, the poor damn thing died a slow and painful death.

One key here and there would get stuck — making words like:

takeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee off your clothessssssssssssssssssss 

(OK I was video-chatting with Asian girls online…)

And the trackpad would make the mouse jump around and act strangely. Sometimes I could not even locate the stupid mouse because it jumped into hiding past the edge or corner of the screen!

Just as I was going to replace it because it became such a pain to use, it stopped restarting and got stuck in an endless rebooting cycle.

I could have taken it to a repair shop to save it, but it being already six years old, that would’ve been like trying to keep a 90 year old terminally ill patient alive just for another three months.

It was time to let it go.

If you want to really ruin your laptop, here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Pour water on your laptop. Aim for the keyboard. Do it with impunity.

That’s it!

Just one little problem. Water is boring. So what should you use instead?

Hint: The higher the sugar content, the better.

Pick something a diabetic wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. Syrupy sodas. Coffee with sickening amounts of sugar from condensed milk. Even melted ice cream will get the job done.

If money is no object and you want to be a real badass, use a bottle of aged malt or a high-ABV craft brew like a Double IPA or a Russian Imperial Stout.

Now, if you don’t want your sticky laptop smelling like coffee or to attract ants and flies, you could wash it with water and scented detergent.

At least your now useless laptop will be spotlessly clean with a fresh scent!

3. Bring your laptop to the beach and start working

If dropping sharp objects or pouring sugary liquids doesn’t appeal to you, you could just take your laptop to the beach.

Here are the steps:

Step 1: Suit up. Don’t forget your tie.

Step 2: Bring your laptop to the beach.

Step 3: Have a photographer snap some shots of you while you work.

Step 4: Smile! The more douchey your smile is, the better.

Now, this is the most important part:

Step 5: Wait for nature to take care of your laptop.

The key is to let it happen organically… or by “accident”.

This way, you have plausible deniability.

“It just happened!”

For example, you could be so absorbed with your work that you don’t notice the rising tide. Or if you took a bathroom break and a big wave claimed your laptop:

Or you might not notice a storm approaching, and when you finally look up, it’s too late. It’s already raining:

Or… sometimes it gets windy at the beach.

Indeed, on one of my trips to Vung Tau in Vietnam, it got so windy I had to lean 45 degrees against the wind just to stay upright cruising on my motorbike along the beach road.

If I were working with my laptop on the beach that day, my laptop would have gotten blown right off my lap. If my cat-like reflexes were fast enough to catch my laptop in that wind, this man here would have been me:

As if that wouldn’t be enough, sand would be flying everywhere and get into every nook and cranny of your laptop:

Hey, at least you’d have a good story to tell…

Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk. If you hurt yourself or break your laptop, don’t sue me. I will not be held responsible for any foolish acts you may partake in as a result of reading this (obviously satirical) article.

6 comments On How to Ruin Your Laptop in Three Easy Ways

  • I hope I look douchey enough on my beach photos 😉

  • Hey Bill, I know how important a laptop can be while traveling. Been away from my home country for 9 months, and my laptop helps me book flights, move cash, etc etc.

    Had a scare where my laptop would not boot up. I was able to get everything running again, but now I have backup measures.
    1) Get an external hard drive. Do weekly backups by imaging your hard drive. Easiest way in windows is to go into file history, and click system image backup. External hard drives are only a few ounces and small, so no excuses not to have one even while traveling. An SSD with a sata to USB cable is even lighter, but make sure it has enough drive space.
    2) Download linux OS and install it on a USB flash drive. They have a built in recovery tool that can recover files on a dead drive if they’re not written over. Free.
    3) (Optional) Have a USB drive which you can keep all your most important files and folders on. Not as seemless as a backup image of your drive, but very quick and easy. Most things like scans of your passport, resume, microsoft word or programming files, etc don’t take up too much space. The more backups you have, the better. This option takes up very little space and weight.

    • Very good tips! Thanks for sharing. I already have an external drive I back up to, and a USB drive where I keep my most important documents. But it would be great to have a bootable USB drive in case all else fails.

  • Buy $50 Thinkpad – 10 year old is fine.
    Install Linux (Point Linux) lightweight OS.
    Add 2GB of ram for 4GB delight.
    Have computer run as well as $500 new one.

    Yeah, it’s true, both Win and Mac computers are awful value for money when you consider what they are able to do as workmachines. In our business, what do we need but writing, coding, light graphics and internet? Not much else. Why should you realistically pay $500 for something able to do that? I looked at some of the cheap Windows machines at like $300 and they lagged at more than 5 open windows in Firefox. I run a 10 year old Thinkpad in Linux, that would never run even Win 7, and it works perfectly.

    I’d really tell people to look into Linux.

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