Signs of Damage From Dropping a Computer

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Laptops dropped while powered off have a better shot at survival.
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Dropping a computer is a serious and potentially expensive error. It is also rather common, especially with laptops. To protect their investments, most businesses have a warranty on their equipment, but most standard coverage plans don't offer free repairs for dropped equipment. Before sending a dropped computer in for a potentially expensive diagnostic, take a few minutes to check for signs of damage to ensure that the trip is necessary.


External Damage

The first thing to check after dropping a computer is external damage. Examine the chassis closely for cracks or broken pieces. Take a close look at ports, especially those that had something plugged in when the computer fell. Check to ensure they haven't been damaged or pushed in. If you see no obvious damage, that's a good sign.


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Internal Damage

Start your check for internal damage on a laptop by turning it over to listen for loose parts shaking around inside the chassis. Every part has its place in a healthy computer, and nothing should be moving around. For a desktop, ensure it's unplugged and remove the side panel. Check to make sure everything is attached, all cords are connected firmly and no memory modules or chips have loosened in their sockets.


Laptop Display Cracked

If your dropped computer is a laptop, check the display. If it's been damaged or cracked, you'll notice right away as it will display strange lines or figures instead of your preboot sequence. Even slight damage will result in dead zones with no image. If the display appears intact, allow the computer to boot.


Performance Issues

Once you've booted your computer, run through a few common tasks such as opening an application, saving a document and browsing the Internet. Check to see if performance has declined at all. If the computer feels slow, you may be experiencing issues with the memory or hard drive. If you can't connect to a network, you network interface card may be damaged. If everything is working, however, you should be OK and the computer likely won't need to be serviced.



Your hard drive is one of the most important and fragile parts in your computer. During a fall, especially if the drive was running at the time of impact, it is quite possible that the drive sustained damage. To prevent data loss in case it should fail in the near future, back up all important files immediately to an external device. This should be done even if the computer doesn't show any obvious signs of damage.




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