I have just dropped a half full latté on my company laptop and am not sure what to do.
Is there a way I can make sure that my laptop is usable again?
What steps must I go through to improve it's chances of survival?
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Slightly more serious than my other answer.
The fact that it's a company laptop means that you should call the helpdesk (or whoever) and let them tell you what to do. Ignore the slight embarrassment you might feel, it's their laptop, you need to give them the chance to sort it out.
Chances are they'll be reasonable about the fact that accidents happen but if you do something that makes it worse they're likely to be more upset.
Reminds me slightly of one place I worked where a partner turned up one morning saying his laptop had just "stopped working" and he had no idea why. The helpdesk guys opened it up and dirty water started pouring out. At that point he admitted that carrying it home while drunk he'd fallen in a canal...
Unplug it, take the battery out, turn it upside down and let the coffee drain out back the way it got in.
If you know how you could also take the hard drive out while it's upside down.
Leave it for at least 24 hours, then turn it on and cross your fingers.
If it does come back on the keyboard is either going to be pretty sticky or perhaps some keys won't work at all. A new keyboard is probably your best bet in those circumstances, they're not too expensive.
My other half did this and the result was terminal - we ended up buying another laptop. You should at least take the disk out and make a backup of it before you try to restart the computer. If you can get the computer working, fine. However, prepare for the possibility it won't and make sure you can recover the data.
From the pocket computer world, which has a lot more accidents like this, the key is if it was dropped in clean water, dirty or salt. Salt water is the worst. Clean water most likely to recover. Coffee probably isn't too bad.
The other key is keep the power off while it is drying. And some batteries don't like the water.
Non-laptop keyboards sometimes are sturdy enough to survive a dishwasher if you let them dry out long enough before plugging them back in.
I read this post awhile ago, and fortunately so, since I spilled some coffee on my Aluminium MacBook yesterday.
Fortunately, not all of the coffee spilled, but it spilled mostly over the right side of the keyboard. I turned the MacBook off immediately and removed the battery, and dabbed (not rubbed) the coffee off the keyboard area with the nearest towel I could find. I also got a hairdryer and put it on the lowest setting from a height of about 20cm, constantly moving it around for a few minutes or so.
Then I placed the laptop upside down, open, with the lid hanging over the back of the desk (the back so the whole thing didn't slide off) with a book placed on the bottom (which was now facing upwards) of the MacBook for further support, and a towel underneath between the MacBook and the desk, and left it to dry out for 24 hours.
Turned it on and there is no apparent damage – all the keys on the right hand side still work. I guess it was fortunate that the spillage didn't occur over more of the MacBook, but I think the actions taken above helped the situation.