Oh lord, the scary question mark in the box

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MichiganMac, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. MichiganMac macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    Hi. I'm new here and am hoping that people who are much smarter than me can help me out.

    I've had my MacBook for just over a year. Today a water bottle busted in my bag and soaked the laptop. It was in sleep mode at the time.

    I took the battery out and let it dry for awhile. A most trusted co-worker kept telling me that it was probably fine and when we put the battery back in and turned it back on all we saw was a question mark in a grey box.

    While the question mark raises a number of existential issues in my mind, more pressing is what the hell do I do now? Common sense says that I probably shouldn't have turned the thing on. (Ah, hindsight!)

    I have since re-removed the battery and have everything just sitting out to dry. Have I irreparably damaged this thing? Should I take it to the Apple Store? Should I wait a couple days?

    I'm in grad school and this computer is like a limb. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (Also, please keep in mind that I'm not the least bit technologically savvy. Pretend you're talking to a very slow child who doesn't understand English.)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003

    The bad news: It is probably toast.

    The good news: There is a chance that the bad news is wrong.

    Let it dry out overnight at least. Put a fan on it if you can. You need to make sure it is as dry as possible. Then, let it sit for another day. Once you're positive it's dry, you can try booting it off of an external DVD drive, using your restore discs (the DVDs that came with it).

    If you're near an Apple store, you can also ask them to test it.

    Sorry to not be more positive--but I will think good thoughts for you!

  3. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Let it dry for at least 24 hours, 48 is better. If you turn it on after that and still get the question mark, then you're probably in bad shape. I suggest you wait a couple of days and then post a new macrumors question again from there.
  4. skybolt macrumors 6502a

    Feb 20, 2005
    Nashville, TN, USA
    No experience here, but I have read that turning it upside down will help the drying, allowing the water to get out via the keyboard. Can't hurt to try!
  5. MichiganMac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2007
    Thank you for all the replies and suggestions. I'm letting it dry out right now. My hope is that once all the water evaporates it will work again. (I've decided to be blindly optimistic. Anything else will send me into a tailspin.)

    I will let you know what happens either way.

    Thanks again. :apple:
  6. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    You could always take out the HDD to check if its damaged.
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    The question mark only means that the Mac can't find a bootable drive. Try inserting the restore DVD. If it boots from that, run Disk Utility and check for damage to your hard drive.
  8. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
    I wish they were made like the old motorola pages I washed them so many times and let them dry, and they always worked....good luck :)

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