Laptop: repair/clean vs. separate keyboard

Looking for a “cost analysis” here:

I recently slopped liquid* onto the keyboard of my cheap Toshiba laptop. I drained out as much of the liquid as possible right away, but obviously didn’t get everything - once it dried out I found a number of the keys simply don’t work any more, including both Enter keys. If not for Windows 7’s onscreen keyboard feature, I wouldn’t even be able to log into the machine.

Here’s the question - I’ve never taken a computer to a repair shop for cleaning/repair, so I’m clueless about costs. The only reason I bought this laptop was to give myself the ability to simultaneously log in two accounts in online games - mainly so that I can invite my own characters into my personal “guilds” in MMOs without needing to involve another player. The only things I’ve installed on the laptop, therefore, are games. There’s no “vital” information on there.

So, am I better off, cost-wise, simply buying an external USB keyboard to use with the laptop, as opposed to taking it to a professional to have it cleaned out? I don’t know what a cleaning like that would cost, but I’m imagining $200+, mostly labor charges. Given that this is a $400 computer loaded with non-essential stuff, I rankle at paying half the laptop’s price for repairs.

  • I chew tobacco, and the liquid in question was the contents of my “spittoon”

I would just buy a good used replacement keyboard on eBay.
Forget about “cleaning” it- once the keyboard is water damaged, it’s unlikely to be fixable.

P.S.- that’s disgusting…

Laptop keyboards are usually very easy to remove and replace.

By “replacement keyboard”, do you mean an actual keyboard for my specific laptop (i.e. remove the current keyboard and install a replacement), or just an external, plug-in keyboard? Because for the latter, I can just walk around the corner to Radio Shack and buy a reasonably-priced USB keyboard, without needing to deal with eBay.

Indeed. This is exactly why, for years, my spittoon of choice was a Gatorade bottle - wide-bottom + narrow neck = very small risk of spillage. But those bottles were also impossible to clean, and I got tired of needing to pitch them and buy more Gatorade every couple weeks, so I switched to a little plastic bucket. Now I’m regretting that decision.

Yes, I’d say remove the one one and install a replacement. Ebay or a web store.

Cool, I’ll look into that. Of course, then I’ll need to hunt for instructions on how to do it. (This is my first laptop.)

Usually the keyboard is one of the easiest things to replace – you remove a screw or three from the bottom, lift up the keyboard part way, and unplug the keyboard connector.

That’s the trick - figuring out which screws. I count 15 “through the body” screws on the bottom of my laptop (plus 2 more screws securing little doors).

I Googled “keyboard replacement gateway m350wvn” and found instructions.
Often the screws are under the strip above the key board that covers “caps lock”, “num lock”, etc. LEDs.

… on the other hand, a cheap USB keyboard is, what, ten-fifteen bucks?

If you were writing novels, you might want to get a nicer keyboard, but even the cheapest one at Radio Shack isn’t going to be any worse than a laptop’s built in keyboard.

Then you no longer have a laptop. :slight_smile:

Not really an issue for me — I don’t use it for portability, I basically wanted a second computer on my desktop without taking up the space a second desktop computer would require. And the only typing I really need to be able to do is typing in passwords and such (the Windows onscreen keyboard doesn’t seem to want to appear on my game login screens).

However, I found the keyboard removal instructions for my laptop here:

It’s a snap. :slight_smile: