Storm Protection For PC

This has been a week of rain, rain, and more rain plus a few power outages that make being online a rather risky proposition.

Ever since my router blew out a couple of years ago in a storm, I've made it a habit to turn everything off and unplug from power during these storms. Routers like the one I have a a tad expensive, and I don't want to blow up another one. So I haven't spent a lot of time online as you can tell by the absence of daily blog posts.

Today brings another day of stormy weather (feel free to hum along at this point) so I thought I'd post about how to protect your PC and your data from damage caused by sudden power disruption.

Most Dangerous Time

The most dangerous time for the power to go out for your computer is when it's booting up or shutting down. If the power is cut during those two events, it can not only fry your computer but also the processing system and possibly other software linked to startup.

If you're working on a laptop, you have a battery – and hopefully, it's charged, so you have time to finish the startup or closing, and then go through the proper procedure to shut everything down.

If your on a desktop, you should have the same time if you've been smart and bought what is commonly called a Battery Backup.

Uninterruptible Power Supply

A battery backup is more properly called an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS for short). Everyone who depends on a computer needs one of these. I've used UPS's for years, but I never plugged the router into it – until the storm killed the router that time.

Depending on the kind of UPS you have, you'll have X amount of time to finish the exit process or the boot process then go through the shut down procedure or to save data and close open apps then shut the PC down. Every crucial expensive piece of equipment should be plugged into a UPS which is then plugged into a wall.

Buy The Right UPS

The longer the battery operational life; the more expensive the UPS. So judge the individual options with that thought in mind. Also, you need one with enough open outlets to plug in, at minimum, your PC, monitor, router, sound, and maybe your printer.

Some UPS units have opposing rows of outlets with one side for battery backup and surge protection and the other for surge protection only. I've been using the APC brand for years and have never had a problem with any of them. The one I've got resembles the illustration above which is a APC BE550G Back-UPS ES 8 Outlet 550VA 120V. This one is less at $55.00 than the one I bought a couple of years ago.

Proper Usage

The UPS is used to protect your equipment during booting and closing and to allow you to save data, properly close programs, and properly turn the equipment off during a sudden power outage. It is not to power the computer for a long time – unless you pay a huge amount for one.

Once you've got the UPS installed and everything plugged into it, make it a habit to always turn off your PC if you are leaving for more than a few hours. That way if the power goes out, you aren't draining the UPS to keep what's plugged into it powered.

If I'm to be gone overnight, I turn everything off including the UPS then I unplug from the wall outlet. If left on, I suppose the UPS could conceivably drain itself just by giving the warning beep that alerts you to the fact that the power has been disrupted. Of course, that would probably take a couple of days, but here in hurricane country, that's always a possibility. (By the way, it's good to have a UPS for an expensive flat panel TV also.)

A UPS is another expense, but your monetary investment in computers and other electronics is probably significant. I checked out the APC page on Amazon. Prices range from $45.00 to about $300.00 and up. Saving a system and data at a cost of less than a hundred dollars isn't bad.

Takeaway Truth

Protect that investment with a good uninterrupted power supply. It might just save you a lot of money and grief later.

No comments:

Post a Comment