backupWith spring upon us in the United States, it’s time for thunderstorms and black outs. Computers aren’t built to just shut down, and they certainly aren’t built to take the power surges that come along with them, so what can you do to protect them?

The absolute best thing you can do is unplug any computer during a thunderstorm, but if you must leave them running, then you may want to look into some form of electrical back-up unit.  These units will give you a limited amount of power running off of rechargeable batteries so that you have time to save whatever you are working on, and can shut down your computer you in the proper manner.

These units vary wildly in the amount of time they offer, how many of the plug-ins actually are connected to the battery, and how many of them are protected by surge protection.  This is one purchase you should definitely do your research and read up on what exactly each unit will do for you, and not just be lured in by price.  Also keep in mind that these batteries are very specialized and will need to be replaced about every three years to keep them fresh.  And one last caveat about these in that they can be very, very heavy.  The longer amount of time they will give you power for, the more they will weigh.

Once you have decided on a unit, you will need to figure out what is going to be plugged into the battery sustained outlets.  If a desktop, remember that besides your computer tower, you will also need to plug in your monitor so you can see what you are doing while you shut down.  If you are doing a lot of online work, while they will usually auto-save your work for you, you will need more outlets that run off battery to keep your modem, router and possibly a switch up and running.  For each of those items you are plugged into, you will need them running off battery to stay online.  My recommendation is always just worry about properly shutting down the computer, and ignore anything online.

Again, the best policy is always to unplug during a storm, but for those non-storm blackouts that happen, you can’t go wrong with having a back-up power source running.

Categories: General Computing Tips   

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