Uninterupted Power Supply
We have a small home business that we run out of our house. Our two computers are plugged into a power bar so I know we are protected from a power surge but I am wondering how I can protect my computer in the case of a power outage?
Although extremely important for businesses it could also be useful for personal computers as well. You need to get what is called a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). This product is basically a battery that you can plug into your computer so that when your power is disconnected you can still work on your computer for an allotted period of time. One thing to note is that UPS's batteries are not made so that you can keep using your computer when the power is off. It's designed to give you time to save your data and shutdown your computer.
If you think that oh well, if the power goes off I'll just wait till the power returns on and turn on my computer you might be in for a surprise. If power is removed from your computer it has no time to prepare for the event. That means that you will not only lose any work that is unsaved but it may also damage your operating system and your computer may not start up again.
UPS systems are an even better idea for people who leave their computers on all the time. Some UPS systems will come with software that detects when the power is off and will automatically shutdown your computer so that your operating system doesn't experience a hard crash. Just note that not all UPS systems have this feature so make sure you check out the specifications before you make the purchase.
When shopping for a UPS it is important to know that the UPS's come in all kinds of shapes and sizes so how do you know which one is right for you? Most manufactures of UPS's will have a website with a little wizard that will allow you to select what kind of computer you have and choose the right solution for you otherwise contact a professional for proper diagnosis. However, typically for a computer and monitor a UPS should run you about $70.00+ depending on your needs. Check out this address for a recommended company called "APC" that allows you to select your computer and any other devices you have and it will select the right solution for you (http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/index.cfm ).
Now that you have the right UPS, here are some tips on what to do and what not to do when connecting these devices to your computer.
- Make sure you connect only items that you absolutely need power to. This should be your monitor and computer. Devices like laser printers and scanners will eat up your battery time thus resulting in insufficient time to shut down properly. Review your bare minimums if the power goes off and remember the UPS is just there so you can save your work and shutdown.
- Always connect the monitoring cord to your computer and install the software. If your UPS is smart enough to signal your computer to shut down when the power is off, make sure you connect it properly and install the software that came with your UPS. This important for when the power does go off when you are not around that your computer will shut down properly. Most UPS system will connect to your computer via USB ports, but double check the specifications before you buy to make sure you have the proper port on your computer that supports the type of UPS you have in mind.
- Remember batteries don't last forever. Make sure to check your manual on when you should replace the batter in the UPS. They don't last forever and you want to make sure that when the power goes off your battery is in good condition. Also make sure when you replace your batter to recycle! Most UPS manufactures will have a trade in program so they will give you money towards your new battery when you trade in your old one. Batteries should NEVER be disposed of in the garbage.