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How to Protect Your PC from Springtime Threats

Power Surge

Spring time is upon us.  Sunny days and warmer temperatures invite us to enjoy the great outdoors.  But the spring season also brings with it the threat of storms, power outages, and damaging lightning.

Thus, it is important to consider how you can protect your computers from these destructive events and the associated expensive repair bills or insurance claims.

Power surges, sudden power outages and lightning strikes can cause a variety of computer problems.   These events can weaken or completely damage computer hardware, such as the power supply or motherboard.  When hardware is damaged, many times the computer will either not turn on or load the Windows operating system.

Other times, these events can cause issues with the operating system or other software programs.  If a computer is on when the power suddenly goes out, the computer immediately shuts off and does not shut down in a proper way.  This can cause corruption of important files that run your computer.  The computer may not load into Windows or error messages may appear as a result.

Loss of data files is another potential danger of power surges, power outages and lightning strikes.  You could lose all of that information you just typed into a Word document if your computer suddenly shuts off while you were creating that document.

The best way to protect your computer from these threats is to connect your computer components – the tower, monitor, printer and any other peripherals – to a battery backup UPS.  These UPS devices are designed to shield your computer against three different power problems –something that regular power strips cannot do:

  1. Voltage surges, spikes and sags.  Throughout a normal day, electrical voltages coming into your home or being passed through your electrical outlets may increase or decrease.  These mostly undetectable changes can damage sensitive computer equipment over time.
  2. Total power failure.  A complete loss of power due to a wide scale power outage or a blown breaker can damage your computer, as discussed above.  A UPS device switches over to battery power for up to 15 to 20 minutes, allowing you plenty of time to save your files and power off your computer.  A UPS can also automatically initiate a proper shutdown of your computer if you are not home.
  3. Frequency differences.  Power typically oscillates at 60 Hertz.  A UPS device can detect if the oscillation is higher or lower and can correct the frequency being passed to connected devices.

The UPS also allows you time to properly shut down your computer should you lose regular power.  You will be able to save any documents that you were working on and to close programs you were using.

Many UPS devices also include a protected equipment warranty ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 or more.  While manufacturer policies vary, these warranties generally will reimburse you for repair or replacement of equipment if they are damaged while those components are properly connected to the UPS device.

It is best to consult with a trusted computer professional to determine the appropriate type and size of battery backup UPS will adequately protect your computer system.  For most home users, a 550VA battery backup will suffice.  Our general-use recommended battery backup can be found here:

Buying and implementing a UPS battery backup, though, is not a one-time event.  We recommend replacing the UPS at least every three years.