Protect Your Hardware - Use A UPS

Summer is coming, in the US anyway, and in some states, it's here. With summer comes the thunderstorms, and the lightning. In some states, summer also brings possibilities of blackouts, as the power companies struggle to keep up with demand during hot spells and air conditioners running constantly.

Those without Uninterruptible Power Sources (or some folks anyway) run around the house, unplugging everything, when storm clouds show up in the sky. People who have experienced lightning know to fear it, when they know that they're not protected.

Those of us with UPSes fear neither power outages nor thunderstorms. We do get irritated when power is out for more than a couple minutes (even with the computer running on battery, if the broadband service is out, you might as well call it a day), but a brief power outage, or a thunderstorm, only means the UPS gets to do its job. And a decent UPS does a very good job.

I was online a couple year ago when my neighborhood was treated to an intense display of lightning. Actual bolts of lightning, not just flashes of light, raced across the skies for several hours. I was downloading files most of the time, and thanks to my UPSes, I noticed not even a hiccup in the downloads. The UPSes kicked in briefly, quite a few times, but the computers, and the network, were unaffected.

I have a pair of passive UPSes, each costing about $100 each. They keep my main system up for about 10 minutes, and my secondary systems 5 minutes each, which is just enough time to close key programs, and enable hibernation. If I'm not home, my main system will hibernate automatically, while my secondary systems shut down. This is not a terribly sophisticated strategy, but it prevents data corruption, and preserves my drives from corruption too.

If the power flickers off then on, or if power spikes briefly (as in lightning strikes), in general, my systems don't notice a thing.

If I buy a decent desktop system for $1000 (OK, you could get a cheap one at Walmart for $500, but I wouldn't), I don't consider $100 for a UPS unreasonable. Considering the peace of mind I get from having one, it's a bargain.

If you can afford a computer, you should be able to afford a UPS. It's seriously cost effective.