Protect Your Computer from Storm Season!

It is the start of storm season on the east coast, and we are looking to kick things off in high gear with Hurricane Florence. With every storm comes grocery trips and news-provided preparation tips, but computer safety is often forgotten. Here is how to best protect your data and computer from Mother Nature.

Most importantly, back up your data. Most people store their data digitally; storing files on paper is now considered inefficient. Many people use the services of a company like http://www.filecenterdms.com to convert paper files into data stored on your computer. You should already have a backup of your data- preferably with regular automatic updates. Microsoft provided OneDrive is a convenient cloud storage provider for a fee, especially for Windows 10. If you need business scale backups check out https://www.hostiserver.com/ they have some useful business solutions. You can also simply update your backups on your local external hard drive. Regardless of how, make sure you do so. There is no sense in losing valuable data when it can be easily avoided. However, if the worst does happen and you find that all your data has been lost from your computer during a storm, don’t panic. If you live locally to the Longmont area and would like all the important data that you have lost recovered, then you may wish to check out Longmont PC repair who will be able to retrieve all the files that you need. There will be highly trained technicians near your area though if you find that this has happened to you and would like your problem resolved.

Once your data is safely backed up, guard yourself from power failures. Power failures are one of the easiest ways a storm can destroy your computer. Whether it be fallen power lines, lightning strikes, or simply plugging in an old generator. Your computer relies on an uninterrupted stream of electricity (120V +- 6% in the US). A power failure can increase/decrease the voltage far above/below this cap for a short time. Unfortunately, a short time can be all that is needed for this voltage to fry the delicate circuits in your computer.

There are three main types of power failures: Spikes, Surges and sags. A power spike is a near instantaneous large increase in voltage to your system. The spike is the most damaging form of power failure, as high voltage can quickly short circuit a motherboard. The power surge occurs when high-powered electric motors on your circuit are turned off. This floods the circuit with extra juice that leaks into sensitive electronics. A power sag (also known as a “brownout”) when the circuit is underpowered, such as when high powered appliances are just turned on. Underpower can cause just as much damage as overpower, especially over long amounts of time.

To prevent these types of power failure, one can use devices like surge protectors and UPSs (Uninterruptible power supply) to regulate the flow of power on your circuit. A surge protector essentially filters out any voltage ABOVE what is standard. This is useful for preventing spikes and surges. One important thing to remember about surge protectors is that they CAN go bad. A surge protector is designed to take a certain number of joules of energy before it goes bad. Unfortunately, the remaining count of this number on an old surge protector is difficult to monitor. Try to replace a surge protector every few years.

To help with power sags and sudden power drops, one can use a UPS to essentially serve as a battery backup for your computer. This device provides consistent and clean power during periods of low voltage. In the event of power outages, please note that a UPS only serves to give you time to safely save and shut down your computer. They are not meant to provide full uptime to your computer.

If you do not have a surge protector, it is recommended that you at least unplug your computers during a lightning storm to avoid power spikes and surges. If you use a generator, make sure to only operate computers equipped with a UPS. PJ-Networks does not recommend running a computer straight off of generator power.

These are just a few last-minute tips to ensure your digital health in this upcoming storm season. If you would like to read more about Surge protectors and power surges, check out this site: https://www.cnet.com/news/9-things-you-should-know-about-surge-protectors/ .

As always, stay safe out there.

Jake M.

On behalf of the team at PJ-Networks

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