John Bryant
Arizona Computer Consultant
(602) 861-1738

Arch Enemy of Your Computer

(July 1, 1998)

1998 Computer ResolutionsMonsoon season is upon us, and for your computer this is a dangerous time. Your computer needs electricity the way that the human body needs blood. It courses through every single piece of hardware in your computer. Without it, your computer can do nothing. However, just like an individuals blood pressure, sudden drops and surges in electricity can cause severe and harmful damage to your computers “heart” (hard drive), vital organs (internal hardware) or even it’s “brain” (central processor or “chip”). The following precautions will help you keep your computer “healthy”:


The most important precaution against any risk of data loss is a full, up-to-date backup. Tape backup drives are the wisest form of insurance for your computer, and good tape drives are very inexpensive ($150.00 or less). This will protect you against lightning, fire, theft, accidental data loss, virus damage, hardware “crashes”,etc. The two most important things to remember about backups are 1) Backup regularly - full backups weekly and partial backups daily is best and 2) Keep a full backup in another location, such as at home or in a safety deposit box. This way you will not lose your data in a fire or if the computer is stolen.


Most likely, you have a power strip/surge protector on your system. All components plug into this strip. It is a common myth that these small strips will protect your system from serious electrical damage. “Surge protectors” provide only limited protection for your system . You’ve spent several thousand dollars on your computer. Are you going to trust a $10 strip to keep it safe?


One potential threat to your computer which most often goes unnoticed is your modem connection. Surges and power fluctuations can hit your system through your phone line and cause serious damage. Make sure your power strip or battery backup has telephone line protection. During a heavy electrical storm, your safest phone line protection is to disconnect the phone jack from your modem.


A single power outage is not as damaging to your computer as the extreme surges and drops in power that occur during a blackout, brownout, or just your ordinary lightning storm. Your computer is very sensitive to power fluctuations - protect yourself against this. Uninterrrupted Power Supplies (UPS) are available at most any computer store or Office supply store. The “Blackout Buster” is a very good battery backup which also provides surperior protection through your modem/fax/telephone line. The Blackout Buster retails for $129.00 and is available at Comp USA.


Many of our clients are on networks and have made it a habit to keep the computers on all the time. Monsoon season is the exception to the rule. Whenever a storm or brownout is expected, your safest strategy is to turn off all computers and monitors.


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