Flicker, Crack, Oh Crap – Zapped!

Computer-crashYou probably know the scenario. The weather is clear, it’s not snowing, there’s no torrential downpour, the winds aren’t even gusty, but the lights flicker for only a moment, you hear a loud cracking sound, and then oh crap, your computer goes zap. You sit there thinking – “What the heck was that?”

Well if you lived in my neighborhood it was the result of construction crews hitting or cutting something they shouldn’t have. You see just a few blocks away from our house construction crews are widening the street and putting in new sidewalks. This is going to be a much-needed improvement to the neighborhood when complete but the other day it was an event that brought many households to a standstill.

Here I was working at my computer as usual, when in mere seconds the lights flickered and went out, I heard a loud crack, and both the computer and monitor shut down. In an instant I’m thinking, geez did I save my work and worse, what if the computer doesn’t come back on.

Fortunately the repair must have been minimal because power was restored in roughly 30 minutes. I walked through the house to reset a couple clocks and then turned the computer back on. Fortunately my document had saved and all seemed to be functioning satisfactorily because I was somewhat prepared for such an event.

See I’ve learned the hard way a few times so I now take measures to back-up my data and backup the battery power to my computer. There’s nothing more frustrating than to lose hours of hard work or worse a computer hard drive or power supply. Since we never know what Mother Nature or someone’s inadvertent actions may strike allow me to share with you my recommendations for keeping your data, documents, and hardware protected.

UPS Battery Backup

You may have a couple power strips connected to your computer devices which will work fine for that minimal power surge but they are no match for serious interference. What you really need is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) battery backup unit which will back up your data for a couple of hours or more depending on the size of your unit.

Here are a couple great things about these backup units –

  • When the power does go out they gently shut down your computer as opposed to a sudden halting which can be stressful if not deadly to a computer and this takes place even if you are not present when the outage occurs.
  • Plus because the battery backup is providing life to your computer it may be possible to continue working briefly to further safeguard your equipment.

This is the UPS unit that I use –

UPS Battery Backup

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APC BE750G UPS Power Saving Battery Back-Up

I like that the unit beeps when there’s a power issue such as a surge or electrical spike before actually shutting everything down because the problem may simply require resetting a circuit breaker.

It also comes with easy to install replacement batteries which make it economical in the long run because I don’t need to replace the entire UPS unit. It also runs automatic self-tests which gives me a sort of reassurance that the unit is working properly.

External Hard Drives

When it comes to making sure my treasured documents and data are backed up I use multiple external hard drives and USB devices. Actually I use the external hard drives for more than just a backup because I have one that is my main storage device and then I have a second external for backup precaution.

I seldom store anything on the internal hard drive due to potential threats from hackers and malware threats. I simply rely on external devices and the cloud which I’ll mention in a bit.

I use two of these external drives –

Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

Seagate Expansion Hard Drive

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Knock on wood but I’ve had both of these units for well over a year now and have had no problems. The 1TB of data suffices for me but the unit is also available with a 2TB capacity. It was truly a plug-and-play installation on my PC and Windows recognized it easily – no software installs needed. Plus I’ve been quite pleased with other USB Seagate equipment.

 

If I were to buy today –

Backup Hard Drives

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Passport Ultra

If I were to look at another unit today I would consider one of the Passport Ultra models by Western Digital as I like their slim design and added security features. Plus their transfer rate is faster than my current Seagate hard drives and I could add additional backup support by using my Drop Box account to transfer to the cloud.

Cloud Storage Back-Up

As I mentioned, I backup some of my files using my Drop Box account but most of my cloud backups take place through Google Drive. Google Drive gives you 15GB of storage space free of charge and then charges nominally for additional space. You simply need a Google account and you transfer your files somewhat manually from your hard drives to Google Drive.

Since this is cloud storage space I can access my data from anywhere that I can get a connection to Google. I have even used Google Drive for sharing and collaborating documents with others. I just have to remember to login with Google Chrome as not all features are accessible through Internet Explorer. Makes sense since naturally google likes Google. : )

Backing up your data and your entire system is simply a no-brainer decision in my view. The frustration and agony of losing hours of hard work or having to deal with the unexpected cost of replacing your computer, monitor, or hard drives is not something I wish to experience too often.

Please heed the warning of my neighborhood construction caused power outage and double check your backup systems and procedures to put your mind at ease. Make sure that you have the appropriate UPS battery back-up, external drives, and cloud support in place. Outages don’t just occur because of winter weather, they may simply be due to human error.

Kindly,
Marilyn T

Comments

  1. Great advice about something I rarely think about. Going to have a consult with the hubby over this article and talk about if we are doing enough to protect our content. We have 3 blogs between the two of us and it would NOT be good if we were to lose our files. Thanks for sharing.

  2. All solid back up tips. I have a UPS at home and it’s a god send! I recommend it to whoever has a computer. You never know when you’ll have a power outage!

  3. Good idea on the UPS. I have used them at work a lot, but never at home. With a freelance writing business, it really makes sense to have.

    Michael

  4. Good information. I didn’t know about Google Drive. I have “stuff” saved in a cloud from a couple of years ago and have no idea how to get it back. I use Google a lot and that would make sense to me to use their tools. I do have Google Chrome, although I rarely use it, but in this case sounds like it would be worth it. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • Hi Edie,
      The best thing to do is to set up a Gmail account even if you don’t use it much. It’s free and is the stepping stone for making all things Google easier.
      Thanks for commenting.

  5. Like you, I have external drives and the partner thinks I’m silly for having multiple backups of the same files.

    I continue saving double copies because you just never know when you lose power or a hard drive goes south and you need the files.

    Great read, Marilyn!

    • Thanks Bonnie!
      Even with all this in place I still forget every once in awhile to make sure my back-ups are current, but I think I’d okay if the “dreaded events” were to happen. You simply can’t have too many back ups.

  6. I tend to work on my laptop these days, can’t remember last time I fired up the desktop. Backing up is essential though – whatever device used!
    I hope your electric is all fixed and stable now 🙂

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