If lightning strikes

How to Protect Your Computer

In the world of personal computing, the question is not if but when your computer will fail. There are any number of tragedies that can befall your beloved digital friend, but there is also hope. First, if you are already dealing with an actual lightning strike, or other electrical damage, consult your homeowner’s insurance to see if you are covered. In some cases computers are covered for incidental damage due to storms.

Here are three practical steps you can take to protect your computer and, more importantly, its precious digital cargo of files, family photos and media, before the storm strikes.

Surge protector

Since a computer is an electronic device, one common ailment is damage due to spikes or surges in your electric power service. These can occur due to actual lightning, or faulty equipment anywhere within the system. When your electric current rises in voltage unexpectedly, it can have any number of adverse effects on your computer, up to and including an internal meltdown, quite literally. A surge protector plugged in between your computer and the outlet, not only provides additional outlet space, but prevents the spike from making it to your computer’s sensitive components. Surge protectors can be found almost anywhere extension cords are sold. Look for “surge protector” on the package to ensure you are not trusting your computer to a simple power strip, which does not offer the same protections. Follow the instructions on the package, in most cases, simply plug the protector into the wall and plug your computer into the outlet on the protector. If you are unsure, Affinity can install a surge protector for you.

Battery backup

If you have a cable modem, or cable phone service, you probably have a battery backup supply. Similar systems can be used to provide temporary power to your computer. In the event of a power outage, your computer’s normal operations can be interrupted, often leading to data loss. A battery backup will allow your computer to continue functioning long enough to save your work and turn it off normally, minimizing the potential for lost data. Battery backups must be installed correctly, and most recommend professional installation. The technicians from Affinity will be happy to assist you with the installation of your battery backup system.

Data backup

A computer is a computer, and other than the cost involved, replacing the actual device is fairly simple. The data inside your computer is unique, and , in many cases, completely unable to be replaced without a duplicate copy. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to create data backups. The simplest method is to save sensitive data onto an external drive, such as an external hard drive, or USB thumb drive. This works well, if all you have are a small number of essential files, but what if you have hundreds of gigabytes of data (a single gigabyte represents over 300 his resolution photos) that you can’t live without?

One solution, in an office or home with multiple computers, is to network the computers, and create backup copies of all data onto multiple computers. This works well, except in cases where tragedy strikes more than one machine, such as an electric surge, or storm damage to the office or home.

Using an online backup service is the most secure method. Most backup services create an entire image of your computer’s system, so that restoring you to where you left off is as simple as loading that image onto a repaired, or replacement computer.

Affinity can supply any type of data backup you require, from simple solutions for a single computer to business systems to serve dozens of work stations. If you have questions, give us a call.

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