Preparing your computer for the upcoming storm season

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 3/25/19

As the warmer weather comes, so do the storms. When battening down the hatches, don’t forget about your computer and other electronics! If left unprotected, they could get fried. Maybe even worse than having to get your computer fixed or replaced, you could lose your photos, documents and other data.

Here are some preventative things you can do to help prevent or lessen the blow from storm damage:

Back up your data: Though there are ways to help prevent storm damage, as I discuss next, you should always keep important data backed up just in case. So, if you haven’t already, set up some type of backup.

I suggest a cloud or online backup, so your files are safe from theft, fire and other disasters in your home or office.

If you aren’t comfortable with online backup, at least setup a backup to an external hard drive.

Unplug computer system during storms: Before bad weather comes, it’s a good idea to unplug your computer, printer, and other peripherals.

Not only can lightning strikes fry a computer and its accessories, but power surges and fluctuations can as well. So it’s best to disconnect all your major electronics during rough weather. If you have a phone line or network cable going to your computer, consider disconnecting them, too, since lightning strikes can also travel through the phone and internet lines.

Keep plugged into a surge protector: Just in case you forget to unplug your computer system before a storm, or if you’re not home to do so, ensure your system is plugged into a surge protector. It may be able to stop or lessen the damage from any power surges, which can happen even during calm weather.

Keep in mind, you don’t just want a power strip, but an actual surge protector.

Take a look at what your computer is plugged into and if it’s not clear that it’s a surge protector, I suggest replacing it. If you have a laptop, the charger should also be plugged into a surge protector.

Replace old surge protectors: Surge protectors have a limited life when it comes to their level of protection.

They can wear over time, especially if they’ve had to do their job.I know it’s hard to throw out something that appears to be working, but I suggest replacing surge protectors every couple years. It’s a good idea to do this each time you upgrade or replace your computer.

Utilize a UPS for better protection: If you’re looking for the best surge protection, consider an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). These can have better surge protection, further electrical safeguards, and battery backup in case of power flickering or outages.

You might consider this level of protection if you have a higher-end computer system or use your computer for work and don’t want to unplug it during storms.

Get help when needed: Don’t ignore backups and surge protectors! If you need help, call a computer pro you trust. If your computer ever does get fried, don’t throw out the computer before having a computer pro check it out. Sometimes the damage is well worth fixing, and if it isn’t, your data may be recoverable still.

Get professional spring cleaning: I always suggest a computer tech do a general checkup and cleanup of your computers every year, even if you aren’t having any issues. In addition to checking for a surge protector, they can check many other things to ensure your system is healthy and well protected. Sometimes you may not know there’s an issue until your computer fully stops working. A proactive checkup gives you some peace of mind and may catch a problem before it becomes worse, costing more time, money, and effort.

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