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View Full Version : Accidental power outages/cuts to computer harmful?


RockNRoll
10-10-2003, 12:32 PM
Hi there,

Just a general question...are accidental power outages or power cuts to the computer without proper shut down procedure harmful to the system or tolerable as long as they occur in rare occasions? Thanks!

mervTormel
10-10-2003, 12:38 PM
potentially very harmful at anytime.

wayneyoung
10-10-2003, 01:32 PM
It could be harmful, a good UPS is a plus. We had a thunderstorm roll through a few weeks ago, and I didn't get the computers turned off in time. My iMac and Powerbook are both on the UPS, so they were OK, but my external FW drive wasn't. Fortunately all that happend was one of the FW ports on the external enclosure is now fried.

hayne
10-10-2003, 02:44 PM
Originally posted by wayneyoung
It could be harmful, a good UPS is a plus. We had a thunderstorm roll through a few weeks ago, and I didn't get the computers turned off in time.

Just to make sure nobody gets the wrong idea, while a UPS is always a plus, it isn't usually needed.

The original question was about possible damage due to infrequent power outages. The most likely damage caused by sudden loss of power is damage to the filesystem, not physical damage to the computer. Such damage to the filesystem is usually, but not always, repairable via 'fsck' or other disk utilities.

Damage due to a thunderstorm is often due to the other end of the extreme - sudden increases in the voltage supplied to your computer. A UPS will protect you from these, but so will (to a lesser extent) a relatively cheap surge protector built into the power strip.

I would say that, at least for urban dwellers, a UPS is usually overkill. Rural conditions are often much more primitive and may well make a UPS worth while.

wayneyoung
10-10-2003, 02:56 PM
I agree, Hayne, a UPS is not usually needed. However, I am in the Air Force, and have lived on military installations for many years. The power grid on most installations is only slightly better than in rural locations. One should evaluate his power grid to determine necessity.

rusto
10-10-2003, 04:06 PM
For those interested in a comprehensive discussion of power issues and computers, there's this reader report (http://www.macintouch.com/lightning.html) over at Macintouch. Everything from UPS to surge-suppressors to lightning to grounding are covered.