Lessons from Irene
by Avi Smith-Rappaport
Tropical Storm Irene wreaked havoc on a lot of people’s computer systems as
it blew through the Northeast. While we have encountered some catastrophic
flood and wind damage to homes and businesses where the computer systems
were part of a total write-off – that’s been thankfully rare.
The Two Most Common Problems we’ve encountered were both related to sudden
loss of power. Some systems were completely fried by power surges. Others
simply had all of the information on their computer wiped out.
In 90% of the cases with significant computer damage – it could have easily
been prevented. Here are the two most valuable lessons we’ve learned from
Lesson # 1: If You Don’t Have Power Protection, You Will Take a Hit
$ 10 Power Strips are extension cords, not power protection! To adequately
protect your computer and the files it contains, you need to have a UPS
(Uninterruptable Power Supply). For less than $100, this unit provides you
with real protection against power surges, electrical storms, and power
A sudden change to the power coming to your computer MAY fry it – pure and
simple. During Irene, many computers without a UPS were significantly
damaged by transformers “popping” and power outages. Don’t be without a UPS
during the next strong weather event!
Lesson # 2: If You Don’t Back Up Your Hard Drive, You Don’t Care If You Lose
“My computer turns on, but I can’t see anything on it… “Unfortunately, WCC
has had a lot of these phone calls lately after Irene. In most cases,
sudden and dramatic changes in power caused the hard drive to seize up
(very, very bad for your computer). All of these folks also did not have
adequate power protection.
Sometimes the info (your financial records, health records, and family
photos) may be recovered. Many times the hard drive is so damaged you
simply lose everything. How much are the files on your computer worth to
you? Don’t lose your files to the next storm.