If you plug your desktop computer into a surge protector (also known as an uninterruptible power supply or UPS) instead of an unreasonably heavy box on the floor, here’s some good news: you’ll be protected from hours of frustration when the power goes out in the near future. If that box has suddenly started beeping and you’re wondering why, you’re in the right place – see the “Why is it beeping” section below to learn why that’s happening and what you should do about it.

What is a UPS, and what does it do?

An uninterruptible power supply, provides power to your computer for a short time if it loses power for any reason.  For laptops, this is less important, as they have their own internal battery.  But for desktops, this is the difference between losing changes to every unsaved file you have open when the power fails, and having a precious few minutes to save all of that work and shut down your computer properly. Ensure that you plug your computer into a socket that has battery power – many UPS devices have sockets that do not have battery power!

A UPS also protects you from computer damage.  All plugs on a UPS function as a surge protector, preventing sudden bursts of power from damaging or destroying your computer hardware.  In addition, it protects against brownouts, or short “blips” in power.  Brownouts no longer inflict the immense damage on computers they once did – both computer hardware and power supplies are now built to be more resilient than before. Brownouts can still cause hardware damage in some cases, however, including the loss of data on hard drives.

While your UPS is a great tool, it can’t perform miracles!  It can keep your computer operational during a power outage, but it can’t provide your computer with internet access unless all of the routers and servers between you and the web are also receiving power. Manufacturers design most UPSs to sustain computer operation briefly, not for extended use.

Why is the uninterruptible power supply box beeping?

If you’ve lost power, it’s beeping to let you know that the battery is in use, and that you should save your work and shut down your computer.  A constant beep (every second or two, and never stopping) generally means the UPS is very low on battery power, and you should shut down immediately.

If there hasn’t been a power loss and it’s still emitting periodic beeps, your UPS is informing you that it has not passed a self-test. If you’ve plugged any power-hungry devices into it recently, unplug those first and see if the beeping stops.  Otherwise, the battery may be in need of replacement – the UPS is letting you know that, if the power fails, the device won’t have enough power to keep your computer operational.

If you want to keep your data safe in the event of a power outage, don’t ignore it or unplug it!  Give your IT team a call or send them an email and let them know they need to come take a look at your UPS.  Like anything with a battery, they do need replacement periodically.

To learn more about how WingSwept can help your business protect its data and increase your return on your technology investment, call us at 919.779.0954 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.