Even the best power supply is helpless without a source of reliable, steady AC power. Simply plugging your system into a wall receptacle and hoping for the best is a sure road to disaster, sooner or later. Before we smartened up, we lost many hours' work to power failures, and more than one system to lightning damage. All of that was preventable, if only we'd installed proper power protection. There are two types of power protection.
Passive power protection defends your system against spikes and other power anomalies that might damage the system or cause it to hang, but does nothing to protect against power failures. The most common form of passive power protection is the familiar surge suppressor outlet strip.
Active power protection provides backup power to allow the system to continue running when utility power fails. The most common form of active power protection is a battery-backed backup power supply. Most active power protection devices also provide at least minimal passive protection.
In this section, we'll take a brief look at both types of protection.
The best first step in protecting your computer from surges, spikes, and other garbage on the utility power line is to install some form of passive power protection. There is a bewildering array of passive power protection devices available, from the $5 outlet strips sold by hardware stores to $500 power conditioners sold by specialty ...