Erratic computer performance, as well as hard drive failure, can sometimes be caused by poor power quality. Electrical voltage conditions such as unpredictable power surges and spikes can cause immediate or long term damage to your computer. While these conditions may not often be obvious and do not affect most appliances, they can knock out your hard drive and other computer components. Symptoms of voltage spikes include; a flickering video display, unexpected system start-ups, and the system not responding, resulting in system crashes and data loss.

Spikes are short lived, high level “blips” that ride into your computer on the power line or on the telephone line connected to your modem. They have short pulses but are hard to remove, because they happen so fast.

Surges are longer lived, lower level impulses that can last for one second or more. Because surges last longer they contain more energy than spikes and can cause more damage.

Remedies
These situations can cause irregular power stresses to computer power supplies that can cause internal heat and component degradation within your system. Sometimes a remedy can be as simple as using available protective products however it is important to identify the specific type of disturbance to be able to find the appropriate remedy. A data recovery specialist can help you in this case to find and fix the problem.

Lightening
Electrical damage from a nearby lightning strike can result in computer problems by causing components to become marginal and weaker. When lightening strikes phone lines it enters through the modem which travels through to the motherboard, processor, memory and other important components. Damage done to your hard drive may not be very obvious at first; breakdown can happen very slowly sometimes and leave you clueless to what is really going on.

The power supply usually absorbs the strike first and when this happens there will be noticeable damage. However sometimes the electrical charge can pass the power supply without causing immediate damage. As time passes your hard drive will begin to show signs of erratic behaviour and shortly after that it will cease to function at all.

Household Dangers
Besides lightning being a problem, a large percentage of all electrical impulses are actually generated from within the home or business. They come from household appliances that contain electric motors as well as fluorescent lights that are switched on or off. Impulses can seriously damage the sensitive microelectronic chips inside computers and damage data resulting in computer software corruption.

Solutions
A surge suppressor installed between the power outlet and system power cord can be used as a precautionary measure that is designed to protect equipment that is particularly sensitive to moderate surges. If the area that you live in experiences frequent power surges, an arrestor should also be used. Installed at the service panel, an arrestor uses the same technology as a suppressor, but it is designed to handle higher loads and prevent damage in a broader way.

Power surges and spikes can seem like something that is cause for despair but data recovery is always possible as long as the right precautions are taken and you get the help of a trained specialist to recover lost data.

Precautionary Measure
Unplugging your computer and connected accessories from both the power line and telephone line when not in use can be helpful when there is a possibility of thunderstorms.

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