Every year hurricanes cause billions of dollars in damage, including damage to computers. Unfortunately, if the data on your hard drive is lost more than any other electronic device, it can be much more difficult to replace your computer due to the time it takes to fine-tune and overclock your computer. As a Katrina evacuation and survivor myself, I know how important a computer can be in the aftermath of a natural disaster. With hurricane season approaching in the coming days, I decided to write a guide to help people protect their computers and data during a natural disaster.
Part I: Backing up data and things
Whether it’s hurricane season or not, you should always back up your data. Whether you plan to ride out the storm (a bad idea) or move to another location, you should have a backup of your computer data on an external hard drive or optical media input such as CD-Rs or DVDs. . Be sure to keep your data in a very secure place, such as a waterproof safe. Backup never leaves your computer.
Next, you should have the following things in mind to make life easier after a hurricane:
- The phone number of the insurance company, computer or computer parts company, and the phone numbers of all local ISPs (including dial-up and satellite). Having your insurance phone number and phone number for your computer company will help you get your computer replaced faster if it gets damaged. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to have a phone number and even disk access for all your local ISPs! After Katrina, the Internet was the only way many people could connect with the outside world. As luck would have it, my broadband was off for 3 weeks and none of the other broadband ISPs would accept new orders because of the storm, leaving me with my old friend dial-up, which I thought I had Was buried 8 years ago. Your best bet is to use a satellite ISP as they do not have any equipment that could be destroyed by a storm and cause an outage.
- Back up all your files, all application and game discs, CD keys, drivers, and operating system discs at hand.
- Pictures of your computer as well as proof of what parts are inside.
If your Quad SLI rig gets destroyed, you don’t want your insurance company to replace it with something of significantly less value, right? It’s all too easy for people to claim “I had this, this, and this and it all cost me $3000 last month.” After his 3-year-old Athlon XP rig was destroyed. As a result, your insurance company may be hesitant to replace your expensive computer parts unless you can prove that you own them. Also learn the extent to which your insurance (including flood insurance) will replace damaged property. While some policies will cover the replacement cost of the damaged property, some may only cover part of the damage cost. Also, know what your deductible is.
- Blog or Social Networking Profile
Social networking websites like MySpace were great after Katrina. Friends could only read each other’s MySpace to find out where other friends had gone blank.
- Generator and Gas
Generators can power many things, including home computers! Check with your local generator supplier to learn about local laws regarding generators, how to install them safely and properly, and how well they work on your computer. Battery backup UPS and surge protectors are essential as the generator supplies unstable power. Don’t rely on gas to provide a generator after a storm. It is advisable to have a sufficient amount of gas and a few empty gas containers on hand.
Part II: Freeing Up With Your PC
Like any other member of your family or a pet, your PC is nothing to leave behind if you can avoid it. While your first priority should be to get out alive, you should consider bringing your PC with you if you can make it to your car. You can’t count on your destination to have good computers, high-speed internet, or any recreational activity for that matter. Living in another place during a storm is stressful. Between watching CNN and The Weather Channel engulfing your hometown, the people around you as well as you, will be tense and worried. Having a good computer to browse the web and play Battlefield 2 is definite entertainment. In fact, the Internet was the only place I could find information about my neighborhood after the storm! The message boards of the local newspapers were filled with people drawn from all over my area and they had a lot of information about the pitfalls of sharing.
Even if you can’t bring your own PC, at least bring your hard drive with you! If your home has been robbed after a storm, the last thing you want is your personal data in someone else’s hands. Make sure your hard drive is in an anti-static bag to protect it from unnecessary damage.
Part III: Leaving Your PC at Home
If you don’t have room for your PC in your car, don’t plan on living with it during a storm. There are several security measures you can take to prevent unnecessary damage to your computer:
- Cover any exposed parts of your computer case (such as fans and vents) with tape. Don’t use duct tape unless you want to risk removing paint or sticky mess from your case.
- Cover your computer with as many dustbins as you need. At least 2 garbage bags per computer is recommended.
- Think how high your home is above sea level, the risk of flooding, and other factors. If you know your home may be flooded, you should put your computer on the second floor. But if you know your ceiling is weak and can easily fly off, don’t put it on the second floor! Find a closed space without windows (such as a closet) as close as possible to the center of the house. If your computer case has a side window, make sure it is facing the ground or against a wall. If you can, place other objects around your computer to provide extra protection from rain and flying debris.
Part IV: When the Worst Happens
If your PC gets damaged during a storm, don’t fret. If the damage is caused by a fallen tree or a piece of flying debris, there is nothing you can do. If your computer fills up, however, there are steps you can take to recover it. Below of a basic guide on how to recover a flooded computer..
- Do not turn on the computer! Make sure it’s unplugged! While you may be curious to see if your computer can run, don’t do it if you know it’s been in contact with water. If you do this you will do more damage. Remember to keep your computer unplugged.
- Remove the working components. If you can see the water line on your computer, remove all components above it and put it in a safe place.
- Let your computer dry. Let your computer dry for a week or two. A drop of water in a running computer can mean disaster.
- Remove CMOS battery etc.
- Use a solution of 90% alcohol or higher to wash the various components of your computer, including the connectors. If necessary, use a paintbrush to remove the Stubborn crud.
Let your computer dry completely.
If the above doesn’t work or you have data you can’t afford to lose on your hard drive, consider professional computer recovery. Do not plan to insulate the power supply, CMOS battery, hard drive, optical drive, or any fan if it floods. Also, remember to take pictures of any damage to your computer before attempting to fix it for insurance purposes.
Hopefully, this guide will help people protect their computers from storm-related damage. Computers are a very useful tool and should be part of a good disaster supply kit. Trust me when I say this is an important thing. Remember, however, that a computer is only a physical asset. Like all material goods, they can be changed. Human and animal life, however, cannot. Use good judgment when deciding whether to take your computer with you and repair it if it is damaged.
The author is not responsible in any way for any action you take to save your computer from a storm or to fix it after a flood. Any action you choose to take in relation to Storm and Computer is at your own risk. Best of all, please use common sense during any natural calamity.
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