A Cheap Solution to Power Black-outs

Winter is the time of year when we expect to have problems with power supplies. It's at this time of year when you are most likely to lose your work as a result of something beyond your control, a black-out.

You cannot prevent a black-out but you can protect against one. The best protection comes from installing an Uninterruptable Power Supply (or UPS). There are many such units on the market of differing quality and performance, but nearly all of them will be an improvement on not having any such protection. Such a measure should be considered essential if working with a database, especially a multi-user database.

There is however a very cheap solution which will help reduce the effects of a black-out providing you are only using a simple application like a wordprocessor or spreadsheet.

Save your work regularly.

Saving your work every few minutes will clearly reduce the amount of data to be re-entered should the power fail. Unfortunately this requires more discipline than most of us can muster. However many applications have an auto-save function that can be switched on and will then create a temporary back-up every few minutes. For example, Microsoft Word and Excel both support this feature, and will recover the last saved temporary version of a document when restarted after a crash or power outage.

To access these features in Microsoft Word select Tools, Options... from the menus and when the dialogue box appears go to the Save tab and check the auto save option and set the time to the required frequency (10 - 15 minutes is recommended).

In Microsoft Excel a dialogue box will allow you to set up the time between saves and also to enable and disable the feature. You can access the dialogue from the menus by selecting Tools, AutoSave.... If you do not have AutoSave... on your Tools menu then you can add it by selecting Tools, Add-Ins... and checking the box next to AutoSave, you can then set-up the AutoSave features as described above.

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