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How to Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

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How to Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

Do you have a lot of information stored in your computer? If you’re like most people, I’m sure you have a ton of important documents, records and sensitive information saved on your hard drive. If your computer breaks down, a lot of vital information will be lost. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen, and the best way to do that is to talk about one of the major causes of computer malfunction: power surges.

What is a power surge exactly?

According to HowStuffWorks, “Power surges occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the power lines. This causes an increase in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet.”

What causes this?

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PowerHouse explains that there are two kinds of power surges, internal and external.

Internal Power Surges

More than half of household power surges are internal. These happen dozens of times of day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances. Refrigerators and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools can also cause problems.

External Power Surges

An external power surge, stemming from outside your home, is most commonly caused by a tree limb touching a power line, lightning striking utility equipment or a small animal getting into a transformer. Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, and can even come into your home through telephone and cable TV lines.”

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Now that we know what causes this, what do we do to protect our devices from power surges?

How do we protect our devices?

In order to protect our devices, there are surge protectors available in the market today. The inexpensive option is to buy a surge suppressor. This tool is used as an outlet to connect your devices, but unlike a regular outlet, it helps guard the connected devices from power spikes or lightning surges. It helps limit voltage and blocks or shortens unwanted voltage, keeping your computers away from power surges. This typically costs around $20–$50 dollars depending on the brand and the number of outlets.

If you’d like a more heavy-duty power surge protector, you could get yourself an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). This keeps your device running even after the power has gone out so not only does it protect your device from power surges, it also give you ample time to save your work and shut down your computer properly. A typical UPS device can make your computer last for up to 5 minutes, some promising even 10 minutes. Although this is the most expensive option, with units selling for up to $180, it would greatly help in protecting your work and your devices too. It’s a small investment that could save you from potential breakdowns and computer data loss.

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If you simply do not want to have to purchase any of these, then the best way to protect your laptop or computer is to do the basic: unplug it from the socket when it is not in use.

What happens if my laptop is already affected by a Power Surge?

Laptop won’t turn on? Is your computer suddenly slow? Is your PC’s monitor flickering? Chances are, your laptop or computer was affected by a power surge and you didn’t even know it. Joel Lee of MakeUseOf says “Operating systems are complex and they must go through a “shutdown sequence” to make sure all running processes have correctly terminated before powering off. A sudden loss of electricity can interrupt important threads and leave your computer in an inoperable state.” This is the one thing we wouldn’t want to happen to our laptop or computer.

Now that you’re knowledgeable about the pitfalls of power surges and its effects on your electronic devices, get your gadgets protected!

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How about you? Have you ever experienced a power surge affecting one of your gadgets? Let us know your story. If you are like me who does not have time to purchase surge protectors, have your laptop or personal computer insured—not only are you protected from power surges, but in case your laptop or computer breaks for other reasons, your insurance can take care of replacing it.

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How to Protect Your Computer From Power Surges

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

    What Does Private Browsing Do?

    When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

    For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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    The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

    The Terminal Archive

    While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

    Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

    dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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    Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

    Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

    However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

    Clearing Your Tracks

    Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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    dscacheutil -flushcache

    As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

    Other Browsers and Private Browsing

    Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

    If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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    As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

    Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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