Computers and electrical storms

I have had a few people ask recently about what to do with electronic equipment in electrical storms.

There is a common misconception that a surge protector stops damage from lightning , it wont. A surge protector will most likely protect your equipment from a surge if a powerline is hit but if there is a strike near you then the charge will literally jump over the protector , but that would be a direct or V near strike . The other thing people forget is that you also need to have modem . phone line and ethernet also in the protector or that’s just a nice bit of copper that goes directly into your machine and will conduct a surge into your device  . 

The second thing is that static is a real problem and actually more of a risk than a power surge or direct strike in this country . A pc with a mechanical hard disk stands a low chance of data loss but some risk of being damaged , a pad or phone on the other hand can be permanently damaged by a strong static shock .

The only safe option is to unplug any power and move the plug away from the socket ( electricity can jump from a conductor to a conductor) . Switch off ( not standby ) pads and phones , and unplug landlines .

BUT this is the ultra safe option . If you use a surge protector in this country and your ethernet / modem is also plugged through it then you are likely to be fine , direct strikes or even near strikes are rare . It is still best to switch off ( remember OFF not standby or sleep) any pad, laptop, mobile or e-reader until the storm passes . Also only use your landline for emergencies whilst its raging .

Windows XP is dead ?

Windows XP end of life.

This is currently one of the biggest issues and talking points in IT. Over 22% of the world’s computers were running Windows XP at the last survey and it is now not supported.
What does this mean for people?
Firstly the world hasn’t ended – contrary to much of the information being pushed out you do have choices:

You can keep using your XP machine, although realistically you have to stop using the internet in a couple of months9 time.

You could upgrade to the new version of Windows but this has problems you need to consider.
Windows 8 looks and works very differently to Windows XP – you would need to relearn it.
Windows 8 requires far more complex machines than XP so it is unlikely, unless the machine is less than 2 years old that it will run at all.
Most software that runs on XP won’t run on Windows 8.

You can buy a new machine.
If you do decide to do this then you have a similar choice – do you want Windows 8?
If you push you can get machines with either no operating system (I’ll explain why later) or with Windows 7.
If you get a machine with no operating system you can install a version of linux (which is FREE as is all the software you need).

You can install linux on your current machine.
There is no cost for the operating system (the Windows bit) or any software (like Office).
You will need to learn to use something new.

So, what is the solution?
Quick answer there isn’t one. It depends on what you want to use the computer for and how much you want to spend.
It is likely that the best option for most people is to use linux, but it won’t be best for everyone.
If you play games linux is unlikely to work for you, but if not then all round it is the cheapest, quickest and easiest option.

if you are in a PO postcode in England take a look at