Can power outages damage my files?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by MacBH928, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. MacBH928 macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    #1
    Hello,

    I used to have a 2002 iMac that after facing several electric outages while it was on sleep mode it was unable to start up. I believe I could get up to the white screen with an apple and thats it. I used DiskWarrior which some how fixed the file system and that computer worked well again. I was running Tiger.


    Now on my Macbook running Mavericks, I am facing outages because of the battery drying out of power. Is it possible that my files are get damaged and I need some maintenance to keep my laptop working in tip top shape?
     
  2. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

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    #2
    Usually, the mac will go to sleep, save the state of the computer, then shut off. This is called safesleep. When you turn on the computer after plugging it in, it will show a blurred out screen. Once it loads, it will be exactly how it was when the battery died, no data loss, etc. just like waking it up from sleep.
     
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #3
    If there is a sudden and complete power outage to a computer, especially if it's in the middle of writing files, then yes, an outage could damage files.

    It's always a good idea to use a UPS if you can and keep a fair amount of charge in a battery of a laptop to help prevent corruption of files.
     
  4. Sital macrumors 68000

    Sital

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    #4
    I'm not clear from your OP, but if you are losing electrical power you could also be experiencing power surges, which can definitely damage your computer.
     
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #5
    After losing electrical power, it is common to have a surge when the power goes back on.
     
  6. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #6
    Yeah, I forgot about the surges. You guys are right, when the power comes back, surges can and do occur. Plus there are brown outs which, probably, are the worst form of "outages" because the power is surging up and down, and giving low voltage to devices and appliances.

    If one knows they're in a brown out condition, it's best to manually cut the power to your entire home at the breaker box and leave it that way until full power is restored.
     
  7. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    #7
    My macbook battery would usually die while I am using it because it gives me false charge readings (10%) but then it shuts down.

    If files are damaged, how can I fix them?



    I have experienced this before, but I am not sure when it happens. There were other times when the macbook simply cold boot.

    Something weird happens sometimes. When the battery dies, I plug my charger in, I try to click few keyboard buttons but nothing happens. Naturally I hit the power button, but the reaction I get from the computer as if it was running all the time and now it has shut down (I kind of can hear it spin down) if I hit the power button again it cold boots.
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    The best thing is to get that battery replaced and make sure you have current backups to restore from should you get corrupted files.
     
  9. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #9
    Thanks...I found that interesting information about which I was unaware.:)
     
  10. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #10
    Yeah a brown out has tendencies to start structure fires because of compressors and motors on appliances like refrigerators trying to power up, but not getting enough voltage.
     
  11. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

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    #11
    Well, if your battery is giving you false readings, it is possible that it will read the percentage too high and when the battery dies, it won't even read that it was low enough and won't safesleep. But, what you were talking about hitting a few keys on the keyboard after plugging it in, I would listen up close to the computer and make sure that nothing is spinning before hitting the power button.

    One last thing, get a new battery.
     
  12. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

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    #12
    My suggestion is to run Disk Utility and "repair disk" on every single hard drive and USB drive that was connected to your computer at the time when the computer suddenly shut off. Usually there will be one or two small problems that are easily corrected; if left unfixed, they can add up and cause major problems later on.

    Your primary disk won't allow you to "repair" while the operating system is running. Instead, choose to "verify disk." If it detects problems, you'll need to boot to your recovery partition in order to fix them.

    It's worth mentioning that depending on what you or the operating system were doing when the system shut down, it's possible that Disk Utility won't be able to fix every single problem. I'd advise replacing the battery or being overly cautious when you use your computer. If the system seems to shut down randomly when it hits 10% of battery life remaining, stop using it at 15% and suspend or shut it down. For home users who have desktops without a battery, if you frequently encounter power outages, then invest in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
     
  13. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    #13

    Thanks, I frequently repair disk like on weekly basis. I won't buy a new battery as my macbook is old ('09) and I do not want to invest a $100 in a new battery.
     
  14. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

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    #14
    I guess then the next question would be.

    Is your data worth more than $100 to you ?
    The one thing to remember is, that even if you are backing up with Time Machine or similar backup solutions, if your data gets corrupted at sometime then you will just be backing up corrupted data over and over. The original data may be in there somewhere until you start running low on disk space and the oldest backups get deleted to make room for the new.
     
  15. MacBH928 thread starter macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

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    #15
    So I did a verify disk, and I got something that said files bitmap corrupted. Something about orphan block. Not sure what it is but I did a repair disk and permission and it said the disk is OK now. Are my troubles over?


    What are the popular UPS's? or any one will do just fine?
     
  16. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

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    #16
    A UPS may be a great idea if your area suffers from frequent power outages. I don't have a specific model recommendation.

    Perhaps, once you have a perfectly working system, you should start using Carbon Copy Cloner to back up to an external drive on a daily basis. If so, you'd have a bootable backup from which you could restore your original hard drive.
     
  17. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #17
    I have one of these APC UPS's. http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=29
     
  18. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #18
    Agree that CCC is the easiest way to maintain your mac bootable. You can schedule it to clone for you automatically (e.g. everyday). That will make your life much easier if the boot disk fail. The Time Machine is good for backing data, and it can protect you from accidently remove (or even worse, replace) a file. However, it won't allow you to boot, and recover a computer due to failed HDD from TM takes you a loooong time.
     

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