We have an upcoming scheduled power outage for maintenance.
UPS protects our servers. But it has been suggested that all PCs should be unplugged to prevent damage from power surges when power is restored. Is this precaution really necessary?
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In my experience yes. The main problem is that often too many devices are left turned on and create quite a peak when power is back again, with potential damaging effects for the power supplies.
This is the reason why intelligent PDU for server racks often turn devices on in a staggered mode after a power loss.
If you are not sure of the nature of the power outage, I recommend you to turn off the main breaker just before the outage, and restore it just after the outage (isolating your building from utility power, to prevent "short power-on" or any kind of undesired power problems during the outage that could damage something)
If you're not going to unplug them when you leave work I'd say you're only elimiting part of the risk. Dirty power can cause severe problems on machine. One of my former employers did not have ups' on each desktop, despite the recomendation. One day we had terrible power problems and the power went out mutiple times after being up for 30 seconds or so. This ended up corrupting about 1/3 of the user profiles causing about a weeks worth of remediation.
Id say if the you cannot get the policy to unplug the machines when the user is not in the office, I would push to get a UPS for each desktop. UPS tend to provide protection from not just blackouts & brownouts but also Over voltage & spikes.