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Thread: Does anything serious happen when computer idle but you lose power

  1. #1
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    Does anything serious happen when computer idle but you lose power

    Let's say you don't have a UPS (I do).

    But let's also be a bit more specific. In additional to the computer just sitting there on but not being used, let's say you have saved your work and went off to do other things. And now you lose power!

    Now it will not have been shut down in the usual Start > Turn off computer > shut down. I'm guessing RAM would not be cleared and programs would not be closed. Is this serious? Does it matter? What differences will it make?

    And what else might not be done?

  2. #2
    Triple Platinum Member wumply's Avatar
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    I'm running XP btw.

    wumply

  3. #3
    Old and Cranky Super Moderator rik's Avatar
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    Well wumply, anything could happen. Honestly there is no way of saying exactly what will happen.

  4. #4
    Silver Member joshsiao's Avatar
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    Nothing really happens. I haven't had any serious issues at all. But if the computer is working, or the BIOS is loading, or the OS is running a critical process or your Hard Disk is very old (Especially the Hard Disk) You will encounter serious errors.
    "Never seem more learnt then the people you are with. Wear your learning like a watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."
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    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    No.

  6. #6
    Silver Member joshsiao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curio
    No.
    What do you mean? Old Hard Disks have no method of returning the auctuator arm to the landing track. When power is cut, the platters spin down and the read write heads will just crash onto the platter destroying the ferrous oxide coating and your data. Then the area becomes unreadable.

    Slightly newer ones have a spring attached to the arm which just pulls the arm back to the landing track when the power is off. This is easily identified by a audible metallic clink.

    Even newer ones have a charged capacitor and a programme on the circuit board that executes when a sudden loss of power is detected. Power of the capacitor is rerouted to the magentic actuator which quickly moves the heads back to the landing track before the platters stop spinning.

    When your OS is performing a critical operation such as system restore which is overwriting critical files, a sudden loss of power may cause file corruption which ends you in having to reinstall the OS.
    "Never seem more learnt then the people you are with. Wear your learning like a watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked."
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  7. #7
    Platinum+ Member bhxtyrant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshsiao
    Nothing really happens. I haven't had any serious issues at all. But if the computer is working, or the BIOS is loading, or the OS is running a critical process or your Hard Disk is very old (Especially the Hard Disk) You will encounter serious errors.
    I can honestly say this isnt true.One day on one of my old PC's i left the PC on as i always do.I do not have a UPS or anything and the power went out.When it came back on i found out i had lost a huge amount of files and programs and even windows was actingf funny.I ended up having to do a format and reinstall of everything to get it working right again.

  8. #8
    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    Schizophrenia - hello

    Originally the question was - when your PC is idle, not when it is in the middle of a system restore and regenerating a RAID 5 array while virus scanning the entire internet and serving a SQL database to 80,000 users from a ten year old hard disk - now in that scenario I could possibly expect some data loss.

  9. #9
    Triple Platinum Member Curio's Avatar
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    Incidentally - when your pc is just left on it isn't necessarily 'idle', operating systems have inbuilt maintenance routines and many of the software utilities you might install also install scheduled tasks which may be running like the virus scanner. Most of these are still not a problem when you kill the power but any data that has not been written to the disk can be lost. Thats why defraggers tend to write the data to another area of the disk before they move it back to the cotigious space - it means even if the power is cut the data is 'on disk' so not lost.

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