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Configuring an Uninterruptible Power Supply

Windows Home Server is a crucial component in your home network, so you want to protect it (and its precious contents) as much as possible. For example, as with any computer, you never want to shut off the server without going through the proper interface channels (that is, by first selecting Start, Shut Down on the server, or by using the Windows Home Server Console's Shut Down button, as explained in the previous section).

Unfortunately, power failures happen, so despite your best efforts, the Windows Home Server may get shut off abruptly. To avoid this fate, it's a good idea to run the server off an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which provides battery-based backup power should the AC suddenly disappear. Depending on the battery capacity of the UPS and the number of devices attached to it, this gives you a few minutes or more to shut down the server properly.

The better UPS devices come with monitoring software that enables you to view the current status of the UPS, warn you when a power failure has occurred, and let you know how much time you have to shut down the devices attached to the UPS. For this software to work properly, you need to run a monitoring cable (use the cable that came with the UPS or is available from the manufacturer) from the UPS to a USB or serial port on the computer.

If you don't have a UPS monitoring program, or if the program that came with your UPS isn't compatible with Windows Home Server, you may still be able to monitor the UPS and receive power failure alerts. Windows Home Server's Power Options come with a UPS feature that enables you to connect and monitor a UPS connected to your computer. Here are the steps to follow to configure the UPS monitor:

  1. Log in to the server and select Start, Control Panel, Power Options to open the Power Options Properties dialog box.
  2. Display the UPS tab.
  3. In the Details group, click Select to open the UPS Selection dialog box.
  4. In the Select Manufacturer list, choose either American Power Conversion or Generic.
  5. If you chose American Power Conversion in step 4, use the Select Model list (see Figure 4.9) to choose the UPS model you're using.
    Figure 4.9

    Figure 4.9 Use the UPS Selection dialog box to tell Windows Home Server what type of uninterruptible power supply is connected to the server.

  6. Use the On Port list to select the server port that you're using to connect to the UPS.
  7. Click Finish.
  8. Click OK.

Windows Home Server establishes a link to the UPS over the port and then displays the current status of the UPS (such as the estimated UPS runtime should the power fail) in the UPS tab (see Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10

Figure 4.10 With a connection established between Windows Home Server and the uninterruptible power supply, the UPS tab shows the current status of the device.

If you want to customize the UPS, click the Configure button to display the UPS Configuration dialog box, shown in Figure 4.11.

Figure 4.11

Figure 4.11 Use the UPS Configuration dialog box to customize how Windows Home Server interacts with the UPS.

You have the following options:

  • Enable All Notifications—Leave this check box activated to have Windows Home Server alert you when the power fails. You can use the two spin boxes to set when the alerts appear: the number of seconds after the power failure for the first alert, and the number of seconds between subsequent alerts.
  • Minutes on Battery Before Critical Alarm—Activate this check box to have Windows Home Server display a critical alarm after the UPS has been on battery power for the number of minutes you specify. (If you leave this check box deactivated, Windows Home Server displays the critical alarm when it detects that the UPS battery power is almost used up.)
  • When the Alarm Occurs, Run This Program—Activate this check box and then click Configure to set up a program to run after the critical alarm occurs.
  • Next, Instruct the Computer To—Use this list to specify what you want the server to do after the critical alarm occurs (and after the program you specified in the previous item runs). In Windows Home Server, the only choice here is Shut Down.
  • Finally, Turn Off the UPS—Leave this check box activated to also have the UPS turned off if a critical alarm occurs.
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