Handling power outages with an uninterruptible power supply and NUT

The main reason for having a UPS is to protect against data loss due to power outages whether it be unsaved work, or corruption due to the computer not having enough time to write things to disk. I only really started to take this seriously when I got my Synology networked attached storage (NAS) which holds all my data.

The UPS I chose is an APC model with 1300VA and a USB connection, which is powerful enough to power most of the critical equipment I have at home and to ensure they have enough time to shut down. One of the advantages of having an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with a USB connection is that it is possible to smartly shut down any computers during a power outage.

My strategy is when the UPS goes on battery, I want the Windows PC and Linux server to shut down immediately (well after a 1 minute timeout). These are the heaviest load (roughly 100W each on idle) on the UPS and they aren’t running anything really important that I need during a power outage; they just need to shutdown cleanly. The Synology NAS is a lighter load so I don’t mind keeping that one on and only shut it down when the UPS battery is low. Keeping the cable modem and wireless router allows me to continue to have network access which is critical for NUT to work, but also for general productivity in case of a prolonged failure). I’ve found in past outages that the cable equipment in my apartment building has some sort of separate or backup power source as well so generally the internet can continue to work. With just the cable modem, router and Synology the power draw is about 50W. I can manually shut down the NAS if I want to prolong the network even further.

What’s this NUT you keep talking about?

NUT stands for Network UPS Tools which are a set of utilities that are cross platform and cross manufacturer that monitors and responds to changes in UPS statuses. As we will see in the following sections, Synology NAS already has built in support for NUT, and NUT tools can be installed on Windows and Linux.

Continue Reading

Getting a new Windows system up and running with Ninite

I have installed Windows quite a few times over this past year, from setting up different operating systems on my home lab server and installing Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 8.  You’d think that I would have spent hours downloading all the installers for Chrome, Flash, VLC, Notepad++, PuTTY, 7-Zip, and all the other common programs I use and having to click “Next” buttons a million times.  Well fortunately there’s a better solution.  I came across Ninite a while ago, and it has saved me a ton of time installing the basic programs I use on Windows.


With Ninite, you just need to pick the programs you want from their website, then click Get Installer.  Once you run the installer, it goes off on its own downloading the programs, and installing them by itself.  It’s also smart about not installing any extra junk (like toolbars or adware).

Nearly a hundred free programs are available to include in the installation, including browsers, instant messaging clients, media players, utilities, and even developer tools.

Ninite has been a great timesaver for getting the most basic programs onto a new Windows installation.