UPS stands for uninterruptible power supply, and a UPS is the best thing to use for hooking up your computer system to the wall socket. Basically, a UPS is a power strip combined with a battery. It can keep your computer running when the power goes out.

The notion behind a UPS is not to keep computing while the power is out. Instead, the UPS is designed to keep your basic computer components — the console and monitor — up and running just long enough for you to save your work and properly shut down the computer. That way, you never lose anything because of a power outage.

This figure illustrates the proper way to set up your computer system with a UPS and power strip. (Not shown is a USB cable, which is used on some UPS systems to alert the computer about a power outage.)

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Leave the UPS on all the time. You need to turn it off only after the power goes out and the computer has been properly shut down.