A good power strip is designed to prevent line spikes (voltage jumps in commercial power) from entering your computer and damaging it. Some carry guarantees of thousands of dollars if any damage is done to your system by power excursions. People use these as a convenient, one-switch means of turning power on for computer, monitor, printers and speakers.
Uninterruptable power supplies do this too, but are more famous for providing battery power while the user saves his information, and shuts down during a power outage. A tone sounds when power is lost to the UPS power plug, warning the user. The tone can be disabled after it sounds. When power is restored, switch the alarm back on.
Laser printers typically draw lots of power and therefore should not be connected to your UPS. See the manufacturer's instructions for more information.
Always unplug your computer if lightning is in the area. No protection will withstand lightning traveling over commercial power lines. In fact, there have been cases where lightning spikes traveled through telephone lines to wipe out entire computer networks!
Updated January 24, 1998, 10:52pm. email@example.com