Byte Me #317 Cyclone Debbie

15th April 2017


We haven’t had any local rain for 10 days now and yet our Fitzroy River is still yet to peak!  It drives home that fact that Rockhampton is built in a flood basin and it shows just how far reaching the catchment area is.  The only fortunate thing about our current flooding is the amount of warning we have had.

Unlike cyclone Marcia where the extreme winds meant that power was cut expectantly, roofs were lifted and windows smashed this current round of flooding is tame in comparison.  We saw dozens of dead computers from Marcia however that will not be the case in Central Queensland from Debbie.  With Marcia we also saw more dead computers from home generator sets than from the actual cyclone itself.

I hope this article is another timely warning that desktop computers do not like power from home gen sets unless you have a double conversion UPS – a battery backup which costs at least $800 to smooth the ripples in the power.  On the other hand laptops, tablets and smart phones are far more robust with dirty power due to their design and they also take very little power to run.

After the flood waters have resided, if you do find that your computer is dead then keep in mind that it is still very likely that all of your important data can be professionally retrieved from it.  We see dead computers all the time and most have dead motherboards from power spikes so we can still recover all of the users’ data from the internal hard drive.

In our industry we deal with a lot of insurance claims and most home and contents policies cover electrical spikes (fusion).  Every year we write many repairers’ reports and help customers lodge them with their insurers.  Again most policies also cover the costs associated with PC inspection, testing and reporting so don’t forget to ask your insurer if this is the case.

If you are making a claim then besides a professional repairers’ report, you will need a like-for-like replacement quote and again don’t forget to list software like Microsoft Office if it was an OEM version.  OEM software versions are ‘locked’ to the computer that they were originally installed on.  If this computer dies then so too does the software licence – so a like-for-like PC replacement quote will also need to allow for the cost of replacement software.  As an example Office 2016 Hm & Bus OEM is $299 by itself.

Software subscription titles like Office 365 and anti-virus software can be reinstalled without any further licencing cost so they do not need to be claimed however the cost of installing them may also fall under your policy coverage.  This leads to the final point of data recovery and restitution.  Some policies cover this and some don’t so either get a good broker or a good magnifying glass and check the fine print very closely.

We use the local Aon office for all of our insurance and can’t speak highly enough of their support and advice which has saved me having to deal directly with my insurer.  Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

  • August 25, 2017