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Survive blackouts with $40 battery backup

Power outages happen all the time. Some last two seconds, some two hours. Either way, a battery-backup system will keep your gear safe and let you save your work.

No power? No problem. The APC 550VA battery backup will keep you running for up to an hour.

If you're using a notebook and there's a sudden power outage, no problem: The battery will let you keep on workin'.

Desktop users aren't so lucky, which is why it's essential to plug everything into a battery backup (aka uninterruptible power supply). If the lights go out, you'll still have a few minutes in which to save your work and safely power down the machine.

Best Buy has an APC 550VA Battery Backup System for $39.99 shipped. It includes a total of eight outlets, all of them surge-protected and four powered by the 330-watt battery.

The 550VA promises up to 65 minutes of runtime, depending on the power demands of your hardware. It also has phone/fax/modem and USB ports to keep that gear from getting fried.

APC offers a $75,000 equipment-protection policy, meaning if your gear does get zapped while plugged into the 550VA, the company will reimburse you.

As someone who works at a desktop nearly every day, and who has lost work due to sudden power outages, I consider a battery backup essential equipment. Normally they're a lot pricier, so I'm liking this deal a lot.