Computers can be harmed by improper shutdown prodedures. Depending on the type of disk structure used, various issues arise. Single disk systems are at greatest risk, but even multi-disk RAID arrays can be impaired by improper shutdown procedures.

At a minimum an improper shutdown can "dirty" a multi-disk RAID causing an "out-of-sync" condition necessitating a complete rebuild of the RAID array--a lengthy task that will reduce system performance while the disks are compared and reset to "synced" status. In a worst-case scenario, an inappropriate shutdown can catch a single disk system in the midst of a write action. If the write action was occuring in a critical operating system file, the system may become unstable or unbootable. With this specturm of horrors, it is imperative that proper shutdown procedures are well-understood and used religously.

In general, servers rarely require shutdown (which is usually performed by an IT administrator). The exception to the rule is usually a pretty big exception--large-scale loss of power for an extended period, flood, fire, or other disaster.

NOTE: If your systems have a properly connected UPS (battery-backup) they should start beeping and shut themselves down after a pre-determined interval without main power.

In the event that the power outage/other issue (the beeping is making you crazy) is going to last a long time, follow these instructions:

For Windows XP

  1. Save all open documents.
  2. Quit/exit all applications.
  3. Choose Start->Turn Off Computer.
  4. Click the "Turn Off" button.
  5. Contact your System Administrator

For Windows Server Editions

  1. Notify coworkers that the server is going down.
  2. Ensure all users are logged out of any server-based programs.
  3. Save all open documents.
  4. Quit all applications.
  5. Choose Start->Shut Down.
  6. Choose "Shut Down" from the pop-up menu.
  7. Enter a reason for the shutdown.
  8. Contact your System Administrator.

For Linux-based Servers

  1. These systems should be connected to a UPS.
  2. Do not shut these down without System Administrator intervention.