APC Powerchute vs. Windows Power Management

1 08 2010

I was recently trialling APC Powerchute on a small SBS 2008 server, attempting to maintain some automated shutdown while also gleaning some stats on how frequently the UPS was intervening. I’ve used the software before, but this time it refused to play ball; I saw the stats, but it never shut the server down on power failure. Not good; I’d rather know the data was safe than be told how many times it wasn’t safe.

So, I reverted to the fallback option. An APC UPS (the USB connected ones, not sure about serial) can run under Windows’ power management, being configured and monitored in exactly the same way a battery in a laptop would. Thus, they truly are plug-and-play; some less reputable brands require their own monitoring software and aren’t nearly as effective in my experience.

Alas, uninstalling the software never restored Windows Power Management. I waited… rebooted… checked control panel… nothing. No mention of a battery in the power options and the power meter icon was disabled in the task tray. I’d lost all shutdown functionality from the UPS.¬†Yet again, a routine job involving a computer¬†turned in to a match of man vs. machine.

The fix was surprisingly simple, didn’t involve edits to the registry (which I fear when it comes to drivers and hardware and critical things like power) — but unintuitive:

  1. Open Device Manager, expand Batteries, locate the UPS and uninstall it. Be sure to uninstall the driver too when asked
  2. Wait a few minutes for that to complete, then on the Action menu, hit Scan for hardware changes
  3. Sure enough, the UPS was detected again, the drivers installed fresh and my power icon in the task tray immediately restored

It would appear APC Powerchute doesn’t fully tidy up after itself.