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I have a cheap laptop running as a server, but its battery has died. I often get power loss during the summer, but I don't want to invest in an UPS. I wonder if I boot the server from CD-ROM or flash drive and load everything into RAM, what kind and how much damage will it do to my laptop at a power loss?

the server doesn't need to write/save any file, so I'm not worried about the data.

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The only major damage you get from losing power is usually to the hard drive, so since you are not worried about data, and it is on a volatile medium, you can do that with no fear.

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