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Question: once I hook the UPS up, am I right in assuming that to test it, simply unplugging the UPS from the wall socket will simulate a power outage?

Yes, but I do not do it that way. The reason is that if I do that, I break the ground connection, and my surge protectors become ineffective. Each of my computers (at one time I was running three at a time, though now, only one) is on its own circuit breaker. So I just flip the breaker off to simulate a power failure. If you plug your UPS into a power strip with a switch, you could just flip off that switch, but UPS manufacturers all (as far as I know) warn to plug the UPS directly in at the wall, not to power strips.

I use APS Smart-UPS models that have serious surge protection in them. I do not know if cheap ones have this. I also have a "whole house" surge protector in my main power panel. One of these. You must get one designed to fit your power panel.
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