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Most UPSes have a self-test function built into them. The purpose of the self-test is to ensure that the UPS is functioning properly and your equipment is protected. Normally, the UPS will do a self-test when it first turns on, and again on a periodic schedule. For example, some UPSes will do a self test once a day, and some once a week. During the self-test you may notice some of the UPS's indicators flash, and the unit may emit an audible tone, but there should be no noticeable effect on your protected loads. If you have are running UPS control software you may be able to control how often your unit does a self-test. You can also usually tell the UPS to do a self-test on demand; you may need to do this if your battery fails a self-test on start-up due to being discharge from use.
Of course, the self-test is an important feature, but it does not take the place of a real-world test. This means simply firing up the UPS and whatever loads it is supposed to run, and then pulling the UPS plug to see how well it functions. You don't want to do this too frequently however, as it will run down the battery and over time, too many charge/discharge cycles will reduce battery life. However, you should do it periodically, especially if you change the composition of your protected loads.