In 95% of the cases, it has been due to power (hydro) issues, like power surges or brief brownouts. Even if you have a ‘proper’ surge protector, if the power is off for even a few seconds, it can have an effect on your computer.
How will you know? Well, if your clocks are flashing, you had a power outage (sometimes overnight). Entering the summer season with AC units drawing a lot of power, it’s becoming more common.
A simple test you can do before calling Nerds On Site:
1) unplug the big black power cable from the back of the computer
2) try to turn ‘on’ your computer (yes, I know this sounds odd)
3) wait 5 seconds
4) press the power button to ‘turn off’ your computer
5) plug in the big black power cable from the back of the computer again
6) turn on your computer
If this fixes the issue, you should be fine. You have just purged the “dirty power” from your computer, and your computer power supply is fine. The same could be accomplished by letting your computer sit turned off for several hours or days, but who wants to wait that long?
Surge protectors protect from surges, not outages. You can also get a “battery backup” (UPS) for your system, whereby if the power does go out, you have about 15 minutes of power to the computer to safely shut it down… and if it happens overnight, the UPS will safely shut down the computer for you.
[Kevin O’Reilly contributed to this post. He’s a Nerd in Brampton, Ontario, Canada]