Its been a while since I've been on these forums (luckily I've had no problems with my computer until recently, considering Dell has the worst customer support I've ever received) so I apologise if this in the wrong location, or if anyone wants specific specs from the computer itself.
I also apologise for my lack of technical terminology, while I understand my computer and how to use it, I have no expertise whatsoever.
This is mostly a question, and not really a problem, as I've solved the issue that I had, I just don't understand why it happened.
I have an Alienware Aurora and I have absolutely no problems with it. I also have two external hard-drives, connected by USB as backups.
This weekend, I went away for an overnight visit to a relative's and returned and discovered there had been a power outage. This is fairly common for me, as I live in the country and its been storming quite a bit where I live.
Upon booting up my computer, it worked absolutely fine for about five minutes and then it froze completely. Confused, I CTRL + ALT + DELETE and the whole thing restarted. I must admit, I had a bit of a panic attack and when the computer rebooted, and seemed to be working correctly, I ran both a virus scan and a malware scan. (Using AVG and MalwareBytes respectively.)
Nothing was detected.
The next day, the same thing occurred. Regular startup, everything is fine, no issues whatsoever, and then after about five minutes, full crash. When it booted up again, I defragmented all my discs, checked all the dics, ran a CCleaner Scan for issues and to clear out my cookies and cache. I also ran another virus scan.
Again, nothing was found.
I rebooted (mostly to have the C: drive disc check done) and everything was absolutely fine. I was pretty confident that I'd fixed it.
Alas, Tuesday, we experienced multiple power surges in a short time span. When I booted up, it again, froze and crashed. Expecting it to start up again as normal, you can imagine my horror when, after the usual Alienware loading screen, instead of starting Windows I received a black screen with a blinking underscore.
I tried everything I could find online. F8 was entirely inaccessible: it did nothing. The Advanced Windows Options menu was not accessible, and that was the solution many forums provided.
I managed to run a Pre-Boot System Assessment which found no issues. I opened the Setup Options and looked at Boot Order and discovered that my USB backups had somehow shuffled to the front, above and before my hard drive.
After unplugging them and rebooting the computer, it worked, miraculously. I ran my virus scans, CCleaner run, did another C: drive disc check and re-added my backup drives, doing a disc check on them as well. Everything seems fine now.
Because I'm a full idiot, when I returned from school (I live away from home for eight months of the year) when I set up my computer again, I neglected to plug the computer into a surge protector, and plugged it directly into the wall, after the Black Screen of Death, I did plug it into a surge protector and I hope that helps. I don't know if this is relevant or not, but I figured I should include it.
The question I have then, (sorry for all the backstory) is what caused my boot order to change? I did a google search and the results returned really only addressed how to do it manually, and not how it gets done on its own.
Is it possible that the power surges messed up my hard-drive somehow, and that when attempting to boot up the computer went to the better-protected external hard-drives instead?
I'd like to know because, well, firstly it bothers me that I don't know why, and secondly, I'd like to know how to avoid it happening in the future.
Any thoughts, theories or concrete answers will be appreciated.
Solved! Go to Solution.
Power Surges and Brown-outs can damage PC Power-Supplies, MotherBoards, or anything inside PC. Also, your external USB drives. Your software and Windows can also get corrupt.
Inexpensive power-strip like surge suppressors are pretty useless. You need a real battery backup like APC or CyberPower. They run about us$125.
They have isolation transformer inside (or similar circuit) that protects machine.
If all that happened is some boot-orders got switched around, you got very lucky (that time).
Most likely the power surge caused a CMOS issue with the battery. This can cause the boot order to change.
Definitely a good idea to have a surge protector connected. Just be sure to invest in a good strip. Any strip is better than no strip, however, it is worth the extra investment to get a good strip or other protection.
Also, you seem to understand the 'terminology' quite better than many others, so Kudos there.
Husband/Father/Writer/Tech Guru/Broad Spectrum Gamer
"My greatest experience in fixing electronics has come from having kids" -CCC