Answer Best answer as chosen by user beachangel1
It happens, and the problem is people put WAY too much faith in those cheap power strips that claim to have a surge protector. They might advertise something like 500 joules of protection, which sounds impressive until you realize that the average power surge is in the tens of thousands of joules, if not more. IIRC, the average static shock is around 200 joules, so all you're protecting your computer from with those power strips would be like a really nasty static shock. Any power surge coming down the line enough to do serious damage to your computer will blow right past those surge protectors. It's a bit like using a kiddie pool to contain a tsunami.
So all we really know for sure is that something happened that was sufficient to trigger the cutout circuit on the PSU. This is designed to try and protect the PSU from blowing up and causing an electrical fire, all that fun stuff. The PSU has to be reset in order to clear this particular fault, which is what you did by turning off the power at the power strip. Once the capacitors in the PSU drain, that circuit is reset and the computer will turn on again.
As said, you should invest in a UPS if you're going to leave the computer on all the time. Those surge protector power strips are completely useless. However, don't look for just any UPS, look for one with some kind of voltage regulation. It is called different things by different UPS vendors, but APC calls it AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulation). Long story short, electronics like a nice steady sine wave of power, but what you tend to get off the main grid is full of little surges and brown outs. Not enough to hinder the normal operation of most devices, but they have a gradual cumulative effect and will shorten the lifespan of your computer. An AVR circuit will smooth these out by trimming the surges and adding a little boost from the battery when there's a dip. Think of it like a staircase. You have a much easier time going up/down a set of stairs if all the steps are uniform. They're all the same length, width, and the gap between them is the same. As opposed to one step maybe being half the length of the previous step, the next one being twice as far up as the last one, etc.
Stop wasting your time on these cheap ineffectual solutions called power strips (the only things they're capable of protecting are things like clock radios that really aren't worth the bother of protecting) and get a UPS. Make sure any UPS you buy has AVR or something like it. You'll spend a bit more, but consider spending $150-200 on a UPS compared to $500+ on a new computer if one gets taken out by a surge that can blow right past those surge protectors.
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