To answer your question directly...
Your computer will NOT be protected from power surges or spikes unless it is connected to a grounded outlet. A surge protector functions by (simple version) absorbing and then shunting the excess current to the grounded line. (Almost) all surge protectors utilize components called MOV's which WILL eventually fail. That's why many of them have a couple of LED's that light up to let you know if 1) the wall plug is grounded and 2) if the surge protection circuit is still functioning. The rare few surge protectors that do not use MOV's are typically "guaranteed" not to fail - but will cost $$$. Of course, if you're operating one of the NASA computers and have the budget..... Your computer should be on its own circuit to reduce the amount of surges (and electrical "noise" which can cause data corruption) commonly generated from sources inside your home. This will also help your surge protector last longer. The other reason to have a grounded receptacle is to prevent static from building up on the computer chassis which can act as a spike all by itself. A surge protector won't help here since the charge originated after the surge protector.
Here are 2 articles that do a good job of explaining Surge Protectors, Uninterruptible Power Supplies, what you should look for and why.
or go to extremetech and do a search for "Surge Suppressors: Anatomy Lesson"
I don't know about other states, but in the state of Michigan, a homeowner is allowed to do any and all residential electrical work on their own home/property. You are still supposed to get a permit and have it inspected to make sure the work was done according to code (read - correctly and safely). In reality, most homeowners I know that have done their own work do not get a permit for small jobs like this due to permit fees and time factors. BUT, if you screw it up, you can get shocked, burn the place down or worse. NO SHORTCUTS! It's either correct or it's WRONG! Just because it works does NOT mean it's correct and safe. This is not rocket science. Common sense and a good book from Home Depot/Lowe's/other hardware supply and/or an experienced and conscientious friend can get you through it without any problems. There are inexpensive circuit testers available at these same stores - get one. Check the plug/circuit for correct polarity, ground and voltage. Edison specs for nominal line voltage at the main panel is 120volts +/- 10%. If the voltage is outside of spec, call Edison. The voltage drop from the main panel to the point of use should be no more than 5% max. But voltage drop for most residential circuits is unusual and should be checked by a professional.
Regarding aluminum wire: First let me say that any installations that were done according to code at the time of installation are grandfathered - meaning it's legal and they can't require you to rip it all out and replace it. However, if your house is wired with aluminum wire, I would recommend you consider replacing it with copper. It won't be cheap but you may get a break on your house insurance and increase the value when you sell. Aluminum wire for "general lighting" circuits has been outlawed for 30 years because of the many house fires it caused. Specifically, the physical characteristics of aluminum allow it to expand and contract significantly more than copper. Because of this, connections can become loose and cause hotspots which can result in a fire. On the other hand, after 30 years, chances are you won't have a problem. Then again, maybe that particular connection may not have had enough of a load to cause a hotspot - yet. Your call. If you decide to leave the aluminum wire as is, you must make sure that any devices or connectors that you use are designed for use with aluminum wire. The device will be stamped "for use with Aluminum wire only", or it may say "AL-CU" meaning that it can be used for either Aluminum or Copper. Do not connect Aluminum and Copper wire together directly. The two dissimilar metals will cause them to chemically react to each other and corrode. You'll end up with another hotspot or if you're lucky, they will just erode away and disconnect from each other. There are devices made which are intended to connect the two without directly touching each other - kinda like a "dielectric union" used to connect galvanized plumbing pipe to copper pipe.
Regarding Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI receptacles/circuit breakers). A GFCI is not designed and will not protect equipment. It measures current flow out the hot (black) wire and current flow back in the neutral (white) wire. If the two don't match (i.e. some of the current is going anywhere else - like into you), it is SUPPOSED to disconnect the flow within 3-5 milliseconds to prevent you from being electrocuted. Like any other mechanical device, it can fail to perform as intended. That's why they have those test buttons on the front and a stamp that says "Test Monthly". For all new installations and all remodeling and all repairs, National Code requires them to be installed to protect all receptacles installed on all kitchen countertops (not just by the sink), unfinished basements, garages and outdoor receptacles with direct grade access. Like most codes, there are a (very) few exceptions - ask your professional.
Rule #1: Turn off the circuit at the panel!
Rule #2: Even if you're sure that the circuit is off, test it again anyway at the point of use with a voltage tester. You won't get a second chance!
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