just last night a blackout occurred while I was watching a video on the web. I've got my monitor and desktop computer plugged into an extension cord and then into a power strip/surge protector. Both the power strip and the extension cord can definitely take the load. My question is if this blackout could have damaged my computer at all.

I didn't notice the lights raise before the blackout indicating a power spike, just one second everything was on and the next second pitch blackness. I think I noticed the lights flicker at some point beforehand, but that was long before the actual blackout, and the blackout happened due to a car crashing into an electrical post, not any sort of gradual failure on the electrical company's end.

The power strip/surge protector only had the extension cord plugged into it and is rated to be able to take 750 joules. It is also plugged into a wall outlet and properly grounded. Could this have damaged my computer in any significant way? Do significant power surges/spikes even happen when the blackout is caused by something so sudden as a car crash? This is my computer. The computer still boots up fine, seems to perform just as well. The only thing is that it took longer than usual for all the icons to load and for all my startup programs to load the first time I started it after the blackout. The second time around it was fully up and running just as fast as usual, though.

After the blackout I got a flashlight and unplugged the computer from the power strip and set the strip to off. The next time I turned on the computer was the next morning once the power had been restored. I turned it on, waited a while for everything to load up properly, and then turned it back off. I waited a while and then about 30 minutes later turned it back on so it would have fully and cleanly been turned off and back on.

Also, I tried running a chkdsk but Windows told me that there was no need to scan the drive and that no errors were found when I first attempted to run it. Is a full scan really necessary? Would I have to be home to monitor the scan or is it safe to leave it running while I'm gone for a longer time than chkdsk will probably run? Is there any possibility of chkdsk ending up creating more problems than it's worth or causing more harm than good? Sorry for rambling so much, but I don't want to leave even what I might see as a menial detail out.

  • Sounds to me like your computer is fine. Running chkdsk won't hurt, going away while it runs is not an issue in my eyes (except if you consider it a fire hazard... some people are more worried about this than others...) – Jonas Heidelberg Sep 1 '14 at 19:11
  • @JonasHeidelberg Thanks! I'm not too worried about leaving a computer on during the day, I've done it plenty of times in the past and with so many people that leave their computer on 24/7 I doubt that a fire is a very likely thing. I was more so asking just in case maybe I needed to respond to Windows after chkdsk is finished in a timely manner (putting aside hibernation, as I'd disable that beforehand). Thanks for the peace of mind! – Josh Sep 1 '14 at 19:23

A blackout (rather, the glitches in power that occur just as line power is going away, and just as it's coming back) can damage a computer, even one that's plugged in through a power strip. But it sounds like yours survived just fine.

You did the right thing by unplugging the computer while the power was off, and not plugging it back in until power was definitely restored.

There is no possibility of chkdsk creating additional problems, unless a hard drive is already failing - the increased activity might push the drive to total failure faster. But that's a very uncommon case.

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