Why not upgrade the surge protector to a UPS? good units are very affordable.
Put all your sensitive equipment like modem/router, computer, electronics running off UPS.
CyberPower SINE 1000VA/600W $137
Well, sometimes if you don't have backups, and refuse to do what you may need to....
There are troubleshoolting tips and faqs I'm sure on the 'net.
Starting with Windows 7 DVD for one
Even OS X won't survive with forced (hard) shutdowns.
If it only happens in Windows, and you were running OS X when the outage occurred...
USB devices and cables can be hard to ID but swapping cables and stuff helps.
As for Disk Utility, it does not look at drive sectors or files for issues.
If you really want to scan a hard drive, use the vendor's own Linux or Windows utiilty to recertify the sectors.
If you haven't done any deep cleaning of files, registry, even uninstall and reinstall components.
I just did a reinstall. Partially to be a test run for when I have to install Windows 8 next week, also to clear up a problem I had, possibly a rogue web site using a rootkit to hide files and icons and programs disappeared and icons became generic. So yes I don't take it lightly, but the new install runs much much better (over two years since last install).
AHT is not a 100% reliable at finding everything, only what it actually is designed or suppose to look for.
A semi-loose DIMM or faulty can be enough, and not likely AHT or Memtest will find it, but Windows does tend to spot a problem with RAM during installs.
Driver Sweeper 3.x
START: run %TEMP% - Select All and send to Recycle
Lion Recovery - show all hidden partitions and check health of all, hidden debug menu in Disk Utility can be enabled in command line
Some partitions (GPT, EFI, System, Volume Information Block) are only tested during format where each sector does get a thorough check for errors because they can't be mapped out later. When you do chkdsk etc you only test user partition areas and not the 'entire' drive, unless doing a full initialization. And GPT requires that the VIB and also the backup VIB both be error free - in the past the backup VIB if it failed was "optional" though, it is not now.
If you clone OS X then it is easy to move it to another drive and also to do full initialization and restore. If 3 days of your time isn't an option maybe time to invest in program(s) and methods that can backup and restore.
Trying to find the needle in haystack that you have limped along with I guess since July (since installing Lion? maybe ?) can take 3 days probably, unless you are lucky enough to replace a mouse or cable on first step and it all goes away (hit the lottery or get hit by lightning odds)
Thanks you all. Any help I can get is a good thing.
I enabled debug menu in Disk Utility. It reports disk0s1, Macintosh HD, Recovery HD and BOOTCAMP.
I have spent my fair share on troubleshooting this and I am still dumbfounded, therefore this post. It really feels random. It's like this computer have the temper of a woman, so to speak.
I have several USB doodads connected at all times. None of them are always powered on (except keyboard and mouse, ofc). All have their own power supply but many are connected via USB hub. The computer has frozen with and without external devices connected, powered on or off. If simply having something connected to the port at all is all it take to cause a crash, then there is a hardware problem in there.
Boot Camp is running Windows 7 Professional, 64 bits (retail). The iMac came with Lion. It has never been re-installed.
A small FAT partition, huh? I guess it's worth a try.
Trouble(shoot) = eliminate variables and try one at a time and always be suspect of any device, drive, even if "only" connected but powered down. Disconnect until you find the needle in haystack.
And don't create more partitions. unless you know it is unsupported, adds more risks and trouble and will fail and make matters worse, even on a good working system.
A small FAT partition, huh? I guess it's worth a try.
That's what solved the problem for me. I suspected the problem, at least in my case, was related to USB because it kept cycling through the USB devices at boot time. I disconnected all of them and then reconnected them one at a time until I found the USB drive that was the culprit. Since it was Mac formatted I thought that might be the problem. I added a small FAT partition and that solved it, Windows 7 boots up the first time every time now. The problem ultimately has to be with the Boot Camp boot loader, but adding the FAT table was a workaround that worked.
It looks like I need to retract my previous comments. The boot failure problem has returned. As far as I can tell, it still looks like a USB problem. If a drive with a non-Windows partition or an auto power enabled drive is attached it will hang the boot, I suspect because the boot loader hangs before it can find a bootable partition. I'm guessing it's either a Mac firmware problem or a problem with the Boot Camp boot loader that is in need of a bugfix update from Apple.
I just wanted to add my experience of problems with USB preventing Windows from booting in Boot Camp.
In my case it was actually my USB hub that was the culprit. Once I narrowed it down to the hub it self, I found that removing the hub altogether would cause windows to boot perfectly fine and have no more issues.
I'm going to be getting a new hub this weekend I think. This was a very cheap one.
Hi again. For the record, the boot problem have not reoccured since several months. There has been no replacement, addition and neither removal of hardware since OP. I am quite uncertain about what caused the problem in the first place just as well as what fixed it.
My best account, as silly as it may sound, is that the problem appeared out of nowhere then went away seamingly on it's own. Somehow.
I'll just go ahead and blame the gremlins. So, they say they are imaginary creatures?
Have a good day.
Yep, that's the most interesting bit... if I plug the hub in AFTER Windows has booted, it works just fine.
I've had hints that this hub is a POS for a long time... devices spontaneously dropping of and coming back immediately, and now my new UPS (that has a USB connection) telling me a couple times a week that it's lost power, when it hasn't.
I've always bought the cheapest hubs I could find, thinking they're all the same... but after similar problems with 2 different ones, and now an absolute definitive diagnosis... I think I'm going to splurge for a good, name-brand hub.