So, last night I am uploading several pics from a memory card onto my computer when I hear this loud *POP* and my computer shuts off. I can smell a little smoke. It, along with our highspeed box, monitor, printer and speakers are all plugged into the same surge protector, but only the computer shut off. A couple of questions:
1. I assume it is just something with the computer. Could a surge possibly be to blame if everything else plugged into the protector still works fine?
2. I've never really had problems with a computer before. I'm thinking I'll take it to "The Geek Squad" at Best Buy. Good idea? Bad idea? Other ideas?
3. I have a bunch of pictures on the hard rive that are not backed up elsewhere. Given my description of the malfunction, what do you think are the chances that I can recover those pictures?
I'll second that it sounds like the power supply is what blew, the only thing I'd add is that if it was a power surge there is a chance it's dying wish was to fry your motherboard. In a lot of cases you can actually look at the board and see black or melted parts when this happens.
Hard drive is likely to be fine.
Geek Squad....well yeah I suppose if you don't know anyone personally that can help. I know a lot of guys who have worked there and well let's just say I'm non too confident in their abilities, but it is what it is.
Changing your power supply is a very simple repair, and will probably be cheaper to buy a new one and test it than the fee for Geek Squad. You will have to buy it anyway if they replace it... and it will cost more.
Do you have a friend who is likely to have one sitting around? Make sure that it is the correct size (500W, 400W, 300W, etc) for the system. You're just looking for it to boot at all. If it gets to the Power on Self Test (POST) then you are probably golden and can put it all back together.
I'd bench test it to be safe (In other words, put it near the fire extinguisher and off of the carpet.)
Regarding Geek Squad - I've heard horror stories, but my experience was a-ok. A few months ago (there's a thread somewhere, but I'm lazy), my power supply went on me. I wasn't sure what it was, had it sorta kinda narrowed down to power supply, and the Geek Squad guy looked at it for a few minutes and said "yep - most likely power supply". No fee, no pressure, nothing. He even told me "it's easy to replace, you don't need to pay me to do it". It was actually pretty refreshing, considering the awful stories I've heard.
If it is power supply - It's an easy fix. Just use a pen and paper to write down all connections BEFORE you unhook everything, and you should be fine.