First of all, sorry for the long-ish post.
Ok, here's my problem: I turn my computer on yesterday morning and it does its usual thing; the LEDs in the case flicker, the HD light comes on, fans start whirring, keyboard light comes on, etc so I turn on the monitor and wait for it to boot up. Unfortunately this time nothing actually happens. After a few seconds, before I actually see any sort of image on the screen, my monitor's power light goes from the normal blue color, which means everything's fine, to an amber color and that's it. The computer keeps running though the power button becomes useless and wont actually turn it off, nor can I restart with the restart button. I have to reach around to the back of the computer and flip the switch to shut it down.
Now, if I turn it back on there's a small chance everything will work fine and I'll get into Windows but there's a larger chance that I wont and it'll do the same thing as above once again. Even when everything looks like it's going to work (Intel screen comes up, which I believe is for the motherboard though I'm not sure as I've never actually payed attention; Windows logo and loading bar come up, etc) if I don't actually see the Windows "Welcome" screen I'm not getting in and the monitor light again goes to amber and the screen goes black, the computer stays running and I cant shut it down or restart it so I have to turn it off with the PSU switch at the back.
I've had this problem on and off for a while though it's only since yesterday that it can be a real struggle to get the computer going. Normally I would only have to shut it off and turn it back on once and everything was fine. Even then the problem only happened once or twice a month, if that. Normally when it did happen I stumbled onto a technique that seemed to work which was to start the computer and give it 10 seconds or so before I turned on my monitor and that appeared to solve everything (and is why I think it may be the PSU) Yesterday though I spent a good 45 minutes turning it off, waiting a minute or so and then powering it back up before it let me into Windows. Today, however, I only had to shut it off and turn it back on two or three times before I got into Windows. Once I'm in Windows everything's fine. There's no pausing, freezing, crashing or anything else to suggest a problem.
Now, I read in the POST Troubleshooting Guide
that such behavior can result from a bad or failing power supply which is what I think
it may be but I thought I'd ask here first and see if anyone had any other suggestions before I ran out and bought something I may not even need.
One last note before I end this interminably long post: I bought an external HD yesterday (once I had my computer up and running...) and when I brought it home and plugged it into the surge protector/power strip I have my computer and other items plugged into it didn't power up. I switched the plug to another socket on the strip and everything worked so I'm wondering if, instead of the computer's PSU, it could be the surge protector/power strip that's on its last legs instead? Today I swapped the external HD's power plug to the socket I tried yesterday when it wouldn't power up and the socket works now so I have no idea what's going on there. Should I buy another strip since they're cheaper and see if that helps or does this really sound more like a PSU problem?
Thanks in advance for any advice.