I had a storm blow over overnight and the power went out at least once. I awoke to my computer powered on with a black screen. Unresponsive. I shut it off(waited the obligatory 15 seconds) and started it up again. Windows 8.1 began loading but when it would normally take me to the login screen, a brief blue screen of sorts came up with a ;( face and the system rebooted itself. This time it said something like "Preparing Automatic Repairs" on the windows loading screen. It did that for a while, rebooted, and took me back to that error screen. I allowed it to do this multiple times and was never able to boot into windows.
I fear there has been some hardware damage(yes I know, get a UPS... ).
I put my windows 8 DVD in and managed to get it to load from the disc. I tried a couple of the repair options(couldn't tell you which) but they just sat at the screen for a long time, seemingly doing nothing. I knew I wouldn't be able to retrieve my files most likely(but my last backup was beginning of October so not a huge loss) so I just went ahead and tried a fresh install of windows. Again it sat there seemingly doing nothing but I let it be and eventually, after many of those long waits after selecting the options I wanted, it managed to install win 8.
Win 8 loaded up fine and I began the long and excrutiating task of installing the windows updates. This too has given me problems(downloads failing, installations failing) and where I'm at now, it is in some kind of loop where it tries to restart to install the updates, fails, reverts the changes, restarts, fails, etc etc.
Now I can go the route of troubleshooting to determine what parts were damaged(ugh), take it to a shop(ugh), buy a new hard drive and swap out the old one and see how it goes(meh), or bite the bullet and buy a whole new rig(maybe a bit extreme).