Win 7 PC boots and attempts a Startup Repair, eventually turns over.

Last week my computer got some dirty power during a surge. It was on, I never leave it on, but had been leaving it on in order to get some writing done in between other things around the house. (I usually turn it off every night as I don't have a UPS for it.) My wife was home and said the PC restarted itself after the surge. She didn't want it to happen again, so she turned it off from the Win7 login screen and then unplugged it.

Today I got back from a few days away and plugged my PC back in and booted it up. It immediately went into a Startup Repair process. It asked for a restore point, which I don't have, so I told it as much and it proceeded to try to fix itself. Ended up failing the repair.

Error log:

Problem Event Name: StartupRepairOffline
Problem Signature01: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature02: 6.1.7600.16385
Problem Signature03: unknown
Problem Signature04: 211
Problem Signature05: AutoFailover
Problem Signature06: 1
Problem Signature07: BadDriver
OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1

I hit finish and it shut off. Rebooted the PC and it came on no problem. I proceeded to backup all my writing and my daughter's videos from the last few years for a second time. Then, played a PBEM game that I had to get back to Swampy and answered a little email. Then I rebooted it to finish some Windows updates that had cued up. It didn't boot, instead coming up with a message about Startup failure in gray on a black screen. It wanted me to launch Startup Repair, or boot normally. I choose boot normally and after a third time trying that option it finally booted up.

So... what's my trouble shooting look like from here? Where do I start? I'm actually in the mood to wipe the hard drive and start fresh, as I've got a lot of crap beta and alpha games clogging this thing up and I'm sure some of them are gumming up the works. But before I do that ordeal I want to make sure there's nothing wrong hardware wise. Since this all started with a power surge I'm inclined to think something is wonky with the PSU. But that's just conjecture.

With a power surge or dirty power, things start getting nasty. Could be that your hd (controller part) is about to give up and die.
More could have been hit and start acting up. But for now it sounds like the hd to me.
I would back up for sure and keep backing up. And just in case, I'd buy a new hd and re-install windows.

I have a slightly related issue with a lab computer.

It got a virus and we were told we had to wipe it and reinstall windows by the equipment manufacturer.

It was done by a slightly computer literate slightly english literate labmate. Something went wrong.

We purchased a new copy of Win7 Pro to replace the Win& home disk we never got. Tried to install it (I don't know what she selected) and it got stuck somewhere.

I tried going into the BIOS to ensure it was booting from the USB cd drive, but that didn't help. I tried resetting the BIOS to Default... that didn't help. I tried running the repair without the boot disk. and I get a similar error list to that above except something about incompatible instead of Bad Driver.

When it goes through the install it loads files then goes to a Boot Manager Error screen telling me to insert the install disc and restart then try to repair.

Underneath that it also says:
File: \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe
Status: 0xc0000001
Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

I think I am at the point of buying a new HD and just starting from scratch, but since it is part of a delicate and expensive instrument I am a little hesitant.

I'd do a sanity check on the system if you can, make sure nothing else (hardware side) is amiss. It's the kind of thing that shouldn't be a problem because it's an OS (software) problem, but couldn't hurt to check. With the reinstall you might be doing things unusual for the system, who knows. Maybe try a live CD environment like Ubuntu.

As for replacing the hard-drive, if you're worried about data on the old one, a new HD would allow some isolation of stuff you want to protect and a virgin environment to get to the bottom of things.

Also for the USB drive, I've had 'fun' with some bootloaders not seeing files when it's either FAT16/32, so if it's formatted one way, try another.