We moved 3 mo ago to a location that has power surges and failures. Had purchased my first iMac, Intel made in 2008. I upgraded to Snow Leopard (10.6.8). Has been on a high quality Belkin surge protector since day 1. It of course had problems but I was able to fix them along the way until now. Today I can only get a whitish gray screen with the apple logo and gear spin for hours. I have followed Apple site and this form site INFO to get it to boot up. Tried safe boot, fsck, disk utility, resetting PRAM/NVRAM, etc to no avail. The white screen has occurred about 3-4 times within the past 2 weeks and I would shut it down and it would restart. I have run Disk Utility Permissions after the recent OS and Safari updates. In fact I run it routinely and after software installs and upgrades. So wonder what could have led to this? Internal dust? Power disruption? Recent OS updates? iMac just getting old? I moved from a dusty dry high altitude climate to a dusty humid sea level climate. Both home had/have central air with purifiers and humidity control around 54%. I dust and clean iMac, mouse and keyboard routinely. Does the iMac need to be taken in for routine internal cleaning? Could dust cause the problem of not booting up? I used the install disk (Leopard) to get to Disk Utility. It verified as OK. It repaired as OK. It will not run Verify or Repair Disk Permissions, "The underlying task reported failure on exit". After more Internet research I am playing around with burning a folder as an image file. I have never done this. I routinely back up all my files on an external drive and an offsite server. Yesterday I scanned in about 20-30 important documents as PDF files but they went to a scanned folder on my desktop. I did not take the extra step to sync or back them up before encountering the power failure. Due to moving homes I am overly tired. No other excuse. I would like to get to those files before I reinstall my MAC OS software. From my research I am guessing that if I use Disk Utility to image my Desktop or Home Folder or User Folder I will be able to recover all of those files. Is that correct? I have shredded the documents that I scanned and it would be a pain to recontact the health care companies for the information. I selected the compressed option on my User Folder. For the past hour it has been "copying". I am not sure how long it should normally take, but that seems like a long time. If is does successfully make a disk image of the files should I be able to use my MBA and connect it to the external drive and be able to open or save that compressed image file? Thanks in advance.