Re: Why is hardware so sensitive?
The majority of electrical/electronic equipment has a 'wound component' (Inductor) somewhere in its mains input circuitry.
When current ceases to flow through said item, the magnetic field collapses rapidly, producing an EMF (the same principle is used in old tellys and monitors to produce 25KV for the CRT). So, if the power supply to the equipment is cut off the resulting EMF is fed back into the 'outside world' via the AC mains supply lead.
Now one piece of equipment on its own probably wouldn't do much harm, but when you've got a room chock full of 'em, the effect tends to add up... if not multiply :)
Another reason is electrolytic capacitors, even 'computer grade' ones, tend to dry out, and their effective internal resistance goes up, meaning that they are less able to cope with sudden surges - it's a double whammy, really.
p.s. I'm so pleased that after donkey's years of reading the register, I've finally found a question that I can answer.