For the last month or so, getting the computer to start up (boot) has been a matter of hit/miss and/or sheer luck. The last time, it said errors at checkpoint WAKE, contact Dell tech support.
When it is working correctly, it goes directly to the name/password sign-in option when I turn it on; however, more often than not, it goes to a black screen with bunches of info that I don't understand in white lettering- it says a drive is missing (0, 1, or 2), or boot file name and boot drive not available.
Is this something I can fix?
No you cant fix this. You need a new hard drive and to reinstall windows from scratch.
You can go to a bookstore and get a live DVD of UBUNTU or Knoppix and F12 boot from dvd and see if there is any recoverable data to be saved onto a usb flash drive.
Live linux doesnt require a working hard drive.