I have a Very Bad Feeling I know what the problem is after reading some other threads, but I'm going to bite the bullet and ask anyways *praying* that I'm wrong...
I normally use my computer at night, then close all the programs and shut the monitor, sending it into sleep mode. That way I can just boot up out of sleep mode and continue working with a pretty quick turnaround.
Last night I did just this: I shut all the programs I was running and closed the laptop. To my knowledge there were no problems at the time.
This morning I got back from class and opened the monitor expecting it to come out of sleep mode, and instead I see a blue error message saying there was a problem (I didn't catch the exact message number or tag, my apologies) and that the computer had shut itself down in order to prevent any damage to the hardware. It reccomended that I power off the computer and turn it back on to make sure everything was working correctly.
That's where everything went haywire. I hit the power button, immediately shutting the computer off, and when I tried rebooting it wouldn't do so. The hard drive spun and clicked twice, and for 30 seconds it seemed like the computer was booting like normal, then it immediately shut itself back off. I tried this several times - power cord in, power cord out, battery out on AC - same result each time.
I talked to Dell Support but all they could do was keep telling me to check my power connection. It is NOT a power issue - that is a practically brand-new adaptor I bought just over a year and a half ago when my first one fried itself. I checked the pin, it's not corrupted or bent. I reiterate - it was working PERFECTLY last night around 11:00pm, on AC power.
Model - Dell Inspiron 1100 Age - 3-5 years old. OS - Windows XP Home Hard Drive - 40GB Processor - Intel Celeron 400mhz (This is a rough estimate, as I can't power the computer on to check exactly).
It has 2 trojans recently and I took it to CompUSA and had them completely clean it off - wiped the hard drive, reinstalled the OS, and I reinstalled all of my programs once I got it back.
I have a REALLY bad feeling it's the motherboard, and I don't have the funds to get another one. This PC may be a budget PC, but it's one that I'm required to have for interfacing with both my job and my schoolwork - it's hooked up to my printer right now. I'm writing this off of my Macintosh computer, so I can't run diagnostics straight from Dell.
Thank you to anyone who can give me a glimmer of hope for this issue, and even to those who just confirm my worst fears - at least you let me down gently :-)