After consulting with the SpinRite folks and my personal IT guy, Tim Balough, I concluded the only way to do a complete SpinRite scan of Maria’s laptop hard drive would be to remove the drive and scan it without working through the problematic laptop motherboard.
I left the computer running last night – blank screen with just the cursor arrow showing.
When I returned to it this afternoon with the intention of performing surgery, I found Windows 7 running and asking for a password. I obliged and a minute or so later I had a screen full of icons presumably ready to do whatever I asked.
The only thing I can think of is that Windows 7 spent several hours sorting out what was ailing it and finally fixed itself.
We shall see. For Maria’s sake, I hope it’s a good solid fix.