The problems started when I began having trouble staying connected to the internet .. via my laptop's onboard wireless adapter (Broadcom 4318). After 'repairing' connection several times, I inspected the device mgr, where I found a yellow-! hovering over my wireless adapter. Shortly thereafter the hard-locks began.
Disabling the Wireless adapter (in Windows device manager) and switching to a wired connection seemed to solve the problem (no more hard-locks) .. long as I stayed in Windows.
But reboots still gave me fits. Many times, the hard drive & CD-ROM lights would remain lit for ~30 secs, then go out.
That's it. Nothing. No boot. Couldn't even boot to a Bootable CD. Couldn't even get into the BIOS (F2). The display screen showed absolutely nothing. Sukage maximus.
Subsequent troubleshooting revealed that using a fan to blow cold air on the bottom of the (warm) laptop for 5 or 10 minutes solved the problem. (Every time.) By that I mean, I am able to boot, I get a display. I can enter the BIOS.
BUT .. I *always* get the following ERROR (BIOS) » Resource Conflict - PCI on Motherboard, Bus:06, Device:09, Function:04. <F1> to resume. <F2> to Setup.
[ If you happen to know what Device:09 or Function:04 are, let me know. I searched but can't find anything definitive. Bus:06 I'm guessing is the PCI bus. ]
The good news » hitting <F1> lets me boot to Windows. Once in Windows, everything is cool .. ever since I disabled the Wireless adapter. Runs great. In my device manager, I now have a yellow question mark hovering over 'PCI Device.' (Listed under 'Other devices'.)
Today I learned that my laptop's 'onboard' wireless adapter (toast) is not really onboard. (Thanks, Will.) Rather it's a MiniPCI card -- half the size of a credit card -- that's easily replaced, just like system memory (.. remove screw + cover-plate, pop-out old, pop-in new). Cool.
I was able to order a replacement for $5.48 (free shipping) from Hong Kong. Hard to believe, no? Especially when I saw the exact same part at other places selling for $40 (+ shipping). I'm starting to like Hong Kong.
It'll probably take a few weeks to get here, but I'm in no hurry, seeing that a reader sent me a USB wireless adapter to use. (Thanks, Dirk.)