Victory! Although I had to call Dell (so much for promised callback), the tech I got determined it was my hard drive in literally about 3 minutes. I was on the phone with another guy for 2 hours last night! Dell is now sending out a technician to replace my hard drive. Unfortunately it'll be 2-3 business days but as long as it's done by the weekend I'll live. I would have been fine with them just sending me a new hard drive but maybe this will be easier. And get this, at the end of the call, the tech said his floor manager wanted to speak to me. The manager profusely apologized for the hassle I had gone through both with my brand new computer dying and the idiot tech from last night. I was honestly moved a tiny bit.