My Dell started doing the same thing 1 week ago. I would get the 'check screen' that was mentioned by the original poster but I would let it 'check' and then it would proceed to boot. Today, NADA, just stuck. So now I'm in Bios running the diagnostics. I cannot believe that my new computer- purchased Fed '10 - now had a failed HDD. This is a Windows 7 issue - it's too easy to find too many others with the same issue for them all the failing HDD's on Win 7.
We should be asking why and how is Win 7 killing HDD's? If in fact it is.
I could still use a little more help putting my laptop back in order -