Thanks a bunch YoYo155. I did NOT hold the F2 key down while I had the HDD removed. In the past you just had to hit the key real fast when the boot screen came on, and not HOLD it. This holding is new to me, so, something IS wrong, and I am puzzled.
The computer performs perfectly while in Windows. Something wrong with HDD? What could that be? They either work, or they don't. Correct?
In addition my computer does this same thing with 3 different drives; it's safe to say the HDD is not the problem.
Also, for some strange reason, my computer looks for an external drive during boot up. Once the lights on that external start flashing, the black screen changes to "starting Windows" screen. It's worth noting that the computer will boot with or without that external; it just likes to make sure it's there. I think they have become fond of each other.
Would you recommend doing a factory restore, followed by painfully reinstalling applications and adding documents from backup? I may be talking nonsense, b/c BIOS and Windows are not related. Are they?
As for heating up, I did had a major overheating problem that my computer would just shut down. Finally I got brave, and disassembled the laptop to get to the fan. Cleaned it up, (the vent was 70% blocked) and put everything back together, and to my amazement everything worked!
Overheating issue solved.
Thanks for AHCI correction; I will leave my settings on it, specially since it is recommended by all for SDD. And I will eventually put that SDD back in once I figure out this 1.5 min delay in boot up. And I will do Speccy as you indicated.