Thanks for the advice.
I have been doing some further testing, still ongoing, and now the behavior is a bit strange.
I kept stressing the machine yesterday, keeping it on and going through as many activities as I could to see if the problems would resurface, but nothing happened for about 14 hours.
I kept loading all the drivers
and restarting each time and the computer behaved correctly.
Finally, late at night, I upgraded the win 7 install to service pack 1, along with silverlight, ms live suite and ms security center, and as soon as that update was nearing completion and asking to reboot, the issues suddenly resurfaced but worse.
This time, the select os message came back on bootup and then when windows started, a cascade of "search-ms" windows (10 to 20 windows) appeared and could only be shut with task manager, but they kept coming back.
That led me to believe that the problems might be caused by service pack 1 or one of the other programs I installed at the same update.
But now this morning, it is behaving correctly again. This leads me to think that there might be some sort of heat issue with the new ssd, or perhaps I failed to reconnect all of the cables correctly after replacing the hdd with the ssd.
I am finished with installation of all drivers and programs and its working correctly this morning. I am going to keep it on and try to see if it resumes its faulty behavior after a period of time being on.