Firstly, thank you all for your replies.
The computer is an '09 Dell Studio 15
I tried releasing the static power from the machine and restarting. F8 has no effect at this point. I don't even get a menu.
I followed one of the links to a video posted above, where it showed me Dell's recovery program. I made a recovery disc, but it doesn't seem to recognize the disk when I try to recover my system. When I restart with the disk in, I get a black DOS-like screen that says to insert my recovery disc. If I don't have my disc, then I'm supposed to call my system administrator.. because everybody has of those, right??? haha. I also tried booting directly from the CD ROM Drive, to no effect.
I dunno, it seems like my recovery partition is intact, but it may be corrupted.
Basically I just want to remove all of my files and changes, so that I can sell or gift the computer to someone.