I rebooted and it still went to do a chkdsk.... i managed to get it to skip the chkdsk, by typing a series of the 3 keys to the right of the space bar... (typing "any key" does not work). The system is up and running and I'm going to get some work done but am concerned I will get the black chkdisk countdown screen when I restart. Of note, after startup, I got a message there was a new version of Java to be installed (a message I've got before), and I went ahead and attempted to install it. At installation, I got a message that is has already been installed, would I like to reinstall ( I've got that message several times in the past). This time I chose to reinstall Java. (I've selected both yes and no at previous queries). Java Update installed without incident. I'm hoping the chkdsk has cleaned something up and the underlying problem is over.
I'm going to log my notes here throughout the day. Hopefully the worse is over.
A little history is I've had the chkdisk black screen at startup previously, and it would always hang at 1 second and hitting anykey would not skip the screen... so I had not shut down since my last startup (a couple of weeks ago) because I have a lot of work to do. I thought I'd take my chances yesterday being a day I had some free time... I had read somewhere that it can take up to 24 hours for chkdisk to finish... so anyway... back to work for now.