Tried to boot into safe mode -- no joy
Tried to repair the MBR -- no joy
So I went ahead and reformatted.
My backups are current so I'm not worried about data loss. It's just a chore to rebuild a system just the way you like it.
This is the 3rd major issue I've had with this notebook, I'm not blaming Acer entirely though.
My friends are advising me to switch to a Mac, but I am apprehensive.
Aside from the obscene Apple tax, I'm just too comfortable with Windows 7.
I suspect an HDD issue, so I will be observing the system as I rebuild.