I too agree that it probably isn't a hard drive problem, but a video problem. Specifically, it sounds like your LED screen is having an issue. My experience with Dell technical support is that the first tier people (i.e., foreign accents) will tell you anything to get you off the phone. They have misdiagnosed a number of problems with family and friend computers in the past. If you can get "elevated" with their customer service, their 2nd tier people (i.e., if they are American), are decent (some of the time). Have you checked to see if you bought any extended warranties/etc. with Dell when it was purchased? They push these on people and a lot of time people buy them and forget about them. You should double check that -- a laptop bought Dec. 2007 shouldn't be doing what it is doing -- it sounds like the parts are faulty and may be covered under warranty.