I advise against putting the laptop in the freezer since that will do more harm than good. From what you describe, it sounds like either the screen or the inverter is on its way out. If you're still under warranty give Dell a call.
You need to reinstall Windows. If I remember correctly, there should be a utility on your computer that you can use to create a disk.
Your computer may have a hidden restore partition. If it does have a restore partition, use that to start fresh.
I'm making a backup up of all my important files right now. It's too bad that every time I get everything the way I want it my hard drive has to die (always at the worst times too). Thanks for the helpful advice. Looks like it's time to start from scratch again.
Edit- I talked with Dell chat today and they are sending out a new power brick and hard drive.
I am using 84GB and I have 4.26GB free (atleast that's what it says...). I have plenty of space on my external hard drive to back up to so no problem there.
As for the product key, I'm not really concerned about the key itself; what I am concerned about is the white sticky stuff on the bottom of the laptop (it is rather annoying). I guess it will destickify eventually.
Before I bug Dell any more I wanted to make sure my hard drive actually needs to be replaced again. My laptop has been acting up for the past couple of weeks giving me random error messages and having trouble resuming from standby and hibernation (it has required a restart almost every day to remain somewhat stable). I'll attempt to put a number by the questions to help those that want to answer.
While I was using it today (listening to music and instant messaging) my...
That still isn't enough explanation so I'll begin guessing again. I'm assuming you have DSL since cable shouldn't do anything like this.
DSL usually logs in using PPPoE. Most of the time isps include software that you install on your computer to manage the logging in (your desktop is likely the computer managing that). Theoretically, whenever the desktop computer becomes disconnected from the modem the Internet connection drops.
The guessed solution to your problem is...