This problem actually began with slow performance; my computer went from taking about 20 seconds to start up to taking several minutes. I called Dell customer service to rectify this and allowed a remote access of my computer. The tech attempted to install SP3, but made a drastic mistake somewhere and elicited a blue screen of death, after which he told me that I had to reinstall my OS. I tried to do so, but whatever he did trashed my computer so thoroughly that it wouldn't get past the first loading screen. Six hours on the phone later, I had a somewhat knowledgeable person who helped me to debug the computer and leave it clean for a new installation. He told me to call back when I had all the relevant discs since it was somewhat late in the day by that time. I called him twice the next day and never got any response, so I attempted to reinstall by myself. After reformatting the drive, I began the setup. It got to the "Saving your settings" portion and claimed to have seven minutes left, at which point it got stuck. I tried again; it remained on that seven minute mark for over two hours.
I honestly have no idea of what to do at this point. I'm definitely not paying to send it to Dell since they screwed it up in the first place; I'll buy a whole new laptop before they get any more of my money. This is an inspiron 1520 that I bought around this time of year in 2008. I have run regular virus scans and defragmentations, both of which I did before calling the Dell techs. Mcafee, threatfire, ad-aware and a full run of system diagnostics all came up clean. At this point, I am officially desperate and have given up on their "customer service". Any help would be greatly appreciated.
On a side note, assuming this is irreparable, any suggestions on which brand of laptop should be my next?
Thank you for trying, but I had to take it in to a local repair shop. Shockingly, Dell managed to give me a flawed XP disc as well, which prevented it from installing. It's running fine again now that it's been treated by someone not hopelessly inept.