sound like the hard disk is holding up the mb chipset. if it easy to pull the hard drive i would and see if the laptop will boot from the cd. if the screen just stays there for more then 3 min then the mb and hard drive are not timing out.
Thanks smorizio..I tried your suggestion and the blank screen did sit there for a couple mins before bios notified "no bootable device" error message. This was with the recovery CD loaded. Does this indicate a problem with memory / HD