Possible problem with Dell laptop

Alright so I have a Dell Inspiron E1405 laptop that I've had for about 4 years. About an hour ago I found my laptop turned off even though I know I last left it on. I turned on the laptop, windows booted up properly, clicked on my name to log in and then an error message popped up that looked that a command prompt message. At the top of the message box toolbar it said: "C:\windows\system32\cmd.exe" and in the black box it said: "The sytem cannot find the path specified." Nothing else on the desktop appeared and when I attempted to close the box, it seemed to have glitched and the box rapidly opened and closed every few seconds.

I turned off the laptop and tried again, it happened two more times but on the third attempt the box appeared but so did the rest of the desktop. I quickly backed up all the files and checked to see if anything was running properly and it seemed to be working fine.

My question is, could this be the early sign of hardware failure or could it be some kind of sneaky virus? Can one of you recomend a way for me to find out? Would it be possible to recomend a free virus scanner for me to check regardless. Thanks.
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  1. Download Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes and scan your system. Also, Dell does provide diagnostics software (download from dell.com/support) that can help isolate whether you have a hardware issue or not.

    With a 4 year old system, it could indeed be a looming hardware failure. Dell diagnostics should help track it down.

    Good luck!!!
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