- You did not shut down. Did you put it to sleep or hibernate? Did you close the lid (which usually implies speep or hibernate, depending on your settings)? Or did you leave it fully turned on (but then 'fire up' is strange)?
- Does 'blank' mean black, or white?

What I would do:
1. Do the generic reset from http://forums.cnet.com/7726-19681_102-3138013.html
2. Call Dell tech service (or the shop that installed the new hard drive) and arrange for a repair.

I hope you made a backup of you manuscript before you did not shut down. If not, you might have to redo what you did after your last backup.

Kees