I'm desperately hoping someone can help me. I've done my fair share of research, and haven't found anyone else with this problem. I'm generally a pretty tech savvy guy, so it's not too often I personally reach out for help like this... I will be as descriptive as possible
The problem started 2 days ago.
I came home from work, and went to start my laptop. I went to the kitchen to fix some food, and came back to a black screen with just my cursor in the center, with a loading ball. My laptop does not have a password, so it automatically logs me in and loads my desktop upon boot. Interesting, I thought. I clicked around the black screen and nothing was happening. Thinking this was just another glitch of some sort, I did a hard shut-down - held my power button for 5 seconds. I booted it up again, and same thing. Unresponsive black screen, loading ball. Uh oh.
My first inclination was that maybe something was up with my dedicated graphics card. I performed a hard-shut down, disconnected all my peripherals (keyboard, mouse, microphone, 2 monitors, ethernet) and tried again. Same result. I did a hard-shutdown.
My next step: boot the computer in safe mode. I went into the advanced boot-up, selected Safe Mode with Networking. As the computer was booting, the same issue persisted. I couldn't even boot the computer in Safe Mode!!! I did a hard-shutdown.
My next step: System resort. I went into advanced boot-up, selected a system restore from 4 days ago, and started it. After about 30 minutes, my desktop loaded (wow! maybe it worked!) with an error message Could not Restore System (so close...). The desktop was completely unresponsive - windows button, tray icons, right-click, etc. Neither Control Alt Delete nor Control Shift Escape worked. I did a hard-shutdown.
My last ditch effort - wait it out. After about 3 hours, my desktop had barely loaded. My start-up consists of very few programs, and I would not consider my computer as congested by any means... I clicked the Windows button, and nothing happened. Given the situation, I decided to wait. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes, my start menu came up. Great *sarcasm*. I was able to navigate to Windows Defender, and actually start a Full clean. At this time, it was 4am, and I needed to go to work. I came back, at 4pm. The clean had completed, and there was nothing harmful found. The desktop was still intact, but still slow and unresponsive. I was able to go into the start menu, and navigate a proper Restart.
It is now 6:24pm, and I've made no progress from when I began this journey.