I went home at lunch and checked a couple of things.
The BIOS version is: A06 and the HDD password is not frozen as it did say in the BIOS earlier - it now displays as clear or free ... one of those two.
I also tried a couple more times to reboot the notebook from the Windows XP disk that shipped with it from DELL and after the "Press any key to boot from CD" message, I can see where it's flashing very quickly "Setup is checking your system configuration information" or something like that very quickly - and then the screen goes blank and the whole thing freezes.
This notebook does not have a diskette drive, so I'm not sure how to boot from anything other than HD or CD since I don't have any form of network boot enabled. I was hoping if there was some way I could possibly just "sys" a CD ROM and put a copy of fdisk or something on it it might work, but I can't find any way to sys a CD.
I checked all over the BIOS for a way to reformat the hard drive and can't find one.