My new (refurbished) hard drive arrived yesterday! Hooray! Because Dell assumed that I would be brilliant enough and properly equipped for hard drive installation, they didn't bother with providing installation instructions. I took my little laptop to computer services and, God bless them, they installed the little beauty for me. I returned to the room and successfully re-installed Windows XP and Microsoft Word, after which I transferred my music, photos, and documents from my backup CDs to the new hard drive.
Continuing difficulties--I still cannot access the internet. My computer is not recognizing any of the existing hardware--it thinks that I have no sound card, no ethernet cable, and no wireless card. I must go to computer services again soon (can't today, no time) so that I can be online, in my room, listening to music once again. Despite these roadblocks I remain positive and determined to smooth over every rough spot. To perseverence!!