The system then proceeded to boot up normally.
I'm told that this could be the first sign of motherboard failure. Hooray! On the other claw, it could just be One Of Those Random Oddities that I'll never see again.
Frankly, this thing's probably been ready to go since I got it. It's always been kinda twitchy, and there just might be a reason for that. My old mobo just randomly died on me after we moved into our first apartment up here in San Jose. We replaced it -- and a few weeks later, the outlet I had my computer plugged into shorted out badly. I figure that the old mobo died because of an erratic outlet with dirty power, and this one was running in the same bad outlet for the first few weeks of its life.
That was 2003. Five years is old for ANY motherboard.
So... I need to shunt updated copies of all my job-hunting stuff onto the laptop today, in case this thing quits on me. Needless to say, replacing the motherboard until the job hunt is successful Just Ain't Gonna Happen.
This, incidentally, is an example of "Coyote Loves Me" -- a motherboard dying with no warning is a catastrophe. A motherboard dying with some advanced notice is an annoyance. Having that notice means that I can avoid the worst part of any unexpected systems failure: the stress, anger and panic on the operator side of the keyboard.
And that makes me happy.