Summary

Here is my recommendation. If you have trouble with an Acer or Gateway laptop that has a black screen on boot, and won't boot into the CD ROM device, then try plugging an ethernet cable into the laptop from a working router. It worked both times for two different laptops with different operating systems.

Second thing to try: For the Acer Aspire, what I have had to do twice is this. After it froze, plugging into a network or removing the batter did not reset it. What I had to do was leave the battery in the computer, unplug the A/C cord, and let the computer go completely dead. It then booted up immediately when plugged into the networl. Go figure.

Hardware

Acer Aspire 7739-4469, Windows 7 Home Premium

Acer Gateway NE56R31u, Windows 8

Both experienced the same problem and recovered immediately when connected to the network via an ethernet cable. Both use the F2 key to get to the BIOS when booting.

Background

I have never *not* been able to restore a computer I've had, unless I determined there was a problem with the hardware. It was EXTREMELY frustrating to have my laptop in a state where it would not even let me get into the BIOS so that I could force it to boot off of a CD. The Aspire was stuck after updating AVG anti-virus, so I searched for links where that had happened to people. The Gateway computer got stuck while doing a Windows Update and stayed with the message on the screen. Although the particular programs involved seem to be "red herrings" in my opinion.

The second time my laptop froze, my mother said her Nook (actually Nook Tablet Running Cyanogenmod) wasn't logging in to the WIFI network any longer. I told Android to "Forget Network" and when I recreated a network connection it worked fine... [incandescent light bulb goes off over webmaster's head].

So that was it. Ater I plugged the laptop into a working router with an ethernet cable the computers continued doing whatever they were doing without a hitch. The problem seemed to be that the Windows Boot Loader cannot handle a glitch in the network??

Remarks = "Shame On You Microsoft or Acer"

I don't know for sure, but I think Microsoft is to blame for this problem. If you look in the BIOS under the "Boot" menu, the default setting for "Microsoft Boot Loader". It seems to 'phone home' before it lets you use your computer, or get updates, or something...? I suggest you follow the directions in the BIOS to move the Microsoft Boot Loader to a lower spot than #1 if you want to have some kind of control during a computer problem.