I am a customer advocate here at Dell headquarters. I found your post and wanted to give you what help I can on this.
The scratchy noises you describe are the read/write heads seeking for something on the drive. Most likely there are bad sectors that have corrupted at least one required file for Windows to start up. Unfortunately, there is a chance that the drive itself is getting ready to completely die.
You might (and I stress might
) be able to do a repair installation of Windows which should move the effected files to another, hopefully good, location on the drive. My recommendation, however, would be to get the drive replaced as it is probably on its last legs.
The Latitude CS systems shipped with 9.5mm IBM hard drives if you wanted to get a replacement. If you have any questions about how to replace the drive I'll be more than happy to help you out. I can be reached by email at [email protected]
(please add 'attn: larry' to the subject to make sure it gets to me).
I hope this helps get it working again.
Dell Customer Advocate [email protected]