It usually freezes before anything appears on the monitor at all. Occasionally though it will get part way into the booting process and then freeze. But usually it's just fans buzzing and absolutely nothing happening. But 20-30 tries is not unusual for me, either. As I said it's gotten progressively worse over these last weeks.
Early in this mess I re-installed windows vista from the disc, hoping that would fix it and it didn't.
I don't know much (read anything) about how computers are assembled so when you say "unplug and reseat everything" I don't really understand. Anyone else think I should just take a whack at disassembling the whole thing and putting it back together? Sounds kind of risky.
Oh and btw I live within about 20 minutes of 2 different Fry's