Had a scare with the laptop just a few minutes ago–after I turned it on and let it boot up, the log in screen was black except for showing: the mouse icon, the Accessibility Options button in the bottom left corner, the text “Windows 7 Home Premium” in the bottom center, and the Shutdown Options button in the bottom right corner. The background of this page was black, and there was no field to input a password or anything.
After some assorted troubleshooting, including a restart into Safe Mode that actually resulted in the same unusable log in screen, I was lucky to reach success by performing a System Restore from the most recent Restore point.
I was getting somewhat worried there, especially as this laptop has already had a terminal issue before. I hope to find out what may have caused this problem so that I can make sure to avoid those factors in the future.