Thank you kindly xpcman for your assistance.
The issue has been solved.
I took the hdd out and connected it to another pc.
Tested it and it passed with flying colors.
I formatted the disk leaving the built-in recovery partition in place. (ran all the rotten utility checks virus, defrag, boot check, scan disk)
I then returned everything back into its place (hdd and ram) and restarted the laptop and ran the built-in system recovery (pressing 0 + power button). This time everything loaded without any issues. After all was installed and system updated, it dawned upon me that it might have been a virus.
Good luck to the next person.