Thanks for the note of welcome and suggestions. Rather than beep-beeping, the hard drive sound is more like a grinding, like the brain in the tower is having to think REALLY hard.
I don't have Dell diagnostics pre-installed. That was a good idea to ask Dell for help - yes, one month into the purchase of this computer, it should still be under warranty. I called Dell technical service today, and briefly spoke with someone with a very heavy accent. He told me Dell is doing an upgrade and to call back in an hour.
Meanwhile, I've tried again to burn a CD using Roxio. It recognized the CD, but 6 minutes into the 59 minute project, an error message appeared, "A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available." So far I have not received notification about a solution. Hopefully after their upgrade, Dell folks will be able to help me!