Can't boot after loading SP2 (even from CD): Missing or corrupt \windows\system32\config\system

I'm running Windows XP and just installed SP2.  Rebooted upon completion of installation and boot failed with a msg of:
   Windows could not start because the following file is missing of corrupt:
    \windows\system32\config\system
   You can attempt to repair this file by starting Window Setup usig the original Setup CD-ROM
   Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.

So, stuck my Windows XP (HomeEdition) CD in the CD drive, set the Boot Sequence in the BIOS to "CDROM , C, A" and tried to reboot.  The good news is it then says "Boot from ATAPI CD ROM:" and then "Press any key to boot from CD .....".  The bad news is it seems to ignore any keyboard input (i.e., the "..." keeps on dotting) and then goes back to a screen with the above error on it.  Since I can't get it to boot from the CD I can't get to the recovery console.

In case any of the following matters:
- System is a AMD-KS-2/450
- Keyboard is a USB one (the PS2 port burned out some time ago); it does recognize the DEL key to get me into the BIOS
- tried sticking in a boot floppy (and setting the Boot Sequence to "A,C,SCSI"_ , but it still went to the error msg.

I have a USB thumb drive available if that would be of any use.  Also a USB CD ROM drive.  Hey, I'm reaching here...

Thanks in advance...
Larry

NJwombatAsked:
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
Hello NJwombat =)

>> Keyboard is a USB one (the PS2 port burned out some time ago)

I think this is the main problem here..... normally CPU has two PS2 ports.... did u manage to burn both of them ??
or u are using one PS2 mouse ? if Yes then just take out the mouse and hook a PS2 keyboard to boot and check if it can recognise the keyboard now ??
atleast we will come to a conclusion that the problem is the system or the keyboard :)
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NJwombatAuthor Commented:
Looks like both PS2 ports are shot.  I tried rebooting with a PS2 keyboard in each PS2 port and neither time did it recognize a DEL key to take me into BIOS (nor did either time recognize the "ANY" key :-) to get it to boot from the CD.

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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
tell me one thing,,,,, booting with the floppy doesn't require the keyboard.... it boots directly in DOS.... so why its failing ??
are u sure u are setting the boot order in proper way and using the XP bootdisks >> http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q310994
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NJwombatAuthor Commented:
I'm sure I had the BIOS order checking the A drive first, but I won't swear to what's on the floppy (it was an old one, though marked as an XP boot disk);  I will create the disk(s) and try again.
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NJwombatAuthor Commented:
Ah, so close.  Made a new series of disk, set the Boot Sequence to read A first, and started it up.  Read the first disk like a charm, then asked for the 2nd one and asked me to hit Enter.  Argh...  Doesn't see the keyboard for the Enter.

Any other suggestions for ways around this?

P.S. As this is my first Question to EE, I have somehow inadvertently classified this as "Windows Security". Is there anyway I can broaden it or would I need to repost the question if we can't solve it?
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nihlcatCommented:
Have you checked for a BIOS option for USB keyboard enabled (as opposed to loaded by OS)?   It's a long shot, but worth a quick look.
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NJwombatAuthor Commented:
Nihlcat,  Will check that out.  At work now and the sick computer is at home, so will let you know this evening.
Larry
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
NJwombat now u can guess that its a purely keyboard issue.... ur USB keyboard is not working in OS enviroment.... =\
nihlcat gave a good idea, check it if u can get it working like this ??

and abt the Windws Security topic area problem,,,,, u can post a 20 points pointer question in the appropiate areas, and can give the link to this question, so that experts can come here and can help u in the issue :)
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NJwombatAuthor Commented:
Nhilcat, Sheharyaar,

Thanks kindly. Up and running!  Yes, there actually was a setting squirelled away in the BIOS to accept the USB keyboard.  After that, it was just the usual cussing and repeated rebooting (and copying the missing file over) and things are looking good again.

Thanks...
Larry
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SheharyaarSaahilCommented:
good job..... Cheers :)
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nihlcatCommented:
Outstanding!
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