Thanks for taking the time to look at my question.
My PC runs Windows XP professional SP4. It is 5 years old and, once I get this problem solved, will be replaced. It has been locking up over the past week. I run Spy Sweeper every night and a full virus scan every week. Today it locked up; when I restarted it I got this message:
"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:
I went to www.microsoft.com
to troubleshoot it. I found instructions in article 307545 and got through half the steps to where the PC would boot up. However, once I got to the login screen, the minute I hit a key on the keyboard (to do ctrl+alt+delete) the keyboard and mouse freeze. Same thing in safe mode.
I set the bios to boot from CD and put in my Windows XP Pro disk. I pressed ENTER to install Windows, it detected Windows XP and I pressed "R" to repair the current installation of Windows.
However, once I get to the part where I need to enter a key code, the keyboard and mouse both freeze once I hit a key. Now I am stuck in a loop where I cannot interrupt this repair to try anything different. The point in the installation has only "back" and "next" options that I can click with my mouse, but no "cancel." If I restart without the XP disk in the drive, it attempts to repair Windows without it, then prompts for it.
I have already decided to get a new PC. However, my "My Documents" folder is not backed up. I want to retrieve that data.
Here are the options I have considered:
1. Install a second copy of Windows XP in the same partition to a different directory (e.g., c:\windows2). The only problem with this is, every time I start up the PC it wants to continue the repair that is already in progress. It get stuck at the part where it asks for a key code, and the keyboard/mouse freeze once a key is pressed. If there were a way to cancel this repair and start with a fresh install, I might make progress.
2. Install the failing hard drive as a slave on another PC just long enough to grab the data. I tried that this morning. I set it up as a slave in the BIOS. I entered the information manually as to Cycles, Heads, etc. However, the startup reports an error with the slave drive and will not start up. When I remove the slave drive it starts up normally.
I have read through a lot of the articles on Experts Exchange to find a solution. If I could get the keyboard to work I might make progress, however, once a key is pressed it's a no-go and I'm stuck at one spot in the Windows repair.
The keyboard is a standard PS/2.
This is worth 500 points if I can get a solution that will allow me to simply access the data on the failing drive long enough to move it to my external hard drive, then I'm good. Thanks for any insight you can provide.