Man, I royally screwed myself, I'm pretty sure. I'm looking for ideas out.
I have an XP machine. At some point today, seemingly something went wrong with all the USB ports. Keyboard stopped working, mouse stopped working, etc. I was able to access the machine with remote desktop on my network, though. So I tried a few things, among them uninstalling all the USB drivers in Device Manager.
The first time I did that, after rebooting, Windows re-installed all the USB ports happily, but stil the keyboard and mouse didn't work. I tried to print (printer is connected via USB) and voila, it worked. So I thought maybe that USB port worked and I tried plugging in the keyboard there, but it didn't help.
That's when I did something *really* stupid. I thought I'd try to uninstall all the USB drivers again so I could plug a different keyboard into the port that was working for the printer. BUT... sadly, I also had the brilliant idea of booting into safe mode to see if that would help.
BAD combination. The problem now is that I boot into safe mode, but it brings up a dialog asking me to confirm I want to be in safe mode (as opposed to use a Restore Point). I can't get out of this dialog window. Remember, I have no keyboard or mouse. I can't plug one in, because I uninstalled all the USB drivers. I can't plug into a PS/2 port, because the machine doesn't have one. I can't access the machine remotely, because it is in safe mode. I can't even boot off a CD because, apparently, my BIOS isn't set to boot off the CD drive over the hard drive. So even with a boot CD in the drive, it boots into Safe mode and sits there, staring at me (with an evil grin on the inside... I KNOW it has an evil grin on the inside).
Does anyone have any ideas of what to do?? I was thinking maybe tomorrow i could go out and buy a PS/2 card (do those exist?) so I could plug a keyboard in. But if I do that, will the card need a driver? Because it has to be a solution that works even if the machine boots into Safe mode (since I can't figure out how to stop that).
Another idea is to put a new hard drive in there, install Windows on it, then connect the existing hard drive and fix the boot.ini file. But no matter what, I need some kind of keyboard access to do anything.