Maybe you've heard this one before? Very similar to the problems reported all over the tech forums (mostly from two or three years ago)
Unfortunately, most of them never have any resolution on them I've been trying to find a solution/help from various places with no success. When my copy of Windows Secrets arrived late last night I hit myself on the head and said "That's where I should have started!"

Here's the basics:
I have a 7 yr old computer that I am going to replace real soon, so I just need to keep the current one limping along for right now. It was built by Voodoo PC (before they were bought by HP) and had Windows XP installed (no SP!). I have added a few disk drives, replaced one drive, added DVD writer, etc. and yes, replaced the PSU as well about 2 years ago. It has been updated to SP1, SP2 (using a MS XP with SP2 install disk) and about 3 years ago I updated it to SP3. I did replace one of the hard drives last year because the event viewer kept saying that there was a write problem with the paging file every 4 or 5 days, late at night. I still get the same problem, so I suspect it may be more the SATA controller for that disk, rather than the disk itself. That particular disk is in an external case now and is connected (legally) to my DISH DVR. 2GB RAM, 6 TB of data spread across 7 drives, dual (aging) video cards in SLI, dual DVDs (one reader, one read/writer).

Other than having tons of photos I have taken, lots of imaging software, and Gigabytes of e-mail, there is not a lot installed.

Upgrading to Win7 is out, because the hardware just wont support it, at least not the way I want it to.

So here's what happened:

Last week I installed MALWAREBytes because my ISP indicated there was some "unusual activity" on my ISP (of course we have multiple PCs and my ISP did not indicate which PC was the problem). It found the usual "problems" which are false positives in the tools used to debug (and Decrapify) my daughter's PC from two years ago, one year ago, and six months ago ("No Daddy, I don't download anything, I just watch videos on YouTube.") I also checked for rootkits using a few tools from trusted vendors, but found nothing.

Normally my PC is on 24/7. And every so often when left on for more than 5 days, the system would be "hung" when I turned on the monitor. (screen saver frozen, keyboard not responding). Rebooting went normal and I am able to log in again with no problems. (Event viewer says there was an error writing to the Page file on "D", about the same time my AVG Scanner was running.)

HOWEVER Sunday was a different story. I can no longer type in the password on the Windows Logon Screen!

I have read quite a bit of the advice already given, so here is what I know and what I did:

  • Both USB and PS/2 keyboards have the same identical symptoms
  • Both USB and PS/2 keyboards will respond during the boot process, running BIOS setup (I can use the arrow keys and type in the date and time in the appropriate places), and in choosing which Windows to boot in after pressing F8 (normal/Safe/Safe with Network/Safe with Repair console, etc.)
  • I can use my WinXP with SP2 Boot Disk to boot with windows and run the Recovery Console, Keyboard works fine!
  • I can use my BartPE Boot Disk, with Win XP SP3 slipstreamed to boot, and use the command window for directory maint, Keyboard works fine! (as does the mouse).

As I said I can boot into the Windows logon screen, and Windows Safe Mode logon screen, but as soon as I try to type in a password, nothing.

And yes, the USB Mouse works fine. Yes, I can click in the password field. Yes, I can see the blinking cursor in the password field. Yes, I get only one beep from the BIOS boot (normal for this machine).

And yes, (see list above) I can boot using a BartPE Boot Disk and the keyboard works fine.

Additional info about the setup: C: drive has windows XP, SP3 installed. Drive D: is where my programs are installed. The windows environment variable that normally points to "C:\Program Files" points to "D:\Program Files" so that applications normally install onto the D drive. There are a few programs that ignore this and thus there are a few (less than 10) that install themselves into C:\Program files.

I suspect the Windows keyboard driver has become corrupt, but I'm not sure. I was advised to replace the keyboard drivers, but haven't been told which drivers they are or where they (or the replacements) should be. I have compared (using the binary option of FC) the c:\windows\system32\drivers\k*.sys files to those on a working WinXP installation, and they are the same. I have also compared the c:\windows\system32\i8042prt.sys file to one on a working WinXP installation, and it too is the same. (When I boot to the Recovery Console using the WinXP SP2 disk or with the BARTPE Boot Disk, I have access to the USB Card Reader so I can pull off up to 2GB of data onto an SD Card.)

I have multiple PCs here, running XP, and a few running Win7. This machine will not run Win7, and it is not worth upgrading at this time (which is why it needs to limp along until I can build its replacement).

I have tried to replace the "c:\windows\system32\system" file from the restore points, using the information on another site. However, all of the replacement files from 2 Restores prior are the same size and do not fix the problem. The newest one and the one prior are the same size as the "current" file (though different than the others). The one in the "restore" group is almost 2 years old!

I do have access to a WinXP SP2 Boot Disk (From MS), a WinXP SP3 update disk, a BARTPE Boot disk with WinXP SP3 slipstreamed.
I can also create a different Slipstreamed version for booting if that's what it takes. I also have access to a program to "reset or blank" the Password, but I'm not sure that is the way to go at this time.

So yes, the keyboard does work on this machine, at least until the Windows XP logon screen appears. The hardware itself is good.
But something just doesn't work.

If I can get this problem fixed, then I'm looking at being able to build my new PC in about a month and a half. (hopefully the new 3TB disk drives will be available by then!)

Thanks for any help,