My venerable tower just quit working. Panicsville. I found my keyboard didn't answer any boot handshakes. tried several keyboards all were non responsive. computer boots to password sign in screen. no keyboard...no password. There must be a way to get in to my winxp(sp3) machine and take what I want off the drives and donate the box to the gold recovery team at the landfill.
johnd

There must be a way to get in to my winxp(sp3) machine and take what I want off the drives

If you are unable to resolve your keyboard/booting issue, you could always pull out the drives, plug them into another system via USB/IDE interface, read the drives and copy off your important data to another storage device.

Not sure which keyboard socket you're referring to but I am assuming it's a USB port. Have you tried other USB ports in your computer? Other USB keyboards perhaps?

The keyboard socket is on the motherboard next to the mouse socket. No it's not a USB keyboard. But i was wondering if a wireless keyboard would get me past the password screen. Any views on that anyone?
johnd

Would a wireless keyboard get me past the password screen? I know my password, I just need to be able to enter it.

Normally a wireless keyboard will function similarly to USB keyboard. If you can get to the Windows logon screen then it is most likely to work. I would suggest a wired USB keyboard though as it normally have drivers ready as soon as you plug them in.

edit:
one more thing, if you can move the mouse then I believe you can access the on-screen keyboard from the logon screen

If you have a plug for your keyboard, try using a usb keyboard instead. The socket may have failed.

But be warned! Other sockets may also start to fail after a period of time. As long as you can get around them, you can still keep working. I've got a thin client where the ethernet, parallel port, and mouse socket stopped working. One usb ethernet, usb printer and usb mouse later, it's still working.