I cannot restart my computer because of missing or corrupt system32 file message appears. I am asked to insert the CD ROM set up disk to and reboot from it.

Unfortunately, Windows XP was already installed on the PC when I purchased it 2 years ago and it doesn't have a CD to restart from. Have spent hours reading all the material available on the web including the download available from Microsoft with the necessary files. But the download requires 6 x 1.44mb floppy disks. Since I don't have a floppy drive, this is of no use to me.

The only CD I have is the back-up CD which will restore my whole computer to its factory settings, meaning I stand to lose all my data files.

Can anyone help me with this problem?

Hmm. Well on my comp the back up CD works like the windows CD for repairing and such. Have you tried to use the backup CD for the repair,if not then try it. One option would be to get a floppy drive and attach it to your computer but that would cost some cash so that wouldn't be the best. Also have you tried booting into safe mode? If you haven't try and see if it will work.

All the options give with the back up CD warn that my data files will be deleted. Don't really like that idea!
I live and work in Mozambique, Africa - no technical assistance or components available here.
Pressing F8 in the start up process now gives me a message - NO OPERATING SYSTEM
I may have not choice but to 'bite the bullet' and recover/restore my computer to factory settings.

if you have axcess to another computer you could install the drive in it as slave and remove you data to the drive in the other computer to be reinstall after you format.also some recovery's give the option to do a nondestructive recovery