Using the cd I used the process pinned in this forum.
Everything was going well until I had to input the key.
While in cmos my keyboard and mouse were recognized, during XP repair they were not.
I tried every port and nothing worked.
I couldn't do a 3 finger salute, so I unplugged to try a ps2 to usb adapter.
Aparently the keyboard was not compatable, but I didnt realize this for several minutes as I had walked away for the initial start up.
I once again had to pull the plug, then tried restarting.
Now, after cmos, it goes to "resume startup", the cd starts spinning, lights act like its reading the cd, and there's dots that start appearing for a minute then it just completely restarts.
This is a cycle that just repeats.
I used F8 and got that screen, but any optional start up I select it reverts back to the xp resume screen, and the power cycling starts all over.
fyi, the desktop has expensive takeoff and estimating software on it.
I run a small company, and that hard drive has the only legal copies.
Even if I renew the year service contract I will lose the estimates and blueprints already on there.
That is why a reformat is not an option.
Any suggestions besides a really big hammer?