Yes, I can get at BIOS. It is only in the boot process, when posting hits the Windows executable that I lose the keyboard. To be even more accurate, the keyboard still have power, it is lighted, but there is no response from key presses. Similarly, the CD has power, but isn't addressed once the Windows executable is posted.
Yes... for the most part, it is. Now, it won't boot at all, because it hangs at this early point in the boot process. However, it is an old and well-used install of Windows that probably wasn't far from a needed reinstall anyway. Having said that, I'd like to get it running again with this install of windows so I can back up files that will otherwise have to be salvaged by slaving the drive to another computer. And... I have reset the defaults in BIOS without any favorable change.
What I have done in the past is set the CD drive as the only boot device. Disable all other boot options.
This has forced the BIOS to only boot from the CD drive and not seek out any other available boot options.
Also, on my motherboard, I have a second page with boot options and my CD / DVD drive is selected there, although there is a CD drive option on the first. The drives actually show the manufacturer name.
If you try this method and it works, remember when the Windows install does it's first boot after copying the files over, to go straight into the BIOS before it boots up and include the HDD in the options again otherwise your PC will continue to boot from the CD and loop install.