Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Windows XP supports USB keyboards, but before it boots there's a period where your USB keyboard may, or may not, work.
Will my XP computer work with a USB keyboard?
Yes, and possibly no.
It really depends on exactly what you're asking.
Windows XP supports USB keyboards regardless of what machine you are on. If your machine has USB ports, they're working and Windows has the appropriate drivers installed (which it should by default), and your USB keyboard works, then absolutely - Windows should work with that keyboard.
Seems simple enough, right?
The problem is what happens before Windows XP loads.
Before Windows XP boots, whether or not your keyboard will work has nothing to do with Windows.
Before Windows is loaded it's your computer, or rather your computer's BIOS, that determines whether or not a USB keyboard can be used. And even then, that's only for as long as the BIOS is in control.
The most common example is a machine such as my old desktop machine. Its BIOS did not support USB keyboards. That means that I could not access the BIOS settings or interrupt the boot process with a key press. However, once Windows was loaded, the keyboard worked just fine.
If I needed to access the BIOS settings my only recourse was to get a standard PS2 keyboard, power down the machine, plug it in, and reboot. The machine, or again more correctly that machine's BIOS, recognized the PS2 keyboard and I could manipulate all the BIOS settings I wanted. Once I was done, I would once again power down, unplug the PS2 keyboard, and reboot into Windows where the USB keyboard would once again work.
The BIOS installed on most recent machines support USB keyboards from the very beginning. But most older machines do not, and you have to resort to the same tricks I had to if you want to play with BIOS settings or other things available before Windows boots up and enables its more extensive USB support.
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