On an HP Proliant DL 380 G5 server with Windows 2003 Server, the annoying "A device or service failed to start" occurred during boot. The computer shared screen, mouse and keyboard with another computer via a KVM switch. Event log showed a "i8042prt failed to start" event.
The solution was found on HPs support pages. In brief, it states that the following regkey must be changed:
The value Headless must be changed to value 0x1 (REG_DWORD)
Data: 0x1 (Allow Hotplugging) | 0x0 (Hotplugging not allowed)
Problem cause (assumed): This happens when the computer boots without finding any keyboard/mouse. This occurs when the computer is connected to a KVM switch and the KVM serves another computer during boot.