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2012-04-06

A+: The Recovery Console (XP and 2000 only)

The Windows Recovery Console is a special command-line interface that is designed for copying files and performing disk repairs. In Windows 2000, you can use the Recovery Console as an alternative to the Emergency Repair process, such as if you need to restore only one system file. Windows XP lacks the Emergency Repair provision, so understanding how to use the Recovery Console is even more important.

Use Recovery Console in XP and 2000 when the system cannot start from the hard disk because of missing or corrupted boot files, or when other types of missing system files prevent the computer from starting in Safe Mode.

To start Windows XP’s Recovery Console, you have two options:

    • Option 1—Boot your system with the Windows XP CD and run the Recovery Console as a repair option.

    • Option 2—While the system is working properly, install the Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD-ROM. It will appear automatically as a startup option when you restart your computer.

To start Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD, follow these steps:

    Step 1. Boot the system from the Windows XP CD.

    Step 2. When prompted, press R to start the Recovery Console. (In Windows 2000, you would press R for Repair, and then C for the Recovery Console.)

To log into Recovery Console:

    Step 1. Select the installation to log into. (Do this by pressing the number that corresponds to the operating system.)

    Step 2. Provide the administrator password for the system.

To copy Recovery Console from the Windows XP/2000 CD:

    Step 1. While Windows is running, insert the Windows CD into the CD or DVD drive.

    Step 2. Click Start, Run.

    Step 3. In the Run prompt, type x:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons where x is the drive letter for the CD or DVD drive.

    Step 4. To confirm the installation, click Yes in the Windows Setup dialog box describing Recovery Console.

    Step 5. Restart the computer. The next time that you start your computer, Microsoft Windows Recovery Console appears on the startup menu. Select it to start Recovery Console.

The Recovery Console contains some of the same commands that are available in the normal command-line interface, along with additional commands that are necessary only for repairing the installation.

  The Recovery Console permits access to only the following locations:

        • The root folder (root directory)

        • The %SystemRoot% (Windows) folder and its subfolders

        • The Cmdcons folder

        • Removable media drives such as CD and DVD drives

    In other words, you cannot use the Recovery Console to access files not stored in these folders, such as users’ data files.


 For Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, the path to use in Step 3 is x:\amd64\winnt32.exe /cmdcons.

If the C: partition or the boot sector of the hard drive is damaged, you will most likely not be able to boot to the Recovery Console on the hard drive. In this case, you will have to use Option 1 and boot off the CD-ROM.

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