How to Use the Windows XP Recovery Console

The Windows XP Recovery Console can be used to repair problems which prevent a Windows XP system from booting.

Boot Windows XP from CD or Floppy

First, boot the computer from the Microsoft Windows XP CD. Before you start the process, go into your BIOS settings and ensure that your CD-ROM drive has the highest drive priority and not the disk drive or some other drive.

If you don’t have a Microsoft Windows XP CD, or if the computer you are working on does not have a CD drive, you can boot from a set of Windows XP Bootable disks. If you need a set of boot disks, read How to obtain Windows XP Setup boot disks.

Start the XP Recovery Console

When the system boots, you will be presented with a screen that gives you three choices:

This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft Windows XP to run on your computer: To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER. To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R. To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3

Press the R key to start the Recovery Console.How to Use the Windows XP Recovery Console

Choose which Windows Installation to Repair

The next prompt will ask you which Windows installation you want to recover:

The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality. Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer. 1: C:WINDOWS Which Windows Installation would you like to log on to (To cancel, press ENTER)?

Enter the Windows XP Administrator Password

When prompted, enter the Microsoft Windows XP Local Administrator password. If you do not know this password, read How can I recover a lost Windows XP Administrator Password?.

Recovery Console Commands

Once you are in the Recovery Console, you have a number of commands available to utilize to repair the system.

Command Purpose
Attrib Changes the attributes of a file or directory
Batch Executes the commands specified in the text file
Bootcfg Boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery
CD / ChDir Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current directory
Chkdsk Checks a disk and displays a status report
Cls Clears the screen
Copy Copies a single file to another location
Del / Delete Deletes one or more files
Dir Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory
Disable Disables a system service or a device driver
Diskpart Manages partitions on your hard drives
Enable Starts or enables a system service or a device driver
Exit Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer
Expand Extracts a file from a compressed file
Fixboot Writes a new partition boot sector onto the specified partition
Fixmbr Repairs the master boot record of the specified disk
Format Formats a disk
Help Displays a list of the commands you can use in the Recovery Console
Listsvc Lists the services and drivers available on the computer
Logon Logs on to a Windows installation
Map Displays the drive letter mappings
MD / Mkdir Creates a directory
More Displays a text file
Net Use Connects a network share to a drive letter
Ren / Rename Renames a single file
RD / Rmdir Deletes a directory
Set Displays and sets environment variables
Systemroot Sets the current directory to the systemroot directory
Type Displays a text file.

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