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  • How to Use the Windows XP Recovery Console

    What is The Recovery Console?

    The Recovery Console is a command-line prompt that is available in most versions of the Windows Operating System. It allows users to repair/replace broken, corrupted, or missing system files. These files are crucial to Windows’ normal functionality and performance and the entire operating system can stop working if these files are damaged. In fact, Windows may not startup at all when these files are missing and this will require the user to open the Recovery Console from the Installation CD or boot menu. The Recovery Console can be found in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Servers 2003. However, it has been replaced in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with an array of features known as System Recovery.

    How To Install The Recovery Console

    How to Use the Windows XP Recovery ConsoleThe Recovery Console can be used right from the installation CD that came with the computer. If this disc is no longer available, the user can open the Recovery Console in the boot menu, but only if it has been previously installed on the computer. This can be done by inserting the installation CD into the CD-ROM or mounting a virtual disc using a Windows XP ISO file and a mounting software such as Daemon Tools. Click Start and open the Run application. Type in F:i386winnt32.exe /cmdcons, with “F:” being the CD Drive letter. The Recovery Console installation process will begin. When the Recovery Console installs, it will connect to the Internet to perform a Dynamic Update that will update all of its system files in order to provide the user with a reliable backup. The user can opt out of this update by pressing ESC, causing the Recovery Console to use the system files it already has. The installation process is complete and the user should restart his/her computer.

    Start the XP Recovery Console

    When the system boots, you will see 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.

    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

    The Recovery Console can be used to repair and replace virtually any system file of the Windows Operating System. The user can find a full list of commands by typing “Help” into the command prompt. Some examples of Recovery Console commands are listed below:

    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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