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How to use and install the Recovery Console in Windows XP

In this guide you will learn...

• How to use and install the Recovery Console in Windows XP.

Real world application...

• The Recovery Console is only needed when you are having problems that require the specific use of the Recovery Console.

• As the Recovery Console contains some powerful tools it would be useful if at least you knew how to access and to use some common tools, in the event that you do have to use the Recovery Console.


The Recovery Console contains a set of powerful tools for fixing many problems that you may be experiencing. There is no mouse functionality or fancy graphical interface and anything that you want to perform will have to be typed in. Knowing exactly what to type and knowing which command to type can be a little daunting. The Recovery Console is aimed at more experienced users but there is no reason why you shouldn't be at least aware of how to access it and how to perform a few basic commands.


To use and install the Recovery Console in Windows XP you will need your Windows XP - Installation Disk. Place this disk into your CD/DVD Drive and restart your computer. Now you will now need to set your computer to boot from the BIOS.

Please see the How To Boot From The CD/DVD Drive guide on how to go about this.

The following is how to use and install the Recovery Console in Windows XP...

Press any key to boot from CD When you boot from the CD you will have to Press any key to boot from CD.

hardware configuration will be inspected Now your computer's hardware configuration will be inspected.

Loading files The Windows Setup will now load all files that are needed.

Press: R Now as we want to enter the Recovery Console, press R.

Log on Now you have to choose the Windows Installation that you want to log onto and in most cases this will be:


So type 1 and press Enter.

Then you will have to type your administrator password, so type your password and press Enter.

What Password? If you have no Administrator password then simply press Enter.

Command Actions

Command actions are the actual tools that you can use. There are many of them and to view a list of all the actions:

Type: HELP

Then press Enter.

For a more detailed description of the actions then please take a look at How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP: Command actions

Using the commands

There are many commands that can be typed and the following commands are probably the most used:

bootcfg /rebuild

The above commands can be used to delete a virus from the Master Boot Record that prevented Windows from loading. You can also rebuild the boot.ini file that may have become corrupt for one reason or another. You can also scan your hard drive for errors...

Using a Switch

A switch can be used to perform a specific function of a command. To find out all of the possible switches, type the command, then a space and type /?


chkdsk /?

Now press
Enter and you should see all the possible switches for the chkdsk command.

Chkdsk chkdsk

chkdsk is short for Check Disk and this command can be used to fix file system errors and physical hard drive problems. However it cannot actually fix a physical hard drive problem it can only mark the damaged areas so Windows knows not to use them.

At the prompt: C:\WINDOWS>

Type: chkdsk [You can use the switches for different checks]

Now press Enter and your hard disk drive will be checked.

fixmbr fixmbr

At the prompt: C:\WINDOWS>

Type: fixmbr

Now press Enter.

Type: y and then press Enter.

A new MBR will then be written.

fixboot fixboot

At the prompt: C:\WINDOWS>

Type: fixboot

Now press Enter.

Type: y and then press Enter.

A new boot sector will then be written to the C: partition.

bootcfg /rebuild

bootcfg /rebuild

At the prompt: C:\WINDOWS>

Type: bootcfg /rebuild

Now press Enter and allow it to scan for Windows Installations.

Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All): Type: y and then press Enter.

Enter Load Identifier: Type: You can type anything you want that identifies this installation of Windows

Enter OS Load Options: Type: /fastdetect and then press Enter.

This will then rebuild the boot configuration.

x:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons Install the Recovery Console

If you need to use the Recovery Console you will always have to boot from the Windows XP CD. However it is possible to install the Recovery Console so that you can select to enter the Recovery Console when you first start your computer. To do this first insert your Window XP CD in the CD/DVD-ROM drive.

Click, Start and then choose Run.

Type: x:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

[Where is x is the letter of your CD/DVD-ROM drive]

Enter and this should start the install of the Recovery Console.

Start... When the installation has completed, restart your computer. You should now be given the option to start the Recovery Console or to start Windows.


The Recovery Console is not one of the easiest tools to use; you have to know what types of command there are and which one to use. There is only one reason why you should access the Recovery Console and that is to fix a problem that you might be having. Hopefully this guide has given you an insight into the Recovery Console and what it can do. If you find yourself regularly accessing the Recovery Console you would probably be best installing it rather than having to boot from the Windows XP disk; as it is quicker.

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