Q. How can I install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP?

If you have not performed any prior configuration, you can use the Recovery Console by booting the Windows XP CD-ROM. See steps 1 -5.

I prefer to install the Recovery Console and select it from the list of available operating systems on the boot menu. To install the Recovery Console:

1. Insert the Windows XP CD into your CD-ROM drive.

2. Start / Run / <DriveLetter:>\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons / OK where <DriveLetter:> is the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive.

3. Press Yes to confirm the installation.

NOTE: You can install from a copy of the CD on a network share.

If you receive an error like Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD, see How can I slipstream (integrate) Windows XP SP2 into a Windows XP installation folder?

NOTE: If you cannot start your computer, you can run the Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD or from the Windows XP setup boot disks.

NOTE: To start the computer from the Windows XP CD, the BIOS must be configured to allow starting from the CD-ROM drive.

NOTE: You can press F6 during startup to load any 3rd-party disk driver required by your installation. See How can I add 3rd party mass storage drivers to my installed Recovery Console so I don't have to press F6 and load them?

NOTE: See tip 6658 if you wish to install the Recovery Console during an unattended installation of Windows.

To list the available commands, type help. To get help on a specific command, type help <Command>.

When working in the Recovery Console, special environment variables control the behavior. Type set to see the environment variables. You must enable the SET command. The defaults are:

AllowAllPaths = FALSE prevents access to directories and subdirectories outside the selected system.
AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE prevents access to removable media as a target for copied files.
AllowWildCards = FALSE prevents wildcard support for commands such as copy and del.
NoCopyPrompt = FALSE causes prompting to confirm overwriting an existing file.

The commands available to the Windows XP Recovery Console are:

Attrib changes attributes on one file or subdirectory.
Batch executes commands that you specify in the text file, Inputfile. Outputfile holds the output of the commands. If you omit the Outputfile parameter, output appears on the screen.
Bootcfg modifies the Boot.ini file for boot configuration and recovery.
CD (Chdir) changes the current directory (folder).
Chkdsk The /p switch runs Chkdsk even if the drive is not flagged as dirty. The /r switch, which implies /p, locates bad sectors and recovers readable information.  Chkdsk requires Autochk, which it looks for in the startup folder, prompting if it can't find it there or on the CD.
Cls clears the screen.
Copy copies one file to a target location. Copying a compressed file from the CD decompresses it.
Del (Delete) deletes one file.
Dir displays a list of all files, including hidden and system files.
Disable disables a Windows system service or driver. The variable service_or_driver is the name of the service or driver that you want to disable. When you use this command to disable a service, the command displays the service's original startup type before it changes the type to SERVICE_DISABLED.
Diskpart manages partitions on hard disk volumes. The /add option creates a new partition. The /delete option deletes an existing partition. The variable device is the device name for a new partition, like \device\harddisk0, and drive is the drive letter for a partition that you are deleting, like  D. Partition is the name for a partition that you are deleting, like \device\harddisk0\partition1 and can be used instead of the drive variable. The variable size is the size, in megabytes, of a new partition.
Enable enables a Windows system service or driver. The variable service_or_driver is the name of the service or driver that you want to enable, and start_type is the startup type for an enabled service. The startup type uses one of the following formats:
Exit quits the Recovery Console, and then restarts the computer.
Expand expands a compressed file.
Fixboot writes a new startup sector on the system partition.
Fixmbr repairs the startup partition's master boot code. The variable device is an optional name that specifies the device that requires a new Master Boot Record. Omit this variable when the target is the startup device.
Format formats a disk. The /q switch performs a quick format. The /fs switch specifies the file system.
Help If you do not use the command variable to specify a command, help lists all the commands that the Recovery Console supports.
Listsvc displays all available services and drivers on the computer.
Logon displays detected installations of Windows and requests the local Administrator password for those installations. Use this command to move to another installation or subdirectory.
Map displays currently active device mappings. Include the arc option to specify the use of Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) paths (the format for Boot.ini) instead of Windows device paths.
MD (Mkdir) makes a new folder.
More/Type displays the specified text file on screen.
Rd (Rmdir) deletes a folder.
Ren (Rename) renames a file system object.
Set displays and sets the Recovery Console environment variables.
Systemroot sets the current directory to %SystemRoot%.

If you wish to uninstall the Recovery Console, see How do I uninstall the Recovery Console?

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