To get the most out of Windows XP Professional Edition or Windows 2000's Recovery Console (RC), you need to use the Group Policy Editor (GPE--i.e., gpedit.msc) or Local Security Policy (i.e., secpol.msc) to enable the option Recovery Console: Allow floppy copy and access to all drives and all folders. If you don't enable this option before trying to use the RC, your disaster-recovery choices will be limited. For more information about the option, see the Microsoft article "HOW TO: Copy Files from Recovery Console to Removable Media" (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=240831).
XP Home Edition doesn't have gpedit.msc or secpol.msc. However, you can edit the registry to enable the policy in XP Home. Start regedit and navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole registry subkey. Double-click SetCommand and set the value to 1. Close the registry editor, then restart the computer. Next, log on as Administrator and start the system in the RC.
Finally, follow the instructions in the JSI FAQ 2615, "The SET command in the Windows 2000 Recovery Console" (http://www.jsiinc.com/subf/tip2600/rh2615.htm), to configure four environment variables that expand the RC's functionality. You will then have complete access to all the drives and folders on your XP or Win2K system for disaster recovery.