How To Install & Use Recovery Console

Posted in Windows XP by Community Submission

Below is a cut & past copy of the following link:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q307 654

The reason for the copy is in the off chance the MS page isn't available when you need it. I urge everyone to install the Recovery Console as an option at boot. Again, this is a direct copy:

HOW TO: Install and Use the Recovery Console in Windows XP

View products that this article applies to.

This article was previously published under Q307654

SUMMARY

The Windows Recovery console is designed to help you recover when your Windows-Based computer does not start properly or does not start at all. If Safe mode and other startup options do not work, you can consider using the Recovery Console. This method is recommended only if you are an advanced user who can use basic commands to identify and locate problem drivers and files. In addition, you must be an administrator to use the Recovery Console.

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Installing the Recovery Console

You can install the Recovery Console on your computer to make it available in case you are unable to restart Windows. You can then select the Recovery Console option from the list of available operating systems on startup. It is wise to install the Recovery Console on important servers, and on the workstations of IT personnel. This article describes how you can install the Recovery Console to your Windows XP computer. To install the Recovery Console, you must have administrative rights on the computer.

Although you can run the Recovery console by booting directly from the Windows XP CD, it's much more convenient to set it up as a startup option on your boot menu. To run directly by booting from the CD see the "Using the Recovery Console" section later in this article.

To install the Recovery Console, perform the following steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type d:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons where d is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive.
  4. A Windows Setup Dialog Box appears, which describes the Recovery Console option. The system prompts you to confirm installation. Click Yes to start the installation procedure.
  5. Restart the computer. The next time you start your computer, you will see a "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" entry on the boot menu.
NOTE: Alternatively, you can use a UNC to install the Recovery Console from a network share point.

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Using the Recovery Console

You can enable and disable services, format drives, read and write data on a local drive (including drives that are formatted to use the NT File System (NTFS), and perform many other administrative tasks. The Recovery Console is particularly useful if you need to repair your computer by copying a file from a disk or CD-ROM to your hard disk, or if you need to reconfigure a service that is preventing your computer from starting properly.

If you cannot start your computer, you can run the Recovery Console from the Microsoft Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD-ROM. This article describes how to perform this task.

After Windows XP is installed on your computer, to start the computer and use the Recovery Console you need the Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD-ROM.

For additional information about how to create Startup disks for Windows XP (they are not included with Windows XP), click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

310994 Obtaining Windows XP Setup Boot Disks

NOTE: To start the computer from the Windows XP CD-ROM, you need to configure the basic input/output system (BIOS) of the computer to boot from your CD-ROM drive.

To run the Recovery Console from the Windows XP startup disks or the Windows XP CD-ROM, use the following steps:
  1. Insert the Windows XP startup disk into the floppy disk drive, or insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive, and then restart the computer.

    Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  2. When the "Welcome to Setup" screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
  3. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, choose the installation that you need to access from the Recovery Console.
  4. When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
  5. At the command prompt, type the appropriate commands to diagnose and repair your Windows XP installation.

    For a list of commands that are available in Recovery Console, type recovery console commands or help at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

    For information about a specific command, type help commandname at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
  6. To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
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Using the Recovery Console Command Prompt

When you use the Recovery Console, you are working at a special command prompt rather than the usual Windows command prompt. The Recovery Console has its own command interpreter. To enter this command interpreter, you are prompted by Recovery Console to type the Administrator password (the local Administrator, not a domain Administrator).

When the Recovery Console starts, you have the opportunity to press F6 to install a third-party SCSI or RAID driver, in case you need such a driver to access the hard disk. This prompt works the same as it does during installation of the operating system.

The Recovery Console takes a few seconds to start. When the Recovery Console menu is displayed, a numbered list of the Windows installations on the computer is displayed (usually only one entry-c:\Windows-exists). Press a number before you press ENTER, even when only one entry appears. If you press ENTER without choosing a number, the computer restarts and begins the process again.

When you see the prompt for %SystemRoot% (usually C:\Windows), you can begin using the available commands for the Recovery Console.

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Command Actions

The following list describes the available commands for the Recovery Console:
  • 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 is displayed on the screen.
  • Bootcfg is used to manipulate the Boot.ini for boot configuration and recovery.
  • CD (Chdir) operates only within the system directories of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root directory of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
  • Chkdsk The /p switch runs Chkdsk even if the drive is not flagged as dirty. The /r switch locates bad sectors and recovers readable information; this switch implies /p. Chkdsk requires Autochk. Chkdsk automatically looks for Autochk.exe in the startup (or boot) folder. If Chkdsk cannot find the file in the startup folder, it looks for the Windows 2000 Setup CD-ROM. If Chkdsk cannot find the installation CD-ROM, it prompts the user for the location of Autochk.exe.
  • Cls clears the screen.
  • Copy copies one file to a target location. By default, the target cannot be removable media and you cannot use wildcards. Copying a compressed file from the Windows 2000 Setup CD-ROM automatically decompresses the file.
  • Del (Delete) deletes one file. Operates within the system directories of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root directory of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources. You cannot use wildcards by default.
  • 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, it displays the service's original startup type before changing the type to SERVICE_DISABLED. You should note the original startup type so that you can use the enable command to restart the service.
  • 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 (such as \device\harddisk0). The variable drive is the drive letter for a partition that you are deleting (for example, D); partition is the partition-based name for a partition that you are deleting, (for example: \device\harddisk0\partition1) and can be used in place 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:

    SERVICE_BOOT_START
    SERVICE_SYSTEM_START
    SERVICE_AUTO_START
    SERVICE_DEMAND_START

  • Exit quits the Recovery Console, and then restarts the computer.
  • Expand expands a compressed file. The variable source is the file that you want to expand; you cannot use wildcard characters by default. The variable destination is the directory for the new file; by default, the destination cannot be removable media and cannot be read-only; you can use the attrib command to remove the read-only attribute from the destination directory. The option /f:filespec is required if the source contains more than one file; this option permits wildcards. The /y switch disables the overwrite confirmation prompt. The /d switch specifies that the files should not be expanded and displays a directory of the files in the source.
  • Fixboot writes a new boot sector on the system partition.
  • Fixmbr repairs the boot partition's master boot code. The variable device is an optional name that specifies the device that needs a new MBR; omit this variable when the target is the boot 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) operates only within the system directories of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root directory of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
  • More/Type displays the specified text file (such as, filename) on screen.
  • Net Use connects to a remote share for the Windows XP Recovery Console. The following text describes the syntax for this command:
    NET USE [devicename | *] [\\computername\sharename[\volume] [password | *]]
            [/USER:[domainname\]username]
            [/USER:[dotted domain name\]username]
            [/USER:[[email protected] domain name]
            [/SMARTCARD]
            [/SAVECRED]
            [[/DELETE] | [/PERSISTENT:{YES | NO}]]
    
    NET USE {devicename | *} [password | *] /HOME
    
    NET USE [/PERSISTENT:{YES | NO}]
    					
  • Rd (Rmdir) operates only within the system directories of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root directory of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
  • Ren (Rename) operates only within the system directories of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root directory of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources. You cannot specify a new drive or path as the target.
  • Set displays and sets the Recovery Console environment variables.
  • Systemroot sets the current directory to %SystemRoot%.
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Recovery Console Rules

Several environment rules are in effect while you are working in the Recovery Console. Type set to see the current environment. By default, these are the rules:
  • AllowAllPaths = FALSE, which prevents access to directories and subdirectories outside the system installation that you selected when you entered the Recovery Console.
  • AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE, which prevents access to removable media as a target for copied files.
  • AllowWildCards = FALSE, which prevents wildcard support for commands such as copy and del.
  • NoCopyPrompt = FALSE, which means that you are prompted by the Recovery Console for confirmation when overwriting an existing file.
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Deleting the Recovery Console

To delete the Recovery Console:
  1. Restart your computer, click Start, click My Computer, and then double-click the hard disk on which you installed the Recovery Console.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  3. Click Show hidden files and folders, click to clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, and then click OK.
  4. At the root folder, delete the Cmdcons folder and the Cmldr file.
  5. At the root folder, right-click the Boot.ini file, and then click Properties.
  6. Click to clear the Read-only check box, and then click OK.
  7. WARNING: Modifying the Boot.ini file incorrectly may prevent your computer from restarting. Be sure to delete only the entry for the Recovery Console. Also, it is recommended that you change the attribute for the Boot.ini file back to a read-only state after you complete this procedure. Open the Boot.ini file in Microsoft Windows Notepad, and remove the entry for the Recovery Console. It looks similar to this:

    C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

  8. Save the file and close it.
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