Using Recovery Console in Windows 2000 / XP

The Recovery Console is a command prompt environment that is useful for emergency repair of the normal Windows installation (Like creating the Emergency Recover Disks). One can access the recovery console by booting from a Windows 2000/XP install CD-ROM:
  1. Insert the Windows install CD-ROM, and boot the computer.
  2. When the text-based part of Setup begins, follow the prompts. Select the repair or recover option by pressing R.
  3. Select the Windows installlation you want to repair and enter your Administrator password.
Note the password for the builtin administrator account on Windows XP is usually blank, so just press enter when it requests for a password.

Note one still need to have a floppy disk with 3rd party drivers for SCSI/SATA and such, when booting with the Recovery Console. Unless Installing Recovery Console with 3rd party controller drivers

Note the Recovery Console can also be used to repair old Windows NT4 installations.

More info MS KB229716
More info MS KB326215
More info MS KB313670
More info MS KB301645
More info MS KB314058
Useful commands in the Recovery Console
  • FIXBOOT - Restores the boot sector in case another OS (Ex. Win98) has overwritten it, and sets the boot partition as active partition.
  • FIXMBR - Restores the master boot record(MBR) in case a virus or similar has corrupted it
  • DISKPART - HDD Partition Utility (Similar to FDISK in DOS)
  • CHKDSK - Scandisk utility (The "/r" -option is good when getting "Delayed Write Failed" errors. More Info MS KB330174)
  • LISTSVC - Shows services installed, when launched in the WINNT\SYSTEM32 folder.
  • DISABLE <service name> - Will disable the service specified when launched in the WINNT\SYSTEM32 folder (Which might keep your system from booting)
  • ENABLE <service name> - Will enable the service specified when launched in the WINNT\SYSTEM32 folder (Which might enable your system to boot)
  • EXPAND - Makes it possible to restore compressed system files from the install cd. (Ex. ATAPI.SYS)
  • BATCH - Makes it possible to execute batch files. (Ex. to uninstall hotfix/patches from Microsoft). More Info MS KB825062
  • BOOTCFG - Makes it easier to configure/rebuild the boot manager boot.ini (WinXP+ only). More info MS KB291980 More info MS KB317521
  • Using Recovery Console to restore registry files
More info MS KB235364
Configure Recovery Console Security
Note one can lessen the security for the recovery console to have easier access. Run "secpol.msc" and go here "Local Policies" -> "Security Options"
  • "Recovery Console: Allow Automatic Administrative Logon" : Then you don't need to remember your admin password (People still need to get physical access to the machine)
  • "Recovery Console: Allow floppy copy and access to all drives and all folders" : To give you access to the whole machine
More info MS KB310497
More info MS KB312149
Installing Recovery Console
Instead of having to find the Windows install CD every time the Recovery Console is needed, then one can install the Recovery Console on the computer. This is also useful if the computer cannot boot from a CD-ROM.

Inside Windows run the following command (X: is your CD-Drive containing the Windows CD-ROM)

X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

Note when having installed the Recovery Console on the computer, then it becomes part of the standard boot menu. It is possible to install extra drivers to the Recovery Console, so one doesn't need extra floppies to load disk controller drivers (Also useful if there is no floppy drive in the computer).

Note that if the system drive is mirrored, then you need to break the mirror before installing Recovery Console and then create the mirror again with Disk Administrator.

More info MS KB307654
More info MS KB318752

Updated: 15 January 2011

Comments:

  1. Patryk says:

    What do I have to do because I do not have a password on my Computer , what should I do???

    BTW
    I am using a XP Home edition to recover a compressed bootmgr.

  2. Snakefoot says:

    Patryk wrote:
    I do not have a password on my Computer , what should I do???

    Have you tried to just press the enter-key when being requested for a password (blank password).

  3. hk verma says:

    i have window vista home premium os in my toshiba l-500 d-6310 .
    my prblem is that when i start laptop show BOOTMGR IS MISSING .TO RESTART PRESH ctrl+alt+del.pls give me solution

  4. Snakefoot says:

    hk verma wrote:
    my prblem is that when i start laptop show BOOTMGR IS MISSING .TO RESTART PRESH ctrl+alt+del

    This should help ya Restore boot manager when it is missing

  5. Nellie says:

    God I forgot my admin password... What can I do now??

  6. Snakefoot says:

    Nellie wrote:
    God I forgot my admin password… What can I do now??

    Have you tried to just press the enter-key when being requested for a password (blank password).

  7. Jon says:

    after pressing "r" it get stuck saying "Examining 38147 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 atapi..." what to do next because its like that for hours

  8. Snakefoot says:

    Jon wrote:
    after pressing “r” it get stuck saying “Examining 38147 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 atapi…”

    This usually means that something is wrong with the hard drive.

    Try to disconnect and re-attach the cables to the hard drive. If that doesn't solve the problem, then use the disk drive diagnostic tools from the manufacture of the hard drive to see if anything is wrong.

  9. boon says:

    hello, I have pressed when requested a password. But it says my password is wrong. So far I do not use any passwords. What should I do now?

  10. Jack says:

    Using recovery console is useless it asked for a password that doesnt exist and what ever you type it doesnt accept

    it doesnt accept even blank password...

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