Windows XP

Install Windows 2000/XP/2003 Recovery Console

How can I install the Windows XP/2000 Recovery Console? How can I start the computer and use the Recovery Console from the Setup CD-ROM?

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.

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.

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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.

  1. A Windows Setup Dialog Box appears, which describes the Recovery Console option.
  2. The system prompts you to confirm installation. Click Yes to start the installation procedure.
  3. 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.

Running Recovery Console without installing it

If you cannot start your computer, you can run the Recovery Console from the Microsoft Windows XP/2000 startup disks or the Windows XP/2000 CD-ROM.

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.

  2. Click to select any options that are required to start the computer from the CD-ROM drive if you are prompted to do so.
  3. When you’re prompted to press F6 for mass storage devices – press F10 instead. This will automatically start the Recovery Console.
  4. Alternatively, when the “Welcome to Setup” screen appears, press R to start the Recovery Console.
  5. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, choose the installation that you need to access from the Recovery Console.
  6. When you are prompted to do so, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER.
  7. 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.

To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

Further Reading

Recovery Console topics include:


Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console – 314058

Install and Use the Recovery Console in Windows XP – 307654

Related Topics:


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