This article describes the functionality and limitations of the Windows Recovery Console. If your Microsoft Windows XP-based computer does not start correctly or if it does not start at all, you can use the Windows Recovery Console to help you recover your system software. This article discusses the following topics:
How to start the Windows Recovery Console?
How to use the Command Console?
Restrictions and limitations of the Windows Recovery Console.
The commands that are available in the Windows Recovery Console.
When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can obtain limited access to the NTFS file system, FAT, and FAT32 volumes without starting the Windows graphical user interface (GUI). In the Windows Recovery Console, you can:
Use, copy, rename, or replace operating system files and folders.
Enable or disable service or device startup the next time that start your computer.
Repair the file system boot sector or the Master Boot Record (MBR).
Create and format partitions on drives.
Note: Only an administrator can obtain access to the Windows Recovery Console so that unauthorized users cannot use any NTFS volume.
Starting the Windows Recovery Console
To start the Windows Recovery Console, use one of the following methods:
Use the Windows Setup floppy disks or the Windows CD-ROM to start your computer. At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press F10 or press 'R" to repair.
Use the Winnt32.exe utility with the /cmdcons option to add the Windows Recovery Console to the Windows Startup folder. This procedure requires approximately 7 megabytes (MB) of hard disk space on the system partition to hold the Cmdcons folder and files.
229077 Mirroring prevents pre-installing the Recovery Console
Follow the instructions in the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
222478 Creating a template to run Recovery Console using a remote install server
Using the Command Console
After you start the Windows Recovery Console, you receive the following message:
Note: If you use an incorrect password three times, the Windows Recovery Console quits. Also, if the Security Accounts Manager (SAM) database is missing or damaged, you cannot use the Windows Recovery Console because you cannot have correct authentication. After you enter your password and the Windows Recovery Console starts, type exit to restart the computer.
When you use Windows XP Professional, you can set group policies to enable automatic administrative logon.
For additional informationabout how to set Recovery Console to enable automatic administrative logon, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
312149 How to enable an administrator to log on automatically in Recovery Console?
Restrictions and limitations of the Recovery Console
When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can use only the following items:
The root folder
The %SystemRoot% folder and the subfolders of the Windows installation that you are currently logged on to
The Cmdcons folder
The removable media drives such as the CD-ROM drive or the DVD-ROM drive
Note: If you try to obtain access to other folders, you may receive an "Access Denied" error message. Also, when you are using the Windows Recovery Console, you cannot copy a file from the local hard disk to a floppy disk. However, you can copy a file from a floppy disk or from a CD-ROM to a hard disk, and you can copy a file from one hard disk to another hard disk.
Use the help command to list all the following supported commands:
attrib del fixboot more set
batch delete fixmbr mkdir systemroot
bootcfg dir format more type
cd disable help net
chdir diskpart listsvc rd
chkdsk enable logon ren
cls exit map rename
copy expand md rmdir
Use the attrib command with one or more of the following parameters to change the attributes of a file or a folder:
+ : Sets an attribute
- : Resets an attribute
R : Read-only file attribute
S : System file attribute
H : Hidden file attribute
C : Compressed file attribute
You must set or clear at least one attribute.
To view attributes, use the dir command.
batch inputfile [outputfile]
Use this command to run commands that are specified in a text file. In the command syntax, inputfile specifies the text file that contains the list of commands to be run, and outputfile specifies the file that contains the output of the specified commands. If you do not specify an output file, the output appears on the screen.
Use this command for boot configuration and recovery. This command has the following options:
bootcfg /redirect [portbaudrate] | [useBiosSettings]
bootcfg /redirect com1 115200
bootcfg /redirect useBiosSettings
You can use the following options:
/add : Adds a Windows installation to the boot menu list.
/rebuild : Iterates through all Windows installations so that you can specify which installations to add.
/scan : Scans all disks for Windows installations and displays the results so that you can specify which installations to add.
/default : Sets the default boot entry.
/list : Lists the entries already in the boot menu list.
/disableredirect : Disables redirection in the boot loader.
/redirect : Enables redirection in the boot loader, with the specified configuration.
CD and CHDIR
Use the cd and chdir commands to change to a different folder. For example, you can use the following commands:
Type cd .. to change to the parent folder.
Type cd drive: to display the current folder in the specified drive.
Type cd without parameters to display the current drive and folder.
The chdir command treats spaces as delimiters. Because of this, you must put quotation marks ("") around a folder name that contains a space, for example:
cd "\windows\profiles\username\programs\start menu"
The chdir command works only in the system folders of the current installation of Windows, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources.
chkdsk drive /p /r
The chkdsk command checks the specified drive and repairs or recovers the drive if the drive requires it.The command also marks any bad sectors and it recovers readable information.
You can use the following options:
/p : Does an exhaustive check of the drive and corrects any errors.
/r : Locates bad sectors and recovers readable information.
Note: If you specify the /r option, the /p option is implied. When you specify the chkdsk command without arguments, the command checks the current drive with no options in effect.
When you run the chkdsk command, you are required to use the Autochk.exe file. CHKDSK automatically locates this file in the startup folder. If the Command Console was preinstalled, the startup folder is typically the Cmdcons folder. If CHKDSK cannot find Autochk.exe in the startup folder, CHKDSK tries to locate the Windows CD-ROM installation media. If it cannot find the installation media, CHKDSK prompts you for the location of the Autochk.exe file.
Use this command to clear the screen.
copy source destination
Use this command to copy a file. In the command syntax, source specifies the file to copy and destination specifies the folder or file name for the new file. You cannot use wildcard characters indicated by an asterisk (*), and you cannot copy a folder. If you copy a compressed file from the Windows CD-ROM, the file is automatically decompressed at the same time it is copied.
The source of the file can be removable media, any folder in the system folders of the current Windows installation, the root of any drive, the local installation sources, or the Cmdcons folder.
If destination is unspecified, the default destination is the current folder. If the file already exists, you are prompted whether you want the copied file to overwrite the existing file. The destination cannot be removable media.
DEL and DELETE
del drive: path filename
delete drive: path filename
Use this command to delete a file. In the command syntax, drive: path filename specifies the file that you want to delete. The delete command works only in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources. The delete command does not accept wildcard characters.
dir drive: path filename
Use this command to display a list of files and subfolders in a folder. In the command syntax, drive: path filename specifies the drive, folder, and files to list. The dir command lists all files, including hidden and system files. Files can have the following attributes:
D : Directory
H : Hidden file
S : System file
E : Encrypted
R : Read-only file
A : Files ready for archiving
C : Compressed
P : Reparse point
The dir command works only in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources.
Use this command to disable a Windows system service or driver. In the command syntax, servicename specifies the name of the service or driver that you want to disable.
Use the listsvc command to display all services or drivers that are eligible to be disabled. The disable command prints the old start type of the service before resetting the start type to SERVICE_DISABLED. Record the old start type if you must enable the service again.
The disable command displays the following start_type values:
diskpart /add /delete device_name drive_name partition_name size
Use this command to manage the partitions on your hard disk volumes. You can use the following options:
/add : Creates a new partition.
/delete : Deletes an existing partition.
device_name : The name of the device that is used to create a new partition.
drive_name : A drive-letter-based name, for example D:.
partition_name : The partition-based name for deleting an existing partition.
size : The size of the new partition in megabytes.
You can determine the device name from the output of the MAP command, for example, \Device\HardDisk0. You can use the partition name instead of the drive name argument, for example, \Device\HardDisk0\Partition1. If you use no arguments, a user interface for managing your partitions appears.
Warning: If you use this command, you can damage the partition table if the disk has been upgraded to a dynamic disk configuration. Do not modify the structure of dynamic disks unless you are using the Disk Management tool.
enable servicename start_type
You can use the enable command to enable a Windows system service or driver.
Use the listsvc command to display all eligible services or drivers to enable. The enable command prints the old start type of the service before resetting it to the new value. It is a good idea to note the old value, in case you have to restore the start type of the service.
Valid options for start_type are:
If you do not specify a new start type, the enable command prints the old start type for you.
Use the exit command to quit the Recovery Console and restart your computer.
expand source [/F:filespec] [destination] [/y]
expand source [/F:filespec] /D
Use this command to expand a file. In the command syntax, source specifies the name of the file to be expanded and destination specifies the folder for the new file. If you do not specify a destination, the command defaults to the current folder. You cannot include wildcard characters.
You can use the following options:
/y : Do not prompt before overwriting an existing file.
/f:filespec : Identifies the files to be expanded.
/d : Do not expand; display only a directory of the files in the source.
If the source contains more than one file, you must use the /f:filespec parameter to identify the specific files to be expanded. You can include wildcard characters.
The destination can be any folder in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in the root of the drive, in the local installation sources, or in the Cmdcons folder. The destination cannot be removable media, and the destination file cannot be read-only. Use the attrib command to remove the read-only attribute.
Unless you use the /y option, the expand command prompts you if the destination file already exists.
fixboot drive name:
Use this command to write the new Windows boot sector code on the system partition. In the command syntax, drive name is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written. This command fixes damage in the Windows boot sector. This command overrides the default setting, which writes to the system boot partition. The fixboot command is supported only on x86-based computers.
fixmbr device name
Use this command to repair the MBR of the boot partition. In the command syntax, device name is an optional device name that specifies the device that requires a new MBR. Use this command if a virus has damaged the MBR and Windows cannot start.
Warning: This command can damage your partition tables if a virus is present or if a hardware problem exists. If you use this command, you may create inaccessible partitions. We recommend that you run antivirus software before you use this command.
You can obtain the device name from the output of the map command. If you do not specify a device name, the MBR of the boot device is repaired, for example:
If the fixmbr command detects an invalid or non-standard partition table signature, fixmbr command prompts you for permission before rewriting the MBR. The fixmbr command is supported only on x86-based computers.
format drive: /Q /FS:file-system
Use this command to format the specified drive to the specified file system. In the command syntax, /Q performs a quick format of the drive, drive is the drive letter of the partition to format, and /FS:file-system specifies the type of file system to use such as FAT, FAT32, or NTFS. If you do not specify a file system, the existing file system format is used if it is available.
The listsvc command lists all available services, drivers, and their start types for the current Windows installation. This command is useful in conjunction with the disable and enable commands.
The list is extracted from the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\System hive. If the System hive is damaged or missing, the results are unpredictable.
The logon command lists all detected installations of Windows and then requests the local administrator password for the copy of Windows that you want to log on to. If your first three tries to log on do not succeed, the console quits, and your computer restarts.
Use this command to list drive letters, file system types, partition sizes, and mappings to physical devices. In the command syntax, the arc parameter tells the map command to use ARC paths instead of Windows Device paths.
MD and MKDIR
The md and mkdir commands create new folders. Wildcard characters are not supported. The mkdir command works only in the system folders of the current installation of Windows, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources.
Use this command to display a text file to the screen.
Although the Help file states otherwise, the net command is not usable from the Recovery Console. The protocols stack is not loaded for the Recovery Console. Therefore, there is no networking function available.
RD and RMDIR
Use rd and rmdir commands to delete a folder. These commands work only in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources.
REN and RENAME
Use the ren and rename commands to rename a file.
Note: You cannot specify a new drive or path for the renamed file. These commands work only in the system folders of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root folder of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation sources.
You can use the set to display or modify four environment options.
AllowWildCards = FALSE AllowAllPaths = FALSE AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE NoCopyPrompt = FALSE
For additional information about how to use the set command, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
235364 Description of the SET command in the Recovery Console
The systemroot command sets the current working folder to the %SystemRoot% folder of the Windows installation that you are currently logged on to.
Use the type command to display a text file.
The information in this article applies to:
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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