How to use the Windows Recovery Console?


The Microsoft Windows recovery console was first introduced in Microsoft Windows 2000 and is available in all later versions of Windows including Windows XP. This feature enables users to recover, change, or fix files or settings that may be causing their computer not to boot properly.

Before using Microsoft Windows recovery console note following points:

  1. You will need to know the Microsoft Windows administrator password.
  2. Before running the Windows recovery console you need to realize you will need to have at least some experience using MS-DOS.
  3. You only have access to root directory and the Microsoft Windows or Winnt directory. This means you cannot open any other directory.

Getting Started:

First, to get into the Microsoft Windows recovery console you must have a Microsoft Windows CD. Place the Windows CD in your computer and boot from the CD.

Note:If you do not have a standard Microsoft Windows XP CD you can get into the recovery console by using the Windows XP bootable diskettes. If you need a set of boot disks, check How to obtain Windows XP Setup boot disks.

Once in the Microsoft Windows Setup screen choose one of the below options, depending on which version of Microsoft Windows you are using.

Windows 2000 users :

  1. To repair a Windows 2000 installation, press R.
  2. To repair a Windows 2000 installation by using the recovery console, press C.

Windows XP users :

  1. To repair a Windows XP installation using recovery console, press R.

Now choose which Windows Installation to Repair. The next prompt will ask you which Windows installation you want to recover:

Microsoft Windows(R) Recovery Console

The Recovery Console provides system repair and recovery functionality.
Type EXIT to quit the Recovery Console and restart the computer.


Which Windows Installation would you like to log on to
(To cancel, press ENTER)?

Therefore press 1 if you wish to edit the primary Windows installation.

Enter the Windows XP Administrator Password:

After selecting the installation you will be prompted for the administrator password, enter the password exactly as you would in Windows. If you do not know the Windows administrator password you cannot enter the recovery mode.
Finally after you have entered the password you will be at a MS-DOS prompt similar to the MS-DOS shell window you can get through Windows. However, you will also have access to many additional commands not found in standard MS-DOS mode.

Typing in help at the prompt will give a complete listing of all commands available through the prompt.




Changes the attributes of a file or directory


Executes the commands specified in the text file


Boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery

CD / ChDir

Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current directory


Checks a disk and displays a status report


Clears the screen


Copies a single file to another location

Del / Delete

Deletes one or more files


Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory


Disables a system service or a device driver


Manages partitions on your hard drives


Starts or enables a system service or a device driver


Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer


Extracts a file from a compressed file


Writes a new partition boot sector onto the specified partition


Repairs the master boot record of the specified disk


Formats a disk


Displays a list of the commands you can use in the Recovery Console


Lists the services and drivers available on the computer


Logs on to a Windows installation


Displays the drive letter mappings

MD / Mkdir

Creates a directory


Displays a text file

Net Use

Connects a network share to a drive letter

Ren / Rename

Renames a single file

RD / Rmdir

Deletes a directory


Displays and sets environment variables


Sets the current directory to the systemroot directory


Displays a text file.