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Windows XP Recovery Console FAQ

September 2nd, 2011 No comments

This article discusses, explains and gives solutions for all the possible questions one may have about the Windows XP Recovery Console. It’s a great time saver for newbies looking for an all-in-one FAQ article on the Windows XP Recovery Console.

Note: The term, “setup disc” and “installation disc” used in this post, both mean the same thing and refer to the Windows XP installation disc.

 

 

1. What is the recovery console?

2. What are the requirements for using the Windows Recovery Console?

3. What is the Recovery Console used for and when should it be used?

4. What can the Recovery Console do for me?

5. I use an imaging software regularly to backup my Windows partition. Do I really need to know about the Recovery Console?

6. Which versions of Windows support the Recovery Console?

OR

On which versions of Windows does the Recovery Console work?

7. What happened to the Recovery Console on other Windows versions like Vista and 7?

8. What should be done before using the Recovery Console?

9. How to get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP?

10. How to install the Recovery Console, after Windows is already installed?

OR

I have a working Windows XP system. How can I install the recovery console on the hard disk drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option?

11. How to start the Recovery Console directly from the Windows XP CD?

OR

How can I start the computer and use the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc?

OR

How can I run the Recovery Console without installing it?

 

 

 

 

 

12. I don’t have the Windows installation disc and I don’t want to install the Recovery Console on the hard drive. Can I download the Recovery Console from somewhere and put it on disc?

13. How to delete or remove the Recovery Console installation from the system?

14. In what circumstances, is the Recovery Console helpful?

15. How is the Recovery Console Accessed?

OR

How to start the Recovery Console?

16. How to access the Recovery Console without a Windows XP disc?

17. How to enter the Recovery Console if the administrator password is lost or forgotten?

18. Is there a way to make Windows XP not ask a password for the Administrator account only in the Recovery Console?

19. How to use the Recovery Console?

20. Which commands can be used in the recovery console?

21. Can the recovery console be used to remove malware (spyware/viruses/trojans)? If yes, how?

22. How to access the Recovery Console if the Windows XP computer doesn’t even boot or start up?

OR

How do I get to the recovery console if my Windows XP crashed and doesn’t boot?

23. Why doesn’t my Windows XP installation CD give me the option to start the recovery console? Where is it?

OR

I don’t see any option to start the Recovery Console, using my Windows XP disc. How do I start the Recovery Console?

OR

How can I get to the Windows Recovery Console without an official Windows Setup CD?

 

24. While booting the Windows XP computer using the setup disc, I get the error, “Setup did not find any hard disk drives in your computer.” , but the hard drive is connected and working. What’s the problem and how to solve it?

25. Where can I find drivers for my hard disk controller? How can I tell what kind of hard disk controller I have?

26. After installing the XP Recovery Console, I get the error “BIOSINFO.INF is missing (Error 14)”. Where can I get this file or how can I solve this problem?

27.I get a BSOD (blue screen of death), every time I try to install the Recovery Console. How can I install the Recovery Console?

 

 

 

Advanced usage of the Recovery Console:

28. What are the limitations of the Recovery Console and how to remove them?

29. How to install Recovery Console during an unattended installation?

30. I don’t have access to the normal mode or the safe mode in Windows XP. Using the Recovery Console, can I somehow find out, which version of the service pack is installed on the system?

31. If I try to install the Recovery Console on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer, I receive the following error message:

Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.

32. Can I use system restore for restoring the system from within the recovery console? If yes, how?

OR

How can I use the Recovery Console to restore the system to an earlier state?

33.  How to uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack via the Recovery Console?

34. How to create an XP Recovery Console on a USB flash drive, which is bootable?

OR

Is it possible to create and use a Recovery Console on a USB flash drive? If yes, how?

 

 

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Q.1. What is the recovery console?

Ans. The Recovery Console is a command-based, set of diagnostic tools available in some Windows versions.

It is a text mode troubleshooting and recovery tool introduced by Microsoft in Windows 2000 and later versions of Windows, including Windows XP. It helps recover, change or fix files or settings which could cause the computer not to function properly. It is available on the XP installation discs and can be installed to the hard drive as an extra boot option. It allows you to boot from disc and run a command-line “console”, from within which you can examine your hard disk, copy files and fix problems.

Many people don’t know or haven’t even heard of the Recovery Console. But when their system fails to boot, it could be too late to learn about this tool.

If your Windows system can’t boot even in the Safe Mode,the Last Known Good Configuration, or other boot menu options, you can try using the Recovery Console to restore the system to an earlier system restore point. Since this method involves using commands to find and troubleshoot Windows problems, you should be an advanced Windows user, who knows how to use at least some basic commands. You should also have an administrator password, to log on to the recovery console.

In the Recovery Console, commands are available which you can use to work with directories and some powerful commands like fixboot can fix a damaged hard disk boot sector. You can access Help for the commands in the Recovery Console by typing help at the Recovery Console command prompt.

 

Whenever Windows doesn’t work, or fail to boot, most people think of doing a re-install. Using the Recovery Console doesn’t come to their minds, even though it is one of the most useful tools for error recovery, without making any loss of data. So, whenever Windows gives any error message which tells you to fix it using the Recovery Console, you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s not that hard to use the Recovery Console and it’s much faster than installing Windows and all the software programs again.

 

 

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Q.2. What are the requirements for using the Windows Recovery Console?

Ans. Note the following requirements before using the Windows Recovery Console:

  • Unless you have installed the Recovery Console as a boot menu option, you should have a Microsoft Windows installation disc.
  • You should know the Microsoft Windows Administrator account password.\
  • You should have at least some experience in using MSD-DOS commands.

You will have access only to the root directory and the Windows directory. You won’t be able to access any other directory through the Recovery Console.

Note: If you don’t have an official Microsoft Windows XP disc, you can get into the Recovery Console by getting this Recovery Console ISO disc image file, burning it on a CD and booting from this disc. Burning an ISO image file is quiet different from burning data files to a CD. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO image file to disc, view this post first.

 

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Q.3. What is the Recovery Console used for and when should it be used?

Ans. The Recovery Console is used to help resolve a number of major system problems.

The Recovery Console is particularly useful for repairing or replacing important operating system files, if you have to repair Windows by copying a file from another source like a CD-ROM, or if you have to reconfigure a troublesome service which is not letting the computer startup. When these files or services won’t work properly, Windows may not startup at all, not even in Safe Mode. In such cases, you must start the Recovery Console to restore the files.

The Recovery Console is also useful in situations such as removing malware, spyware, trojans and other viruses, which cannot be removed in Normal Mode and Safe Mode.

This method of system recovery is for advanced users only! It allows you to access the files, format drives, disable and enable services, read and write data on a local drive and do many administrative operations from a console prompt.

 

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Q.4. What can the Recovery Console do for me?

Ans. When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can get limited access to NTFS, FAT, and FAT32 partitions, without starting the Windows graphical user interface.

In the Windows Recovery Console you can:

  • Use, copy, rename or replace operating system files and folders.
  • Enable or disable services or devices from starting when you next start your computer.
  • Repair the file system boot sector or the Master Boot Record (MBR).
  • Create and format partitions on drives.

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Q.5. I use an imaging software regularly to backup my Windows partition. Do I really need to know about the Recovery Console?

Ans. It’s always better to know more than one way to recover a system. Secondly, not everyone uses an imaging software to backup their partitions and you may be at some other computer or could help someone else recover Windows, if you knew how to use the Recovery Console. Thirdly, you could have some important data that you haven’t yet backed up and Windows failed to boot.

It would be very useful to know and familiarize yourself with the Recovery Console, even if you have no intention of using the command line. If ever their is a problem, causing Windows XP not to boot, this command line facility could allow you to repair a corrupted system or backup precious personal files. In old DOS-based systems, a DOS boot disk could be used to access and retrieve data. But the NTFS systems like Windows XP cannot be accessed using DOS.

It’s possible to create many types of CD boot disks which provide for emergency repair and retrieval of data, using Linux or special NTFS readers. However, Windows XP comes with its own accessory for handling this. The Recovery Console will work with FAT and NTFS formatted disks but it’s especially useful with NTFS formatted disks.

 

 

 

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Q.6. Which versions of Windows support the Recovery Console?

OR

On which versions of Windows does the Recovery Console work?

Ans. The Recovery Console is supported in the following Windows versions:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional

However, note that if you have an OEM computer, your computer manufacturer may or may not have installed the Recovery Console, or may have totally removed it from the boot or recovery disks. Check the information that came with your computer or go to the manufacturer’s website to know more. Not all manufacturers provide the Windows XP setup disc.

 

 

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Q.7. What happened to the Recovery Console on other Windows versions like Vista and 7?

Ans. The Recovery Console in earlier versions of Windows has been removed in these versions of Windows and replaced by several tools located in the System Recovery Options menu. The System Recovery Options menu is on the installation discs.

If Windows doesn’t start correctly, you can use these tools to repair startup problems, restore your system files to an earlier point in time, run tests on your computer’s RAM, and in some editions of Windows Vista, restore your entire computer and system files from backups.

For more information, see:

What are the system recovery options in Windows Vista?

What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.8.  What should be done before using the Recovery Console?

Ans. When Windows doesn’t boot in the Normal Mode, the first thing to try is the Safe Mode and undo any changes that you did, before it stopped booting normally. Say, if you installed or updated some software program, you should uninstall the program or the update and then try to restart the system normally. You should also try the “Last Known Good Configuration” boot menu option, if Windows doesn’t boot. This works many times and the next time you start your computer, it should start up normally.

If Windows doesn’t boot with both of the above options, only then should you try to use the Recovery Console. But, before using the Recovery Console, it’s a good practice to do the following:

 

 

Back up your hard drive by creating the exact image of it

It’s a very good practice to create an image copy of your hard disk, before you start using the Recovery Console. This is because, in the hands of an in-experienced user, or by wrongly using it, the Recovery Console could do more harm than good and you could lose important data. There are many commercial and some free image Recovery programs available which can do this for you. If you wish to know about them or how to use them to create an image, view this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.9. How to get into the Safe Mode in Windows XP and Vista?

Ans. You should keep tapping the F8 function key or hold it after you turn the computer ON. If it doesn’t give the advanced boot menu options screen, turn it off while Windows XP tries to boot up. Then turn it on, again. Windows will bring up the Advanced Options Menu, where you can select the Safe Mode or the “Last Known Good Configuration” option. Sometimes, the system automatically restarts due to problems booting up normally and the next time it presents you with the Advanced Options Menu automatically.

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.10. How to install the Recovery Console, after Windows is already installed?

OR

I have a working Windows XP system. How can I install the recovery console on the hard disk drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option?

Ans. To install the Recovery Console, you will need your Windows XP CD. The version of Windows XP on the CD must match or surpass the version installed on your computer, thus a Service Pack 3 disk is recommended.

If you don’t have the Windows installation disc, try to borrow one from a friend or co-worker. If you still can’t find one, you can download setup disks or disk images from Microsoft. However, since floppy disk drives can only be found on very old computers, so a Recovery Console CD or ISO image can be downloaded from here. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO disk image to a CD, view this post.

The following paragraphs explain how to install the Recovery Console on a working Windows computer. If Windows isn’t starting up and you wish to use the Recovery Console, check the answer to the next question below (Q.10).

You can install the Recovery Console on your computer to make it available as a boot option. It will be helpful when Windows doesn’t start. You can then select the Recovery Console option from the Windows boot menu, during startup. To install the Recovery Console, you must be logged on into Windows as an administrator.

Although you can run the Recovery Console by starting it directly from the Windows XP CD, it takes more time to start and you may not have the Windows XP CD handy at that time. So, it’s better to have it as a start menu option.

 

To install the Recovery Console on to the hard drive, follow these steps:

Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive.

Click Start, and then click Run.

In the Run box, type the following command and hit the Enter key:

D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

D is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive. Replace it with your CD-ROM drive’s drive letter.

If you have the 64 bit edition of Windows XP professional, type the following command and hit the Enter key:

D:\amd64\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

A Windows Setup dialog box appears, which describes the Recovery Console option. To confirm that you want to install the Recovery Console, click Yes.

Once the installation is complete, click on OK and then remove the CD from the drive. Then, restart the computer. After you restart your computer, “Microsoft Windows Recovery Console” can be seen as a boot option in the Windows boot menu. You have successfully installed the Windows Recovery Console.

This post gives step by step instructions on how to install the Recovery Console to the hard drive.

Here’s a YouTube video which shows how to install the Recovery Console.

 

 

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Q.11. How to start the Recovery Console directly from the Windows XP CD?

OR

How can I start the computer and use the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc?

OR

How can I run the Recovery Console without installing it?

Ans. Follow the steps given below, to start the Recovery Console from the Windows XP installation disc:

  • Boot the computer with the Windows XP install disc in the CD drive. If you don’t know how to do this, check out one of these YouTube videos:
  • How To Change First Boot Device in BIOS?
  • Change Boot Order and Boot from a CD/DVD
  • When you see the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press the R key to start the Recovery Console.
  • The Recovery Console starts. If you have more than one Windows installation, select the installation that you wish to repair from the Recovery Console, by pressing the installation number followed by the Enter key. If you have just one Windows installation, just type 1 and press Enter.
  • When prompted, type the Administrator password. If the administrator password is blank, just press ENTER. If you don’t know the password, try pressing the Enter key anyway. Most of the times, this may work. If it doesn’t work, view this post on how to reset your Windows XP administrator password.
  • When you see the prompt C:\Windows\>, type the command, help and press Enter to see a list of all available commands. Now, you can enter the commands you wish to use.
  • For information about a specific command, type the word help followed by the command name and then press ENTER.
  • To exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, type exit at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

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Q.12. I don’t have the Windows installation disc and I don’t want to install the Recovery Console on the hard drive. Can I download the Recovery Console from somewhere and put it on disc?

Ans. Download it from here, unzip it and burn it to a CD as an ISO file. It’s just about 7 MB in size and runs faster than booting with a Windows installation disc. If you don’t know how to burn an ISO file, read this post.

 

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Q.13. How to delete or remove the Recovery Console installation from the system?

Ans. Warning: Modifying the Boot.ini file incorrectly may prevent your computer from restarting. Make sure that you delete only the entry for the Recovery Console. Also, change the attribute for the Boot.ini file back to a read-only state after you finish this procedure.

Follow the steps given below, to remove the Recovery Console installation from the hard drive:

  • Open My Computer, and then double-click the hard disk partition (mostly drive C), where you installed the Recovery Console.
  • Click the Tools menu, then click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  • Click ‘Show hidden files and folders’, click to clear the ‘Hide protected operating system files’ check box, and then click OK.
  • From the root folder (drive C), delete the Cmdcons folder and the Cmldr file.
  • At the root folder, right-click the Boot.ini file, and then click Properties.
  • Click to clear the Read-only check box, and then click OK.
  • 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

  • Delete the line that looks like the above.
  • Save the file and close it. Again, right click it, click on properties and click the check box to make the file read-only. Then, click OK.
  • Now, when you restart your computer, you won’t get the Recovery Console boot menu option anymore.

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Q.14. In what circumstances is the Recovery Console helpful?

A number of commands are available in Recovery Console. Using these commands in specific ways can help solve specific problems. All Recovery Console commands must be entered manually using a strict syntax.

Here are some examples where executing particular commands in the Recovery Console was necessary to resolve very damaging issues:

  • Repair the Master Boot Record in Windows XP.
  • Restore Hal.dll From the Windows XP CD.
  • Restore NTLDR and NTDetect.com from the Windows XP CD.
  • Restore a backup of the registry files to start Windows.

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Q.15. How is the Recovery Console Accessed?

OR

How to start the Recovery Console?

Ans. The Recovery Console is usually accessed from the original Windows installation CD. Alternatively, it can be accessed from the Windows boot menu, but only if it has been preinstalled on your system.

To start the Recovery Console from the Windows installation disc, view Q.10 above, and follow the instructions.

To install and start the Recovery Console from the hard drive so that it’s available as a boot menu option during Windows XP startup, view Q.9 above, and follow the instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q.16. How to access the Recovery Console without a Windows XP disc?

Ans. Accessing the Recovery Console Without a Windows CD

Most of the times, OEM computer manufacturers don’t include the Windows installation CD with their systems. They include a recovery partition on the system or one or more system recovery discs. They may or may not provide a way to access the Recovery Console. So, if you own an OEM or branded computer, check the documentation whether your manufacturer provides a way to access the Recovery Console. If it’s missing, continue to read below.

Many years ago, computer vendors used to provide a Windows Setup disc along with their computers which would allow users to reinstall individual system files or Windows components, in case something went wrong. But today, the best that you can get with a branded system is the so-called recovery or restore disc. Many vendors don’t even provide such a disc, instead, they put a restore partition on the computer hard drive itself. This partition is hidden from normal view and can be accessed using a key displayed during computer startup. But imagine what would happen if the hard drive fails! You can’t even access the recovery partition in such a case. Unless, you’re a computer geek, you have no way of getting back your data or recovering from the Windows crash! You may be able to order recovery discs from your vendor, but this can take quite a long time and if your computer’s warranty is over, then you’d have a very hard time. And even if you are able to get such a disc, it’s still an OEM disc and not the real Windows Setup disc, which may lack some features available on the real Windows disc.

Some major OEM computer vendors provide a software program which allows you to create a restore disc from the hidden restore partition, so this is the first thing you should do, after buying a branded computer system. Your vendor’s website may also have such recovery disc software from where you can download and burn it to disc. SO, you should check it. But know that with a recovery or restore disc, you won’t be able to reinstall or repair a previous Windows installation. It will only give an option to format and reinstall a clean and new copy of Windows.

So, what are the alternatives to be able to repair your Windows installation or restore just a few needed system files? First, you should look within your Windows folder or even on the root of the system drive (mostly C:) for a folder named i386. Some vendors copy the Windows installation files into this folder. If you find such a folder, you should burn it to a disc. Also look for the drivers folder within the Windows folder and burn that one too. Even though this disc won’t be bootable and functional as a Windows Setup disc, it’d still be useful if you are able to boot into your Windows system, somehow.

Since you may have bought the system many years ago, and applied updates and patches to the original Windows, now the disc that you burned, won’t have all of those patches and updates. A solution to this problem is to slipstream with the XP SP3 update. To know more how to slipstream Windows XP, view this post. You can also use the free Autostreamer to do this job.

Another problem is to get the Windows XP product key. It may be on a sticker somewhere on the computer or in the documentation that came with it. Note it down somewhere, where from you can retrieve it easily. In case, you can’t find it, there are some programs that will do this for you. ViewXP, Keyfinder and Belarc Advisor – all of them can do this for you.

If you don’t want to work hard, doing all of the above, there are programs that can make life simpler for you. They are called disc imaging programs. View this post to know more, how to use such a free program to make an image of your Windows partition to recover later, in case of a system crash.

 

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Q.17. How to enter the Recovery Console if the administrator password is lost or forgotten?Ans. To recover or reset your Windows XP Administrator password, view this post.

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Q.18. Is there a way to make Windows XP not ask a password for the Administrator account only in the Recovery Console?

Ans. Using this registry hack, you can’t recover a password. But using this may help you one day to enter the Recovery Console, when you can’t boot into Windows XP normally. This hack makes Windows XP not to ask for a password in the Recovery Console.

This hack has to be carried out when your Windows XP is working normally. Follow the below procedure:

Click Start –> Run  and type in regedit and press the Enter key.

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole

Set the DWORD SecurityLevel value to 1

Exit Registry and Reboot.

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Q.19. How to use the Recovery Console?

Ans. If Windows isn’t starting and you don’t have the Recovery Console installed as a boot menu option, you need the Windows XP Setup CD.

To run the Recovery Console from the Windows XP CD:

Put the Windows XP CD into the CD drive, and restart the computer.

When you see the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press R to start the Recovery Console.

(When you use the Recovery Console, you are working at a special command prompt, not the ordinary Windows command prompt. The Recovery Console has its own, special command prompt. To enter this command prompt, the Recovery Console asks you to type the local Administrator password.)

The Recovery Console takes some time to start. When the Recovery Console menu appears, a numbered list of the Windows installations on the computer appears. (Generally, only c:\Windows appears if there’s only one installation of Windows.) Press a number before you press ENTER, even when only one entry appears.

Note that if you press ENTER without selecting a number, the computer restarts.

If you have a dual-boot computer, select the Windows installation that you want to repair with the Recovery Console.

When asked, type the Administrator password. If there’s no password for the administrator, just press ENTER.

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

At the command prompt, type the appropriate commands to detect and repair your Windows installation.

For a list of available commands in the Recovery Console, type HELP at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

For information about a command, type HELP COMMANDNAME at the command prompt, and then press ENTER. For example, to know more about the DIR command, type HELP DIR and press the ENTER key.

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

 

 

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Q.20. Which commands can be used in the recovery console?

Ans. What do you do in the Recovery Console? Which Commands do you have to enter or type? And, how to get help about these commands? The table given below, lists all the available Recovery Console commands and their descriptions. If you want more details about a specific command, they can be accessed by entering a “/?” after the command-name. For example:

dir /?

For more details about these commands, please view this knowledgebase article from Microsoft.

The Recovery Console is a command-line interface. Most of the commands come from MS-DOS. So, if you have used MS-DOS before and are familiar with it, you can figure out what a command does.

Note that the Recovery Console has its own command interpreter and the commands may somewhat differ from those of the same name in a regular DOS command prompt. Also, in the default configuration, some commands are disabled or limited in their functions. Refer to the answer to Q.27  to remove some of these restrictions.

 

The following commands can be used in the Recovery Console:

Command

Description

Attrib Changes the attributes of a file or directory
Batch Executes the commands specified in the text file
Bootcfg Boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery
ChDir (CD) Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current directory
Chkdsk Checks a disk and displays a status report
Cls Clears the screen
Copy Copies a single file to another location
Delete (Del) Deletes one or more files
Dir Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory
Disable Disables a system service or a device driver
Diskpart Manages partitions on your hard drives
Enable Starts or enables a system service or a device driver
Exit Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer
Expand Extracts a file from a compressed file
Fixboot Writes a new partition boot sector onto the specified partition
Fixmbr Repairs the master boot record of the specified disk
Format Formats a disk
Help Displays a list of the commands you can use in the Recovery Console
Listsvc Lists the services and drivers available on the computer
Logon Logs on to a Windows installation
Map Displays the drive letter mappings
Mkdir (MD) Creates a directory
More Displays a text file
Rename (Ren) Renames a single file
Rmdir (RD) Deletes a directory
Set Displays and sets environment variables
Systemroot Sets the current directory to the systemroot directory of the system you are currently logged on to.
Type Displays a text file

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21. Can the recovery console be used to remove malware (spyware/viruses/trojans)? If yes, how?

Ans. View this post to know how to use the Recovery Console to remove malware.

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22. How to access the Recovery Console if the Windows XP computer doesn’t even boot or start up?

OR

How do I get to the recovery console if my Windows XP crashed and doesn’t boot?

Ans. If you have the Windows XP installation disc, insert it into the drive and boot the computer from the disc. If you don’t know how to boot the computer from a CD/DVD, view this post.

After the setup loads the needed drivers, you’ll get a screen asking you what to do, as shown below. Once you’re on this screen, press the R key on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.

 

 

 

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23. Why doesn’t my Windows XP installation CD give me the option to start the recovery console? Where is it?

OR

I don’t see any option to start the Recovery Console, using my Windows XP disc. How do I start the Recovery Console?

OR

How can I get to the Windows Recovery Console without an official Windows Setup CD?

Ans. If you don’t have the Windows XP installation disc, you can download a small, 7 MB ISO image  of just the Recovery Console, burn it to disc and boot the computer using that disc. This has an advantage over using the installation disc – it boots the system much faster than the Windows XP installation disc.

Download the Recovery Console ISO image from here.

If you don’t know how to burn an ISO image to disc, view this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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24. While booting the Windows XP computer into the Recovery Console, using the setup disc, I get the error,

“Setup did not find any hard disk drives in your computer.”

The hard drive is connected and working. What’s the problem and how to solve it?

Ans. Your hard drive needs a special driver, which is not included in the standard Windows XP setup disc. You need to download and install your hard disk driver from the computer or hard drive manufacturer’s website or from the Internet. Then, put it on a floppy drive and have it ready when booting your computer from the setup disc.

If your computer doesn’t have a floppy drive, see whether you can get one from a friend or relative. If you can’t get it, view this post about how to install SATA drivers without a floppy drive, and even after Windows has been already installed! No need to make a slipstreamed CD!

 

Solution for people who have a floppy disk drive attached to the computer:

When you have the hard disk driver ready and boot the computer off your XP setup disc, after a few seconds, you get a message telling you to press F6 if you want to insert a third party driver. At this time, press the F6 key and then insert your driver floppy into the floppy drive.

Press F6 if you need to install a third party SCSI or RAID driver…

Windows Setup won’t instantly tell you that it recognized your pressing the F6 key. Wait for it a minute or two. You will be given the option:

To specify additional SCSI adapters… or special disk controllers…

Press ‘S’ to select this option.

You will then be given a list of hard disk drivers to install. NOTE: The list will only show the first four drivers, even though there may be more than four. If this is the case, simply use the arrow keys to scroll down through the list until you find your exact hard disk controller driver. Then select it with Enter.

Once you have specified the correct hard disk controller driver, Windows XP Setup should be able to view your hard drives and then you will get the opportunity to enter the recovery console.

You won’t need to specify the hard disk driver or insert the driver floppy every time – the driver gets installed or copied to the hard drive and the next time you start the Recovery Console, it would be loaded automatically.

 

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Q.25. Where can I find drivers for my hard disk controller? How can I tell what kind of hard disk controller I have?

Ans. Click the Start Menu and click Run. Then, type in devmgmt.msc and press the Enter key. In Device Manager, click the + (plus) sign next to “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers” and then double-click on the hard drive controller. Clicking the driver tab in the device properties, would tell you the drive controller manufacturer and model number.

Device Manager - HDD Controller

Note down this information, and then go to the manufacturer’s website, search for and download the driver. Typical drivers have a bunch of files in them. For example:

iaahci.cat

iaahci.inf

iastor.catiastor.infiastor.syslicense.txtreadme.txttxtsetup.oem

For more information or if you want to install SATA drivers to an already installed Windows XP system, read this post:

 

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Q. 26. After installing the XP Recovery Console, I get the error “BIOSINFO.INF is missing (Error 14)”. Where can I get this file or how can I solve this problem?

Ans. Microsoft tells you to install the Recovery Console from the Windows XP installation disc, but many computer vendors don’t ship any official Windows XP installation disc. So Microsoft instructions may not always work.

First, remove the existing Recovery Console. View the answer to Q.12 for removal details.

Once the Recovery Console is removed, now install the Recovery Console again. Instead of installing from the Windows XP installation disc, install it from the existing XP installation on your hard drive.

Click the Start Menu and then click Run. In the Run box, type:

C:\WINDOWS\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

 

and press the Enter key. When the Windows Setup dialog box appears, click OK.

WindowsSetup1

On the next Windows Setup dialog box, click Yes.

WindowsSetup2

If you’re connected to the Internet, Setup downloads some updates if available. If you’re not connected to the Internet, you get the following dialog box. Just click “Skip this step and continue installing Windows”.

WindowsSetup3

Setup starts copying files and then gives the following dialog box. Just click OK. The Windows Recovery Console has been successfully installed.

WindowsSetup4

 

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Q.27. I get a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), every time I try to install the Recovery Console. How can I install the Recovery Console?

Ans. Unless you’re sure of the cause, you should do everything that Microsoft recommends on the BSOD page, like restarting the computer, checking for viruses etc.

If you’re not able to read the BSOD error because after the BSOD, the system reboots, keep pressing the F8 function key before Windows restarts. When you get the Windows Boot Menu, highlight “Disable automatic restart on system failure” and press the Enter key. This won’t make your system reboot on BSOD and you can see the error.

Windows XP F8 Boot Menu

If you still keep getting the BSOD, it’s quite possible that the Recovery Console doesn’t have the correct driver for your hard disk controller. But, how do you replace the hard disk controller driver for the Recovery Console? Read and follow the instructions in this post.

 

 

 

 

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28. What are the limitations of the Recovery Console and how to remove them?

Ans. Restrictions and Limitations of the Recovery Console:

From the Windows Recovery Console you can only use the following folders:

  • The root folder.  For example: C:\, D:\, etc
  • The %SystemRoot% folder and subfolders of the Windows installation you are currently logged on to
  • The Cmdcons folder
  • Removable media drives such as CD-ROM drives If you access other folders, you get an “Access Denied” error. You also cannot copy a file from the local hard disk to a floppy disk, though you can copy a file from the floppy disk or CD-ROM to a hard disk and from one hard disk to another.

Recovery Console rules
There are many environment rules in effect in the default Recovery Console. Type the command, SET, to list the currently applied environment rules. The default rules are:

AllowAllPaths = FALSE

prevents access to directories and subdirectories outside the system installation that you selected when you entered the Recovery Console.

AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE

prevents access to removable media as a target for copied files.

 

AllowWildCards = FALSE

prevents wildcard support for commands such as copy and del.

 

NoCopyPrompt = FALSE

the Recovery Console will ask for confirmation when overwriting an existing file.

 

Removing Console Restrictions

Removing the above Recovery Console restrictions have to be carried out while you’re logged into Windows XP normal mode. They can’t be done from within the Recovery Console.

Open regedit and find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Setup\RecoveryConsole\. In the right pane, this key will have an entry “SetCommand”. Put a value of 1. This is shown in the figure below.

Remove_Recovery_Console_Restrictions

Registry editing is not for everyone and can do more harm in the hands of an inexperienced user. Those who are not confident in using it can download this small script which will make the Registry edit for you. You only have to extract it, right-click on it and click install. Click here to download the setcommand script in zip format. Before using it, you may want to backup the registry or create a system restore point.

 

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29. How to install Recovery Console during an unattended installation?

Ans. In order to install the Recovery Console during the unattended installation of Windows, it is necessary to use the [GuiRunOnce] section of the unattend.txt file. The command needed for an unattended installation of Windows XP is:

CD_Drive:\i386\winnt32 /cmdcons /dudisable /unattend

Where CD_Drive is the drive letter of your CD_Drive.

For more information about how to use the Unattend.txt file, see the Deployment Planning Guide of the Windows 2000 Server Resource Kit.

 

 

 

 

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30. I don’t have access to the normal mode or the safe mode in Windows XP. Using the Recovery Console, can I somehow find out, which version of the service pack is installed on the system? 

Ans. From within the Recovery Console, while in the Windows folder type:

dir explorer.exe

The date and size of explorer.exe will tell you the Service Pack installed on the system:

Windows XP Service Pack Creation Date of explorer.exe File Size of
explorer.exe (in bytes)
No Service Pack 08/23/2001 05:00 AM 1,000,960
Service Pack 1 08/29/2002 03:41 AM 1,004,032
Service Pack 2 06/13/2007 03:23 AM 1,033,216
Service Pack 3 04/14/2008 05:42 AM 1,033,728

 

 

 

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31. If I try to install the Recovery Console on a Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer, I receive the following error message:

Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.

Ans. View this Microsoft Knowledgebase article. It has simple instructions on how to solve this problem.

 

 

 

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32. Can I use system restore for restoring the system from within the recovery console? If yes, how?

Ans. Yes, you can restore the system using the Recovery Console but this process is lengthy and you should use it only when you can’t boot the system normally or even using the Safe Mode and other options from the XP boot menu. Please view this post to know the procedure.

 

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33.  How to uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack using the Recovery Console?

Ans. To uninstall a hotfix or Service Pack using the Recovery Console, view this post.

 

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34. How to create an XP Recovery Console on a USB flash drive, which is bootable?

OR

Is it possible to create a USB pen drive bootable version of the Recovery Console?

Ans. Yes, it is possible to create a USB pen drive version of the Recovery Console and it’s not too hard to do. Follow the steps given below to create the USB version of the Recovery Console.

WARNING: Any data you have on the USB flash/pen drive would be erased and the drive would be formatted for use with the Recovery Console. Make sure to backup any data you may have on the pen drive to another drive, before continuing with the below procedure.

Note: Booting from the USB flash drive depends on your computer’s BIOS. If this option isn’t present there, then this thing won’t work for you. You may want to try using a Recovery Console disc, instead.

 

1. Download and extract this file to a location on your hard drive. For example, C:\.

2. After extracting the above file to a suitable location, open the extracted folder in Windows Explorer and double-click to run the file named hpusbfw.exe.

3. Select your device, if you have more than one, from the drop-down list. Then, select the FAT32 file system from the available types and type any volume label of your liking. Now, click on Start, to format your flash drive.

Format_Flash_Drive

4. Open the command prompt and drag bootsect.exe on to the command prompt window. The path to the bootsect.exe file would be printed. Add the option /nt52 followed by the letter of your flash drive, as shown below, and press the Enter key to update the bootcode on your flash drive.

Command_Prompt_1

Command_Prompt_2

5. Copy the contents of the folder, “Copy my contents only” to your flash drive.

6. Open the file TinyHexer by double-clicking on it, from the location you extracted the zip file in step 1.

7. Click the File Menu and click Open, to select and open the NTLDR file which is on your flash drive.

8. Once this file is open, click the Edit Menu and then click Find/Replace. Check the options “find text” and “ignore case”, type NTLDR in the text search box and then click the Find button. Then, click the Replace button, check the option “is text” and type CMLDR in the replace text box. Finally, click “Replace All” button to replace all instances of NTLDR by CMLDR.

Tiny_Hexer_Hex_Editor

9. Now, click the File Menu and click Save As, to save it to your flash drive. Name the file as USBLDR and then exit TinyHexer.

10. To test the USB Recovery Console, reboot your system and then, select the first boot device in your CMOS boot options as the USB flash drive or if available on your system, press the key to show the boot menu. Select boot from USB, save and exit the CMOS setup. The Recovery Console should start and should be up within seconds.

 

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How to install the Recovery Console to the Hard Drive?

July 6th, 2011 1 comment

This article explains how to install the Windows XP Recovery Console to the hard drive, so that it is available as an option in the Windows boot menu.

1. Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD drive. Then, open up the Windows Command Prompt by typing the command cmd into the RUN dialog box and pressing the Enter key.

2. When the command prompt opens up, type the drive letter of your CD drive (e.g., F: as shown below) and press the Enter key.

3. Once you get the CD drive letter prompt (like F:\> here), type the command given below and press the Enter key:

i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

 RC_cmd

4. The Windows Setup dialog box opens and asks you whether you want to install the Recovery Console as a startup option. Click Yes to continue.

RC_install_dialog_box

5. If you’re connected to the Internet, it may connect to Microsoft.com and update some setup files. This won’t take more than a minute or two, depending on your connection.

RC_Setup_dynamic_update 

6. Once setup is updated, it starts copying files and within a few minutes, it’s done.

RC_Setup_copying_files

7. Setup informs you that the Recovery Console was successfully installed and gives some other information about the Recovery Console. Click OK to exit setup.

RC_Setup_successful_message

8. Now, to test whether it installed alright and whether it’s working, you’ll need to reboot the computer. Don’t forget to remove the Windows Setup CD from the CD drive first.

RC_BootMenu

Repairing Windows XP using the Recovery Console

March 13th, 2011 No comments


NOTE:This solution is only for solving the errors and issues given below, if the computer is not infected by spyware and viruses. The commands given below may rebuild even some heavily infected computers, but there’s no such guarantee. If you doubt that your computer is infected, remove the spyware and viruses first, before trying this procedure.

Many people turn off their computers at night, all over the world, but some people, after turning them on, the next morning, get an error screen instead of the Starting Windows XP screen. The error can be any one of the following, in addition to others:

Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt:

C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEM

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows Setup using the original Setup CD-ROM.

Select ‘R’ at the first screen to start repair.

Windows could not start because the below file is missing or corrupt:

C:\WINDOWS\System32\Ntoskrnl.exe

Windows could not start because the below file is missing or corrupt:

C:\WINDOWS\System32\HAL.dll 

NTLDR is missing.

Press any key to restart

 

Invalid boot.ini.

Press any key to restart

Now, your computer doesn't boot in the normal way, so you try booting it using the safe mode. But, you still get the same error message. If you are somewhat knowledgeable and know about the recovery console, you boot into the recovery console and try the FIXBOOT and FIXMBR commands but these too don't help. You want access to some critical data, but how do you access it when Windows won't boot even using the safe mode?

If you call a computer technician, he would most probably tell you that the only solution to these errors is to backup your data by connecting the hard disk to another computer and then reinstalling Windows from scratch. Then, installing and configuring your software programs and restoring your data back. A very cumbersome process and it can take many weeks or even months to configure all your Windows and software settings, the way they were previously. Apart from the time and trouble this would take, you also have to spend a hefty amount for his work.

So, how do you troubleshoot and repair the above errors yourself? Continue reading below.

First, boot into the Recovery Console, using the Windows XP installation CD, or if you have the Recovery Console installed on your hard disk and available as an option in the Windows boot menu, use that.

Most people would have just one Windows installation. However, if you have more than one, select the one that gives the above errors. Once you are in the Recovery Console, type the commands in sequence, given in step 7.

The BOOTCFG /Rebuild command fixes the following:

  • Windows Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL)
  • Corrupt registry hives (\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\xxxxxx)
  • Invalid BOOT.INI file
  • A corrupt NTOSKRNL.EXE
  • A missing NT Loader (NTLDR)
    The repair process is harmless and may or may not apply to other types of errors and blue screens of death (BSOD), but it’s not guaranteed and xpdrivers won’t be responsible for any harm, it may cause.
  1. After ensuring that the computer BIOS is set to boot from the CD drive first, boot your computer with your Windows XP installation CD in the CD drive. If you don’t know how to set the BIOS to boot the computer from the CD, view this page.

    The following YouTube videos would also be helpful:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKaKj6uRLSM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLaoajhiN_k
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exU85jk9UyM

  2. After the computer boots and Windows XP Setup starts, do not select the option which says: "Press F2 to initiate the Automated System Recovery (ASR) tool." Let the Setup proceed till you see the following screen. At this screen, press the letter "R" on your keyboard, to start the Recovery Console.

    Recovery_Console_Welcome_to_Setup_Screen

  3. After pressing the letter R, the Windows XP Setup prompts you to select a valid Windows installation (this would mostly be number "1"). Select the installation number ("1" in most cases) and hit the Enter key. If you had set an administrator password during the initial Windows XP installation, type the password and then hit enter.
  4. If you don’t remember the administrator password, or don’t remember if you had set one or not, try pressing the enter key instead of typing any password. This could work in many cases. 

    But, what to do if the recovery console doesn’t accept a blank password and if you don’t remember the one you had set during installation? Click here to know more, how to recover or reset your Windows XP password with some free tools.

    Once, the Setup accepts the password, it greets you with the following screen, which tells you that the recovery console is ready to accept commands:

    Recovery_console_Admin_Login

  5. There are seven commands which you have to type one by one in sequence to repair any of the above mentioned errors. Type one command per line and hit the enter key after typing each. Remember to replace the drive letter (C: in this case), with the appropriate drive letter for your Windows installation. The commands are:
    • CD .. or CD \
    • ATTRIB –RSH C:\boot.ini
    • COPY C:\boot.ini C:\boot.bak
    • DEL C:\boot.ini
    • BOOTCFG /Rebuild
    • CHKDSK /R
    • FIXBOOT
  6. The first command, CD .. (or CD \) brings you out of the Windows directory, into the root directory, C:.

    Recovery_Console_CD..

  7. Once you’re at the C:\> prompt, you can start repairing XP. First of all, you have to change the attributes of the boot.ini file, which is hidden from normal view. BOOT.INI controls what operating systems the Windows boot process can see, how to load them, and where they’re located on your hard disk. Type the below command at the command prompt and press the enter key. to remove the system, hidden and read-only attributes of boot.ini:

    ATTRIB -RSH C:\boot.ini

  8. After removing the attributes with the above command, make a backup of boot.ini, using the ‘copy’ command. Then, delete the original boot.ini, using the ‘del’ command, as shown below.

    Recovery_Console_del_boot.ini

  9. The BOOTCFG / REBUILD is the most important of all the commands. It searches for existing Windows XP installations, rebuilds essential Windows’ components, recompiles the BOOT.INI file and corrects many common Windows’ errors.

    There are two important steps in this command:

    • You must use the /FASTDETECT as an option to the BOOTCFG command, when the command asks for an OS Load Option.
    • If you have a CPU with the Intel’s XD or AMD’s NX buffer overflow protection, you must also use /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN as an OS Load Option, as shown below. Do not put NOEXECUTE as an OS Load Option if your CPU doesn’t have the Intel’s XD or AMD’s NX buffer overflow protection.
    • For the identifier, you can type "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition", if you have Windows XP Home Edition, for example.Recovery_Console_bootcfg_command
  10. This command checks and fixes any physical errors on the partition containing Windows XP. This is just a simple command, type it at the C:\> prompt:

    CHKDSK /R

    The command can take some time to complete, especially if there are some errors, as it has to check the whole partition. If you don’t learn or understand how to use any other Recovery Console commands, learn this one for sure. In many cases, this single command has fixed computers which wouldn’t boot into Windows. After the command finishes, move on to the last step.

    Recovery_Console_chkdsk_command Recovery_Console_chkdsk_report

  11. This is also a simple command. Just type FIXBOOT at the C:\> prompt. This command writes a new boot sector to the hard drive. Press "Y" when the command asks if you want to write a new boot sector to partition C:, and press the Enter key to confirm.

    Recovery_Console_fixboot_command

  12. The procedure is complete and you can type the command, EXIT, followed by pressing the Enter key, to reboot the computer. If you are lucky, the computer should boot into Windows XP as if nothing had happened. If you were successful in booting into Windows XP, you saved yourself a lot of headache, frustration, data loss and paying big bucks to a computer technician.

Windows XP Crash Recovery – When all else Fails

January 21st, 2011 1 comment

WARNING: Do not use the procedure described in this post, if your computer has an OEM-installed operating system (Dell, HP, Compaq, etc). The system hive on OEM installations creates user accounts and passwords that were not there previously. If you use the procedure described in this post, you may not be able to log back into the recovery console to restore the original registry hives.

NOTE:

  • This post assumes that you have tried other recovery methods and still can’t access the system, except by using Recovery Console. If you haven’t tried other methods of recovery yet, try them first. Click here to know a few other methods of recovery, before you try this method. However if you’ve already tried the other methods, go ahead and try the one mentioned below.
  • Make sure to replace all five registry hives. If you replace only a single hive or two, this can cause problems because software and hardware may have settings in more than one location in the registry.
  • This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed to the C:\Windows folder. Make sure to change C:\Windows to the appropriate windows folder if it is in a different location.

Since your Windows already crashed, you’re probably viewing this post on another computer. It’s better if you take a printout of this post, because you’ll have to type many commands to recover your corrupted Windows XP installation. Even if you don’t have to type them, it’s better to have a printout. If you don’t want to print the images, here’s a text-only version of this post.

It’s possible that somehow your Windows registry is corrupt. But there is a backup of the registry! Since Windows doesn’t start, we’ll have to restore this backed up registry files, manually. How do you do that? Follow the procedure detailed below.

1. Boot the computer with your Windows XP CD in the drive. If you see a message like "Press any key to boot from CD …", go ahead and press a key on your keyboard.

Press_any_key_CD_boot

2. If you don’t see any such message or if your computer doesn’t boot from the CD, go into your BIOS/CMOS setup, by rebooting the computer and pressing the appropriate key (like F1, F2, F10, DEL, etc).

image 

3. If you don’t even see the message to press the above keys to enter the BIOS setup, read your motherboard manual on how to enter the BIOS setup. These videos about BIOS and CMOS may be helpful too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKaKj6uRLSM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLaoajhiN_k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exU85jk9UyM

4. Now, when booting from the XP CD, when you see the Welcome to Setup screen, press R to start the Recovery Console.

XP_Welcome_to_Setup_Screen

5. You will see the following screen. Type 1 and press the Enter key. You’ll have to enter the Administrator password. If you didn’t set a password, when you installed Windows XP, just press the Enter key.

Recovery_Console_Admin_Login

NOTE: If you have access to another computer, to save time, you can copy the text in step six and seven, and paste it in a text file called "Regcopy1.txt" (for example). You can also download this text file and save it on a USB pen drive, before you run the below command. To use this file, run the following command when you start in Recovery Console:

batch regcopy1.txt

To know, how to access files on other drives when in the recovery console (USB pen drive, for example), type the following three commands, one per line, and press the Enter key after each command (make sure to type the space on both sides of the equal sign):

AllowWildCards = TRUE
AllowAllPaths = TRUE
AllowRemovableMedia = TRUE

6. Now type the commands you see below, one per line and then press the Enter key, after each command:

md c:\tmp
cd\system32\config
copy system c:\tmp\system.bak
copy software c:\tmp\software.bak
copy sam c:\tmp\sam.bak
copy security c:\tmp\security.bak
copy default c:\tmp\default.bak
del system software sam security default

After you enter each of the above copy commands, the system will reply with a message like "1 file(s) copied".

7. Now, type this set of commands, one per line and press the Enter key after each (Take care to type the space and the dot as shown):

copy c:\windows\repair\system .
copy c:\windows\repair\software .
copy c:\windows\repair\sam .
copy c:\windows\repair\security .
copy c:\windows\repair\default .

8. Now type exit and press the Enter key. The system will reboot.

9. Remove the CD from the drive and boot into Windows normally, as you do before. If, even after doing each of the above steps correctly, Windows doesn’t boot, you’ll have to do a clean install of Windows, after taking a backup of your data. There is no other way to recover.

But, the question is – How do you take a backup of a computer which doesn’t even boot or start Windows? Click here to read more on this topic and backup your computer before you format the hard drive or reinstall Windows from scratch.

However, if the system boots into Windows, then do the following:

a. Start Windows Explorer. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options and then click the View tab.

Windows_Explorer_Folder_Options

b. Under Hidden Files and Folders, select the radio button "Show Hidden Files and Folders", and then clear the "Hide Protected Operating System Files (Recommended)" check box. Also clear the "Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended)" checkbox. This is the last checkbox under the Advanced settings, so you’ll have to scroll down.

c. Click Yes when a dialog box is displayed. Then, click OK to close Folder Options.
Folder_Options

d. Now, check whether you have an NTFS or a FAT32 file system. How do you check if you have NTFS or FAT32 file system? In My Computer or Windows Explorer, right-click the C drive (or your Windows drive, if other than C) and then click Properties.

C_Drive_Properties

e. If the file system on C drive is NTFS, Windows won’t let you open this folder, but there’s a solution. Under the C drive, right-click on the System Volume Information folder and select Properties. In the drive properties, click the Security tab. Click the Add button, and then in the box that’s labeled "Enter the object names to select", type the username that you use to log on to Windows. This is shown in the image below.

If your file system is FAT32, you don’t have to do anything like the above. You can access the System Volume Information folder without any problems.

System_Volume_Information_Add_User

f. Now, open the System Volume Information folder. This folder appears dimmed, that’s fine.

g. This folder contains some _restore {GUID} folders such as "_restore{87BD3667-3246-476B-923F-F86E30B3E7F8}". Open a folder that was created before the current date and time. You may have to click Details on the View menu to check this.

h. There may be one or more folders starting with the name "RP x", under this folder. These are the restore points. Open one of these folders to locate a Snapshot subfolder.

_restore_folders

i. The following path is an example of a folder path to the Snapshot folder:

C:\System Volume Information\_restore{D86480E3-73EF-47BC-A0EBA81BE6EE3ED8}\RP1\Snapshot

j. From the Snapshot folder, copy the following files to the C:\tmp folder with the mouse (by Ctrl-clicking them):

_registry_user_.default
_registry_machine_security
_registry_machine_software
_registry_machine_system
_registry_machine_sam

_restore_snapshot_folder

k. Rename the above five files as given below (using the mouse or the F2 function key):

_registry_user_.default        default
_registry_machine_security     security
_registry_machine_software     software
_registry_machine_system       system
_registry_machine_sam          sam

l. Once again, put your Windows XP installation CD into your CD Drive and reboot the computer.

m. Again, press R for the recovery console when you see the message for recovery, just like you did in step 4 above.

NOTE: If you have access to another computer, to save time, you can copy the text commands in step n, and paste it in a text file called "Regcopy2.txt" (for example). You can also download this text file and save it on a USB pen drive, before you run the below command.To use this file, run the following command when you start in Recovery Console:

batch regcopy2.txt

n. At the console, type these commands one per line and press enter after every command (take care to type the dots exactly as shown in each command):

cd\system32\config
del sam security software default system
copy c:\tmp\software .
copy c:\tmp\system .
copy c:\tmp\sam .
copy c:\tmp\security .
copy c:\tmp\.default .

o. Now, type exit and remove the CD. Boot normally into Windows and you must be back to normal. In case, the restore point is not the one which you wanted, you can use the System Restore to restore a different restore point. This time you are already in Windows so you don’t have to use the recovery console. For more information, how to use the System Restore in Windows XP, click here.