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No Guts, No Glory (Or No Splat?)

Because of its potential for disaster as well as glory, Recovery Console isn't preinstalled on hard drives for curious hands to find, and you must have Windows Administrator privileges to run it, unless some genius removes that obstacle by doing this:

  1. In Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, then Local Security Policy.

  2. Expand Security Settings, then Local Policies, then click Security Options.

  3. Double-click Recovery Console: Allow automatic administrative logon policy, then set to Enable. Close.

Shortly after you power up the PC with the XP CD in the boot drive, you should see an option to press any key to boot from CD. Press a key. Windows Setup will behave as though it's going to set up Windows, but should instead load a limited number of files and drivers. Next, Windows offers three familiar choices, although you may have overlooked the potential of the second:

  1. Set up Windows.

  2. Repair Windows using Recovery Console.

  3. Quit Setup.

Press R to enter XP's Recovery Console.

You can also install Recovery Console as a startup option. Of course, Microsoft's instructions were written for users of Microsoft's installation disks:

  1. With Windows running, insert the Setup CD into your CD-ROM drive.

  2. Click Start, Run.

  3. Type the following command, where D: is the CD-ROM drive letter:

  4. D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

Of course, many of the PCs in your organization may include OEM-branded disks with a different file and directory layout. If that's the case, you'll have to do some minor detective work—or just boot the Recovery Console from CD, which is a good way to keep a powerful tool a little further from those who don't need to satisfy their curiosity about the master boot record.

If you're running the 64-bit version of Windows XP Professional or Windows .NET Advanced Server for Itanium-based systems, you'll have to be content with booting from CD anyway, because those distros don't allow local installations. Recovery Console can only be installed locally on x86-based hardware platforms. But, with the deep cleaning and heavy lifting that RC was designed to do, you probably won't need to order it daily from the boot menu.

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