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XP Recovery Console: Not Just for XP (or Recovery)

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Recovery Console (RC) is designed for the expert rescue that's sometimes needed with an XP system, but this oft-overlooked Windows utility can also take you places that XP normally doesn't "prompt" you to go.
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Psst! Hey buddy! Want your system back?

Okay, XP tanked, but wouldn't you like to skip the "safe mode" song-and-dance this time? Rather not boot into "My First GUI" at 640x480 with your icon layout thrashed—for problems that make safe mode irrelevant? Or have you already waded in with safe mode and performed several System Restores, and now it's time to roll up your sleeves and make like a hardcore admin? Or worse—is the system slammed beyond booting Windows at all?

If you're in system trouble, and you'd care to exercise some black-and-white magic (white letters on a black screen), then pop your XP or Windows .NET CD-ROM into the system's bootable CD for a fighting chance of powering up to a DOS-like environment called Recovery Console (RC), in which you can use the keyboard and your wits to offload files, effect repairs, and get back into Windows.

NOTE

CD-ROM drive not booting? Try switching the order of boot drives in CMOS. Get into CMOS by hitting the key or key combination at startup that your PC manufacturer specifies—sometimes the F10 key, sometimes Delete. Check your PC manual.

Hard Hat Area

Recovery Console wields more dangerous power than you get from clicking the XP Command Prompt icon. From the RC prompt, you can create and delete partitions (diskpart), repair the master boot record (fixmbr), write a new partition boot sector to the system partition (fixboot), start and stop system services and device drivers (enable/disable), set the current directory to the systemroot directory of the system you're logged onto (systemroot), and more—in addition to the more soft-edged (dir, copy, chkdsk) variety of tools. (See the full list in the sidebar.)

There are also spiffy tools such as bootcfg, which scans hard drives for Windows NT/2000/XP installations and adds them to the Boot.ini file, or creates a new one. The bootcfg /default switch can set the default operating system in the boot menu, etc.

Recovery Console Commands

Attrib

Copy

Exit

Listsvc

Rename (Ren)

Batch

Delete (Del)

Expand

Logon

Rmdir (Rd)

Bootcfg

Dir

Fixboot

Map

Set

ChDir (Cd)

Disable

Fixmbr

Mkdir (Md)

Systemroot

Chkdsk

Diskpart

Format

More

Type

Cls

Enable

Help

Net Use

 


Type Help at the Recovery Console command prompt to see this list of commands. Type Help command name to see the help for a specific command.

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