How to use the Windows recovery console

Microsoft WindowsNote: Below are some important things to realize when using the Microsoft Windows recovery console.

  1. You need to know the Microsoft Windows administrator password.
  2. You need to have at least some experience using Windows command line. See our Windows command line overview for a quick lesson on how to use the command line if needed.
  3. You only have access to root directory and the Microsoft Windows or Winnt directory. This means you cannot open any other directory.
  4. You only have access to read from the floppy disk drive, CD-ROM drive, or other disc drive. This means you cannot copy information from the hard drive to another drive for backup. However, you can copy information from the CD-ROM or floppy disk drive to the hard drive.

To get into the Microsoft Windows recovery console you must have a Microsoft Windows CD, if your computer came with another restore or recovery cd it's possible the steps below my not apply to your CD. Place the Windows CD in your computer and boot from the CD.

Note: If you do not have a Microsoft Windows XP CD you can get into the recovery console by using the Windows XP bootable diskettes. A link for downloading the files to make these diskettes can be found on our boot disk page.

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

Windows XP users

To repair a Windows XP installation using recovery console, press R to enter the recovery console.

After getting to the Microsoft Windows recovery console select the Windows installation you want to log onto. Therefore press 1 if you want to edit the primary Windows installation.

After selecting the installation enter the administrator password exactly as you would in Windows. If you do not know the Windows administrator password you cannot enter the recovery mode.

  • Typing in "help" at the prompt gives a complete listing of all commands available through the prompt.
  • Additional information about many of the commands available in MS-DOS and in the recovery mode can also be found on our MS-DOS page.

Windows 2000 users choose

As shown above you would want to press R and then press C.