Recipe 20.5. Using Recovery Console


You are experiencing problems booting into Windows XP in either Normal or Safe Mode, or encounter missing files during startup.


  1. Insert your Windows XP installation CD-ROM and boot from the CD-ROM.

  2. On the Windows XP Setup menu, select R for repair.

  3. Select C to use the Recovery Console as the repair option.

  4. Select the Windows installation to repair (usually just 1).

  5. Enter the Administrator password for this installation of Windows. At the command prompt you can type help to see the list of available commands. For help on each command, type the command followed by /?. In the recovery console you have access to the root directory of all disks, Windows system directory (and all sub-directories), as well as diskette and CD-ROM drives.

  6. To recover from startup problems use either the fixmbr command to write a new Master Boot Record on the boot disk, the fixboot command to replace damaged or missing NT boot files, or both commands to ensure the system can boot up, and not have to run this process again.

  7. Run the chkdsk command to check for and repair any damage to the file system.

  8. Type exit to restart the system. If the Windows installation is intact, you will be able to get back into Windows. If the Windows installation is damaged, you can repair the installation or reinstall Windows.


Repairing the bootability of a Windows system drive should be a lot easier than this, but at least the Recovery Console gives you access to some easy critical fixes to get you going again. Recovery Console may be the only way to regain the use of a Windows XP installation without having to reinstall the entire operating system. Beware that writing over the Master Boot Record will disable third-party boot manager/multiboot software that uses the MBR as a start and run point for the boot manager program, including multiboot features of Linux/Unix operating systems that offer different operating system choices to boot from.

See Also

An excellent step-by-step guide to the Recovery Console with screen shots of the process can be found at, and a superb explanation of the options is available at

An exceptional tool for restoring and fixing nearly all system problems is Barts PE disk. Downloads and documentation available at

Windows XP Cookbook
Windows XP Cookbook (Cookbooks)
ISBN: 0596007256
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 408

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