How to Disable a Device Driver via the Recovery Console of Windows XP


Microsoft Windows XP includes a troubleshooting mode called Recovery Console. The Recovery Console interface includes several commands that are not available elsewhere in Windows. DISABLE is one of these commands. It allows device drivers and services to be disabled at startup. It is most useful when the name of the driver preventing Windows from starting is known. This is often displayed near the top of the blue stop screen when Windows crashes. Use the DISABLE command to temporarily bypass the problem driver and boot into Windows.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP installation CD
  • Boot from the Windows XP installation CD and then press "R" to enter the Recovery Console.

  • Enter the Administrator password and then press "Enter."

  • Type "Disable <DriverName>" and press "Enter," where "<DriverName>" is the name of the driver to be disabled. Do not include the driver file extension, such as ".SYS."

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the LISTSVC command from Recovery Console to view a list of all available drivers and services. This verifies the existence and spelling of the driver you wish to disable. Write down the name of the driver startup type, which is displayed when the DISABLE command is run. Once you fix the offending driver, ensure that it is enabled again using the original startup type.
  • Disabling some device drivers can prevent Windows from booting, or cause other system problems.

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