The Microsoft Windows XP Recovery Console is a special command line mode that can be used to recover from major system problems. It is often one of the last resorts after other options, such as Safe Mode and Last Known Good Configuration, have been exhausted. For repair purposes, a specific set of commands can be used along with more general commands.
The "BOOTCFG" command repairs and makes changes to the boot.ini file, which controls the operating system selection options when the computer first starts. "CHKDSK" checks the local hard disks for errors, and repairs them if the "/r" switch is used. "DISABLE" is used to disable a system service that may be causing a problem. "FIXBOOT" creates a new boot sector on a specific partition, while "FIXMBR" attempts to repair the master boot record for the entire hard disk.
If Recovery Console has been installed on the Windows XP computer, it can be accessed directly from the operating system selection screen when the computer first starts. The other option is to use the Windows XP installation CD. Boot from the CD and press "R" when prompted to repair or recover. You will be required to type in the password for the Administrator account.
The "HELP" command lists all commands available from within Recovery Console, while entering "HELP" followed by a space and a specific command will display information on how to use that command. Set the computer's BIOS to boot from the CD-ROM drive if entering Recovery Console from the installation CD. The directory system access commands, such as "COPY" and "DELETE," will work on NTFS drives as well as FAT32.
Recovery Console is a very powerful mode in Windows XP that should only be used by advanced users or professionals. Some of the more powerful commands, such as "FIXBOOT," "FIXMBR" and "DISKPART," are only accessible from the Recovery Console. "DISKPART" deletes and creates hard disk partitions.