Whenever I have to use the Windows Recovery CD, I cringe. It isn’t because my Windows system needs to be rescued; I’ve come to expect that. What I dislike is the actual recovery CD itself, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way. While the Windows Recovery CD does an adequate job with a few tasks (that is, resetting an MBR, replacing a boot.ini file, or restoring default system files), expect to come up empty-handed and frustrated if you try to complete a task for which Microsoft hasn’t explicitly created a tool. Here are just a few things the Windows Recovery CD should be able to do but can’t:
Edit text files.
While Microsoft has shied further and further away from allowing you to configure anything with a text file, there are still plenty of reasons why you might need to, including fixes to the boot.ini files beyond the abilities of the Windows Recovery CD.
Copy to a floppy.
You can’t edit a text file in the Recovery Console, so you may think, “I’ll just copy the file to a floppy disk, edit it on another computer, and copy it back.” However, the Recovery Console only allows you to copy from CD-ROMs or floppies and not to them.
Browse your full hard disk.
With the Windows Recovery CD, you are only allowed to browse the root directory (C:\, for instance) or the %systemroot% directory (the WINNT\ or WINDOWS\ directory). If you stray from those two directories to access your My Documents directory, you get the “Access Denied” error message. ...