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Windows XP Pocket Reference by David A. Karp

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Windows Recovery Console

The Windows Recovery Console (WRC) is a tool included with Windows XP, used to repair the operating system when it won't start, as well as perform some other tasks not otherwise possible from within Windows. For those accustomed to being able to boot into DOS to effect repairs in some earlier versions of Windows, the WRC is the Windows XP equivalent.

The WRC allows you to do the following:

  • Repair a Windows XP installation, including the filesystem boot sector, the Master Boot Record (MBR), and the Boot Manager configuration

  • Copy, rename, delete, or replace operating system files that otherwise cannot be modified while Windows is running

  • Enable or disable services or devices

  • Create and format hard drive partitions

To get into the WRC, you'll need to boot up off the Windows XP CD. After Setup loads all its drivers, press R to start the Windows Recovery Console.

You can also install the Recovery Console to your hard disk so that it can be started without the CD. This option, which will add it to the Boot Manager menu, is useful if you find that you need the Recovery Console frequently or you're unable to boot off the CD. To install the WRC, insert your Windows CD, go to Start Run, and type d: \i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons, where d: is the drive letter of your CD drive.

Regardless of how the WRC is started, you'll be greeted with a rather unfriendly warning message, followed by the following prompt:

Which Windows installation would you like to logon to (enter to ...

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