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: 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 ...