- Using Recovery Console
The Recovery Console, first introduced with Windows 2000, is a console with a
command-line interface, providing administrators and administrative users with the
necessary tools for repairing a system that won't boot. Recovery Console allows you to
start and stop services, format disks, retrieve data from and write data to local hard disks
(including NTFS drives), repair corrupt master boot records (MBR) and/or boot sectors,
and perform other administrative tasks.
This tool is especially useful if you need to restore a damaged system by copying one or
more system files from diskette or CD to the local hard drive or reconfigure the service or
driver that is preventing Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003 from
Note The Recovery Console requires you to login to the selected operating system as the
Methods of Starting Recovery Console
There are several methods of starting Recovery Console:
Start Recovery Console from Windows Setup program
As an alternative method, you can install Recovery Console on the local hard drive
and include it as an option in the boot menu
Starting Recovery Console Using the Setup Program
As already mentioned, you can start Recovery Console from the Windows 2000/XP or
Windows Server 2003 Setup program. The easiest way of doing so is to boot your
computer from the distribution CD (if your computer is equipped with a bootable CD-
If you can't boot from the CD but have another operating system installed on your
computer, you can use that operating system to start the Setup program. However, it is
often the case that there is no other operating system on the computer that can be used to
start the Setup program (or the alternative operating system is also unbootable). In
Windows 2000, you can start the Setup program using four setup diskettes. In Windows
XP, to perform the same task, you need five setup diskettes (or even more, if you are
working with localized versions). In Windows Server 2003, unfortunately, there is no
such option. However, to start the Setup program, you can proceed as follows:
- Create a Windows 98/ME Emergency Boot Disk. In addition to the files
automatically copied to this diskette when it is created, copy the Smartdrv.exe file
to this diskette (this file is needed to make the Setup procedure run faster).
Reboot the system from this diskette and select the option of booting the system
with CD-ROM support.
Run SmartDrive from the command prompt, then start the Winnt.exe program
located in the/I386 directory on the distribution CD. The Setup program will then
In either case, you'll need to wait until the system completes initial file copying. After
this is completed, Setup prompts you to select one of the following options: you may
install a new copy of Windows Server 2003, restore a damaged Windows Server 2003
installation, or exit Setup (Fig. 2.14). When this screen appears, press the key.
Figure 2.14: The Welcome to Setup screen, prompting the user to select between
installing Windows Server 2003 anew, repairing a damaged Windows Server 2003
installation, or exiting Setup
Setup will then search your hard drives for existing Windows Server 2003 installations
and prompt you to select the one that needs to be restored. Recovery Console provides a
powerful set of tools, including the following capabilities:
Starting and stopping services
Reading and writing files
Repairing damaged boot sectors and master boot records (MBR)
After you select the Recovery Console option, Setup will prompt you to select the
Windows Server 2003 installation to be repaired (if you have installed multiple copies of
Windows Server 2003). Next, Setup will ask you to enter the Administrator's password
for the installation selected.
Including Recovery Console into the Boot Menu
- If you need to include Recovery Console in the boot menu as an option, do the following:
1. Login to the local Windows 2000/XP or Windows Server 2003 system as the
Administrator or a member of the Administrators group.
2. Insert the Windows 2000/XP or Windows Server 2003 distribution CD into the
3. If you receive a prompt to upgrade your current operating system, click No.
4. Go to the distribution CD and, from the command line, execute the following
5. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
Deleting Recovery Console from the Boot Menu
If you need to delete Recovery Console from the boot menu, proceed as follows:
1. Go to the root directory of the system partition. Delete the \Cmdcons folder and
Note Both the \Cmdcons folder and Cmldr file have the Hidden and System
attributes. This means that they are considered as operating-system protected
files, which by default aren't displayed by Windows Explorer. To delete
these files using Windows Explorer or My Computer, configure the file and
folder display options (Folder Options Control Panel applet) to display the
operating-system protected files.
2. Open the Boot.ini file for editing (notice that Windows XP and products from the
Windows Server 2003 family allow you to do this from the System applet). Find
the string corresponding to the Recovery Console option and delete this command
string. An example of the syntax of this command is shown below:
3. C:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat="Microsoft Windows .NET Server Recovery Console"
Note If you are working with Windows 2000, the instructions provided above are
also applicable. The only difference is that you will need to clear the Read-
Only attribute from the Boot.ini file and then open the file for editing using
any text editor (Notepad, for example). Don't forget to restore the Read-Only
attribute after saving the Boot.ini file.
Using Recovery Console
- The Recovery Console provides a full-screen command-line interface similar to that
existing in MS-DOS. You can easily get acquainted with the Recovery Console interface
using the help command. This displays a complete list of all available Recovery Console
commands. In Windows 2000/XP, as well as in Windows Server 2003, online-help
system also provides a list of Recovery Console commands (search using the keywords