Take the shakles off

The Recovery Console is another built-in Windows tool that can be made more effective and useful. In its pinned-down standard form, it can be used for repairing boot problems, replacing missing system files and such basics.

But if you want to do something outside the system folders, you're pretty much out of luck. The default Recovery Console has limits imposed. You can't use wildcards, you can't copy files to removable media.

Turning the Recovery Console into a powerful command line tool is not difficult at all.  It will allow you access anywhere on any hard drive in your system, and to removable media.

Microsoft has instructions for installing the Recovery Console on your hard drive.

To install the Recovery Console, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows XP CD into the CD-ROM drive.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type d:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons where d is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive. In the case of 'Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, type d:\amd64\winnt32.exe /cmdcons where d is the drive letter for the CD-ROM drive.
  4. A Windows Setup Dialog Box appears. The Windows Setup Dialog Box describes the Recovery Console option. To confirm the installation, click Yes.
  5. Restart the computer. The next time that you start your computer, "Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" appears on the startup menu."

Once the Recovery Console is installed on your hard drive, there's just one more step to perform in order to unlock its potential. We need to make one simple change in the registry.

Reminder:

In order to install the Recovery Console on your hard drive, your XP CD must be at the same Service Pack level as your XP installation.

You may need to slipstream a Service Pack into your XP CD