Using a Recovery Console to Resolve Startup Issues
This document pertains to Microsoft(R) Windows XP Home and XP Pro.
A recovery console provides a command line so you can open many useful software utilities. What makes these software utilities so useful is they can be used without Windows Explorer. So when Windows XP is not working, you can still open a recovery console and run one of the command line software utilities, like chkdsk.
A recovery console may be available on the hard drive of some HP and Compaq Windows XP computers. Also, the Recovery Tools CD can be made from most HP and Compaq computers.
The recovery console can be used to resolve error messages, it can be used to partition and format hard drives and perform other diagnostic and troubleshooting tasks. This document specifically pertains to using the recovery console feature of Windows XP to fix boot errors, such as the following errors:
- Unmountable Boot Volume
- Windows Stop errors
- NTLDR errors
- MBR errors
NOTA:Before following the steps in this document to resolve error messages, remove any floppy disks, memory cards, or CD/DVDs from the drives before restarting the PC. If the error messages continue, proceed with the steps in this document to resolve the error messages.
This document is divided into three parts:
About Recovery Console
Recovery Console allows you to restore stability to a system without performing a Destructive or Non-Destructive System Recovery. Recovery Console is designed to repair file systems and operating system problems without destroying personal data.
Additional information about Recovery Console
Recovery console can access to NTFS, FAT and FAT32 volumes without the Windows graphical user interface (the Windows Desktop). This means you can work on the hard drive without "extra" software accessing the hard drive. You can use a Recovery Console to:
- Use, copy, rename, or replace operating system files and folders.
- Enable or disable services or device drivers.
- Repair the file system, boot sector, or the Master Boot Record (MBR).
- Create and format partitions on drives.
Restrictions and limitations of Recovery Console
When using Recovery Console, you can only access the following folders:
- The root folder
- The %SystemRoot% folder and subfolders (location where Windows is installed)
- The Cmdcons folder (this folder is created when Recovery Console is installed locally)
- Removable media drives such as CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives
If you try to obtain access to any other folder, you receive an “Access Denied” error. Also, you cannot copy files from the local hard disk to a floppy disk. You can copy files from a floppy disk, CD or DVD disk to the hard disk, or from one hard disk to another hard disk, but not to the floppy disk.
Opening Recovery Console
The following steps open a Recovery Console:
- Do one of the following depending on whether you are using a CD or the recovery console on the hard drive:
- If you have recovery console on the hard drive, turn on the computer and repeatedly press the F8 key after the first startup screen appears. Select Recovery Console using the arrow and Enter keys.NOTA:If using a Recovery Tools CD, select Run Microsoft Recovery Console, and follow the onscreen instructions to open the recovery console.If the Recovery Console option is not listed, select Return to OS Choices Menu to select Recovery Console.
- If you are using a CD that contains a recovery console, turn on the computer and press the Esc key repeatedly to open a boot device screen. On the Boot device screen, select the drive that contains the CD. When the computer displays Press any key to Boot from CD , press the Enter key.The computer starts from the CD-ROM and a black screen momentarily appears displaying Setup is inspecting your computer’s hardware configuration followed by a blue Windows Setup screen. Recovery Console continues to load the required files (see bottom of screen). When complete, the Windows XP Home Edition Screen displays.
- On the Windows XP Setup screen there are three options. Press the R key to select To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console .
- The screen changes to a black screen displaying Which Windows installation would you like to log onto?
- type the number next to C:\WINDOWS (the volume to be repaired) and press Enter .An Administrator password window appears.NOTA:If you are using the Recovery Console or Recovery Tools CD, the menu choice may be D:\WINDOWS or H:\WINDOWS .
- If you have not established an Administrator password, don't type anything and press the Enter key.If you have an Administrator password, enter the password and press Enter .
Using the Checkdisk Utility
Use the following steps start the recovery console and use chkdsk to resolve startup issues:
- Open a recovery console. For more information about how to open a recovery console, refer to the section above: Opening Recovery Console .
- At the C:\Windows> prompt in the recovery console enter chkdsk /r .NOTA:If chkdsk /r fails to start from the selected prompt, type chkdsk c: /r (note the space before and after the drives c:). If you are using a recovery console or Tools CD, type chkdsk d: /r , or chkdsk h: /r .Chkdsk starts.The time required depends on the size of the hard drive (it checks unused portions of the hard drive) and the amount of software installed. When chkdsk /r completes the screen displays the size of the volume checked and the allocation units. If errors are detected the result are displayed as CHKDSK found and fixed one or more errors on the volume . This is normal.
- Type EXIT and press Enter on the keyboard.The PC restarts.
- If you used the Recovery Console from a CD, while the PC is restarting, press the Eject button on the CD drive and wait a few seconds for the drive tray to open. Remove Recovery Console from the optical drive.
Microsoft support article: How to install and use the recovery console in Windows XP (in English).