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Install Recovery Console (Add to Windows XP Boot Menu)

Frustrated Computer User Windows Recovery ConsoleXP Recovery Console Installation Steps

The Recovery Console is a special DOS style mode that can be accessed and used primarily when you are having trouble booting into the Windows desktop.

A number of previous articles I’ve written mention using the Recovery Console to help resolve Windows boot errors such as:

There are three ways that I’m aware of to access the XP Recovery Console but the one we’re concerned with here is using the boot menu but to do that you must first install the console.

This is the quickest and easiest method of accessing the console and is worth the few minutes effort to get it installed now rather than waiting until you have boot problems.

This article steps you through installing the Recovery Console so that it appears as an option in the Windows XP Boot Menu  as shown  in the screenshot below.

Windows XP Recovery Console Boot Menu

Installation is only possible through Windows, therefore you must be able to boot into Windows before being able to install the console.

If you cannot boot into Windows and you have not previously installed the Recovery Console then you must access the console either your Windows XP CD or by creating your own bootable CD.

You can read about both of those options in the article Access Windows XP Recovery Console.

XP Recovery Console Installation Instructions

  1. Insert your Windows XP Installation CD
  2. Click Start > Run
  3. Browse to your CD/DVD drive > i386 folder (or amd64 depending on your system) > winnt32.exe > Click OK
  4. Now append /cmdcons after winnt32.exe
  5. The whole run command should be something like x:i386winnt32.exe /cmdcons (where x: is you CD/DVD drive)
  6. When the Windows Setup dialog box appears click Yes

When the installation is complete, reboot your computer.  When rebooting you will notice a new boot menu with Recovery Console on it.

This is an advisable measure for anyone using Windows XP as it can prove to be an invaluable troubleshooting and repair tool.  It’s just a mystery that Microsoft don’t have it installed in the boot menu by default!


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  1. Johnna says:

    I’m trying to create a bootable cd to install the recovery console onto another computer in our office that has crashed. How do I do this?

    Thank you!

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