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Windows 7 or Vista Recovery Console

System Recovery Options Windows 7‘System Recovery Options’ – the new Recovery Console, and more.

Here we discuss accessing the Windows 7 and Vista System Recovery Options and specifically the Command Prompt which was formerly the Recovery Console in Windows XP, 2000 & 2003.

A lot of my articles recently have been centered around the Windows Recovery Console and using it to fix all sorts of Windows XP startup issues as mentioned in my Windows Boot & Startup Troublshooting Guide but these are mostly for XP users.

Things are gradually moving ever onward and Windows 7 is getting a fairly big foothold so I thought I’d reveal a little secret about how to find the Recovery Console in Windows 7 (and Vista if you must).

So firstly, it’s being renamed or rather re-renamed back to plain old ‘Command Prompt’.  The thing is, the Recovery Console that was in Windows XP and several of Microsoft’s Server operating systems was a limited or restricted version of a command prompt with a limited number of commands that could be used.  This time, it’s a fully fledged command prompt.

Since Windows Vista and now Windows 7 this has all changed and Microsoft have once again given us back a command prompt kinda like what we had in Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows ME days.  Yae for getting good things back.

There are a host of other tools to help you troubleshoot and hopefully fix your Windows startup problems and frankly the amount of effort that seems to have gone into the ‘System Recovery Options’ is really just another way of saying, look we admit Windows develops frequent and crazily varied start up problems so here’s a suite of tools to help you fix it.

So to get to the main point which is really how to access the Command Prompt (aka the Recovery Console) if your system is being a little stubborn about booting then follow the options below:

Three Ways Into The System Recovery Options

So like all great things, there are many right ways of doing it.

In this case there are at least three ways to get into the system recovery options menu and therefore the Command Prompt (formerly the Recovery Console – I’ll stop saying that soon!).

Option 1 – Pressing F8 At Startup Time

  1. Turn on/restart your computer
  2. Just after the BIOS screen and before the Windows logo appears press the F8 key on your keyboard (you might have to try this a few times!) – you may now be presented with the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  3. Advanced Boot Options Menu Windows 7

  4. Select Repair Your Computer and press Enter – if you do not have a Repair Your Computer option then you need to go to Option 2 or 3 below.
  5. Select your keyboard and click Next – you’ll now be presented with the System Recovery Options menu
  6. Click Command Prompt

Option 2: Using your Windows 7 or Vista Installation DVD

For those of you lucky enough to have recevied a Windows 7 or Vista Installation DVD (I’m not talking about the Recovery CD – this is discussed in Option 3) with your PC or if you bought if off the shelf then you’ll be able to use this DVD to get into the System Recovery Options menu.  Here’s how:

  1. Insert your Windows 7 or Vista Installation DVD
  2. Restart your computer
  3. Boot from the DVD according to your own PC’s method.  Usually, you will be prompted to press any  key to boot from the DVD.
  4. You will be presented with the Install Windows screen.  Select your Language, etc and click Next
  5. Select the Repair Your Computer option as highlighted below.
  6. Install Windows 7 Screen

  7. Windows will start searching for Windows installations.  When it’s finished you will be shown a list of Windows installations on your hard disk.  Select the one you want to work with and click Next.
  8. A startup repair will now automatically begin.  Click Cancel and the Yes to confirm.
  9. Now click the link View Advanced Options for System Recovery and Support
  10. Select your Keyboard input method and language > click Next
  11. If you are prompted to log on as a local user then enter your username and password and click OK
  12. You’ll now be presented with System Recovery Options menu
  13. Click Command Prompt to access what used to be the Recovery Console

Option 3: Creating and Using a Windows 7 Recovery Disc or Windows Vista Repair Disc

  1. Download the correct version of the ISO files that you need from this page:  Windows 7 and Vista Downloadable Disc Images.  It will be for either Windows 7 or Windows Vista and either 32-bit or 64-bit.
  2. Create your disc from the ISO file.  You can find out how to create a bootable disc from an ISO image here.
  3. Insert the disc into the PC you need access the System Recovery Options from and boot from the CD/DVD.
  4. Select your Keyboard input method and language > click Next
  5. Now you are presented with the System Recovery Options menu.
  6. Click Command Prompt to access what used to be the Recovery Console


Wow, 7 Comments! We've got a conversation going now. Join the discussion below!

  1. Rob Kremers says:


    I have bought the Windows 7 ISO file because my Windows 7 64-bit has crashed after extending the C-drive (OS-drive).
    After that I have used Windows 7 USB DVD Download Tool to create a proper boot cd. Before I could do that I had to fix the ISO file using UltraIso.
    At last when starting my laptop recognized the ISO file but it says there is the content is incorrect: missing file.

    So please could you send me a correct version or give exact information how to proceed.

    Thanks in advance.


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  3. Its such as you read my thoughts! You seem to know a lot approximately this, like you wrote the e book
    in it or something. I think that you just can do with a few percent to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog.

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  4. Rana says:

    Thank you so much this was really helpful! 🙂

  5. Mohamed says:

    This is very helpful thank you

  6. Vinh says:

    Hello, f8 didn’t work for my pc, it only show 2 options f2 reboot and Del setup, so please help ! Thanks

  7. Hbg says:


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