Tutorial: Install Recovery Console to boot menu

By Mictlantecuhtli ยท 33 replies
Oct 8, 2003
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  1. Install Recovery Console to boot menu

    Seeing that a lot of people are having various problems needing recovery console to fix, I thought to give you this tip:

    You can install Recovery Console to boot menu, eliminating the need of Windows CD. You just need the CD to do it ;)

    From the CD, run

    \i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

    This should install it to boot menu so that you can select it by pressing F8 when booting in the future.
  2. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 3,874

    That's a great tip Mictlantecuhtli. I'll make it a "READ" thread so it sticks at the top.
  3. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,645

    Excellent tip, Mict. I just did it and I'm sure it will be a great help in the future :)
  4. hawk710

    hawk710 TS Rookie

    could you explain the step by step on this, I think this is what I might need to fix my problem. Thanks
  5. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    Insert your windows 2000 or XP CD.

    Open the command prompt, either from menu or by going to start, run, and typing


    and then return.

    opens command prompt windows.

    now, issue this command:

    d:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

    where d: is the drive letter of your CD ROM drive. There will be some basic setup questions. Then, reboot. You can now select the recovery console from the boot menu, which can help you diagnose problems with your machine.

    the recovery console is also available without prior installation if you boot from the windows CD and choose to recover.
  6. hawk710

    hawk710 TS Rookie

    Thank you. I am new to this board but am definitely impressed with it.
  7. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,512   +65

    It seems like whenever I need recovery console, the problem is so bad that I can't boot into recovery console from the boot menu. ;)

    Of course, it is certainly something I have installed though.
  8. Amigosdefox

    Amigosdefox TS Booster Posts: 100   +10

    So how do you uninstall it?
  9. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,182

    Open a command prompt, then :

    cd c:\
    attrib -hsr boot.ini
    edit boot.ini

    Remove the line for the recovery console & ONLY THAT LINE. Save the changes then :

    attrib +hsr boot.ini
  10. Blorpuncle

    Blorpuncle TS Rookie

    As i mentioned in the previous thread ''Read : How to ...'' i seem to have a corrupted registry problem. When i boot from the Windows CD my PC freezes when i get to the Welcome to Setup screen where i could do a setup or select ''R'' for repair. I cannot go into safe mode either because i get the same ''...\system file is missing or corrupt'' message so no command prompt available there for me. I tried creating and using the 6 setup diskettes but that didn't help. I downloaded the latest raid driver but that didn't help either.

    So i wonder, how can i access the Windows CD to run ''\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons'' so as to install it at the boot menu since i cannot get a command prompt (unless there is a way that i don't know) ?
  11. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,049   +11

    Just a small tip that might help recovery console usage:


    At least Windows Server 2003 and server versions of Win2k have Local Security Policy Editor, but 2k workstation and XP Pro should have Group Policy Object Editor too, just run gpedit.msc and navigate to Computer Configuration - Windows Settings - Security Settings - Local Policies - Security Options.
  12. suzumebachi

    suzumebachi TS Rookie

    is there a way to do this for SP2? when i try doing that it says "Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD."
  13. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,049   +11

    Slipstreaming SP2 files into XP's i386 directory is the only option that I can think of in that case.

    So, you need to copy the XP CD to hard disk, then run SP2 network installer with parameter /integrate:pathwhereyoucopiedit, for example WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe /integrate:c:\xpcd.

    Then you can run winnt32 /cmdcons from c:\xpcd and delete the directory.

    Heh, hundreds of megabytes needed for 7 megabyte recovery console installation :giddy:
  14. getzoot

    getzoot TS Rookie

    No XP cd, how to install recovery console

    I have a Compaq Presario system that came with no XP CD. How then do I install the Recovery Console?
  15. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,049   +11

    Download & create XP boot floppies, and boot to recovery console using them. It won't install it to the boot menu however, and I can't think of other means without a CD now.

    Just a thought.. don't OEMs leave the install files to hard disk somewhere? You could try searching for winnt32.exe, including hidden & system files in search.
  16. getzoot

    getzoot TS Rookie

    Yes, found winnt32.exe in window\I386
  17. ricvai7

    ricvai7 TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Does it replace the contents in file boot.bak as well?
  18. ricvai7

    ricvai7 TS Rookie Posts: 31

    It's much simpler to rename to boot.bak to boot ini. But for arguement sake, it's possible to edit files using Recovery Console - albeit an indirect method.

    There are certain limitations to Recovery Console. It doesnt include a text editor & it doesnt allow copying files to removable media like floppies.

    Despite so, it's still possible to edit boot.ini.

    Using recovery console, we can still view the contents of boot.ini - type c:\boot.ini

    [boot loader]
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

    Copy the contents of boot.ini into a piece of paper.

    Use another computer (Notepad.exe) or Win98 startup disk (Edit.com) to create a new boot.ini.

    [boot loader]
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn
    C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons

    Copy this into new boot.ini into a floppy & use it to overwrite unto existing copy in Recovery Console. Type copy a:\boot.ini c:\boot.ini
  19. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    I have found that the recovery console will not install if you have SP2 installed, so I usually install it first. I didn't check if there is a recovery console for SP2 in the service pack installation folders, there might be.
  20. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 4,049   +11

    Look at the picture above.
  21. ricvai7

    ricvai7 TS Rookie Posts: 31

    I see...it was my mistake...appologize for that...:p

    Or could use bootcfg /rebuild to rebuild new boot file.

    To resolve this issue, start the computer from the Windows XP CD, start the Recovery Console, and then use the Bootcfg.exe tool to rebuild the Boot.ini file. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Configure the computer to start from the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive. For information about how to do this, see your computer documentation, or contact your computer manufacturer.
    2. Insert the Windows XP CD-ROM into your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, and then restart your computer.
    3. When you receive the "Press any key to boot from CD" message, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD-ROM.
    4. When you receive the "Welcome to Setup" message, press R to start the Recovery Console.
    5. If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot computer, select the installation that you have to use from the Recovery Console.
    6. When you are prompted, type the administrator password, and then press ENTER.
    7. At the command prompt, type bootcfg /list, and then press ENTER. The entries in your current Boot.ini file appear on the screen.
    8. At the command prompt, type bootcfg /rebuild, and then press ENTER. This command scans the hard disks of the computer for Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft Windows NT installations, and then displays the results. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen to add the Windows installations to the Boot.ini file. For example, follow these steps to add a Windows XP installation to the Boot.ini file:
    a. When you receive a message that is similar to the following message, press Y:
    Total Identified Windows Installs: 1

    [1] C:\Windows
    Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All)
    b. You receive a message that is similar to the following message:
    Enter Load Identifier
    This is the name of the operating system. When you receive this message, type the name of your operating system, and then press ENTER. This is either Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.
    c. You receive a message that is similar to the following:
    Enter OS Load options
    When you receive this message, type /fastdetect, and then press ENTER.

    Note The instructions that appear on your screen may be different, depending on the configuration of your computer.
    9. Type exit, and then press ENTER to quit Recovery Console. Your computer restarts, and the updated boot list appears when you receive the "Please select the operating system to start" message.

    taken from http://support.microsoft.com/defaul...kb;en-us;330184
  22. Shoey Peachew

    Shoey Peachew TS Rookie


    I'm in need of some help and you people seem to know a lot about Windows Recovery Console. Here's the problem, I have 2x36 raptors in raid 0 and I've formatted it to use a 16k cluster sized partition. The problem I have is when I try to install XP Pro on the partition, it loads the setup files, reboots and I get this error:

    A disk read error occured
    press ctrl alt del

    What I'm trying to do is start Recovery Console and run chkdsk /p to fix the partition and hopefully be able to install Winblows. :giddy: Unfortunately, when I try to start RC via the XP installation disk, it asks to for a floppy to be inserted and I don't have a floppy drive. :eek: Well, I figured out you can install RC onto a hard drive, which I did on my spare IDE drive, and I can start RC and when it asks if I want to install any Raid drivers I can't because I don't have a floppy drive. :eek: Now, here is the problem, I can't run chkdsk /p unless RC can install my Intel Raid driver to see my 2x36gig Raptors in Raid 0.

    So, is there a way to slipstream my raid driver into RC so when I reboot my pc and run RC it will be able to see my 2x36 Raptors in raid 0? :confused:

    Edit: Never mind. I got it to work and recovery console didn't help.
  23. tomrca

    tomrca TS Rookie Posts: 925

    recovery consol

    if i were to try to install this recovery consol at this time, would it cause me to lose any of my data and files? as there is no problem with my pc other than i would like to have a better one `lol`
  24. Baz63

    Baz63 TS Rookie

    I'm trying to instal recovery console from my installation cd onto my pc. Ive issued the command as instructed in the command windows which is fine, but then I receive a message 'set up was unable to reach the Msoft windows update site because it is currently unavailable', and I then get the choice of exiting or proceeding with set up. I nturally exit because I don't want to set up windows.

    Am I doing something wrong?

    I have win xp home edition sp 2
  25. Baz63

    Baz63 TS Rookie

    Sorry. i worked it out.

    I simply [proceeded with the instal. I thought it was asking to reinstall the whole of Windows.
    Recovery console now installed.

    Yet another seriously bad Homer moment

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