The Recovery Console
is a feature of the Windows 2000
Windows 2000 is a line of operating systems produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, business desktops, laptops, and servers. Windows 2000 was released to manufacturing on 15 December 1999 and launched to retail on 17 February 2000. It is the successor to Windows NT 4.0, and is the...
, Windows XP
Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. First released to computer manufacturers on August 24, 2001, it is the second most popular version of Windows, based on installed user base...
and Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 is a server operating system produced by Microsoft, introduced on 24 April 2003. An updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, was released to manufacturing on 6 December 2005...
operating systems. It provides the means for administrators to perform a limited range of tasks using a command line interface. Its primary function is to enable administrators to recover from situations where Windows does not boot
In computing, booting is a process that begins when a user turns on a computer system and prepares the computer to perform its normal operations. On modern computers, this typically involves loading and starting an operating system. The boot sequence is the initial set of operations that the...
as far as presenting its graphical user interface
In computing, a graphical user interface is a type of user interface that allows users to interact with electronic devices with images rather than text commands. GUIs can be used in computers, hand-held devices such as MP3 players, portable media players or gaming devices, household appliances and...
. The recovery console is used to provide a way to access the hard drive in an emergency through the command prompt. As such, the Recovery Console can be accessed either through the original installation media used to install Windows, or it can also be installed to the hard drive and added to the NTLDR
NTLDR is the boot loader for all releases of Windows NT operating system up to and including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. NTLDR is typically run from the primary hard disk drive, but it can also run from portable storage devices such as a CD-ROM, USB flash drive, or floppy disk...
menu, however, relying on the latter is more risky because it requires that the computer can boot to the point that NTLDR loads.
The recovery console has a simple command line interpreter. Many of the available commands closely resemble the command-line commands that are normally available on Windows, namely
attrib is a command, in DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows. The function of attrib is to set and remove file attributes...
In computing, copy is a command in RT-11, RSX-11, OpenVMS, DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The command copies computer files from one directory to another. The destination defaults to the current working directory. If more than one source file is indicated, the destination must...
In computing, del is a command in various DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows command line interpreters such as COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe, 4DOS/4NT and Windows PowerShell. It is used to delete one or more files or directories from a filesystem. It is analogous to the Unix rm command...
, and so forth.
From the recovery console an administrator can:
- create and remove directories, and copy, erase, display, and rename files
- enable and disable services (which modifies the service control database in the registry, to take effect when the system is next bootstrapped)
- write a new Master Boot Record
A master boot record is a type of boot sector popularized by the IBM Personal Computer. It consists of a sequence of 512 bytes located at the first sector of a data storage device such as a hard disk...
to a disk, using the fixmbr command
- write a new Volume Boot Record
A volume boot record is a type of boot sector introduced by the IBM Personal Computer...
to a volume, using the fixboot command
- format volumes
- expand files from the compressed format in which they are stored on the installation CD-ROM
- perform a full CHKDSK
CHKDSK is a command on computers running DOS, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows operating systems that displays the file system integrity status of hard disks and floppy disk and can fix logical file system errors. It is similar to the fsck command in Unix.The command is implemented as an executable...
scan to repair corrupted disks and files, especially if the computer cannot be started properly
Filesystem access on the recovery console is by default severely limited. An administrator using the recovery console has only read-only access to all volumes except for the boot volume
In Microsoft Windows, the system partition and boot partition refer to:*The system partition is a disk partition that contains the boot sector and files such as NTLDR that are needed for booting Windows XP and earlier...
, and even on the boot volume only access to the root directory and to the Windows system directory (e.g. \WINNT). This can be changed by changing Security Policies to enable read/write access to the complete file system including copying files from removable media (i.e. floppy drives).
Although it appears in the list of commands available by using the
In computing, help is a command in various command line shells such as COMMAND.COM, cmd.exe, 4DOS/4NT, Windows PowerShell, Bash, Singularity shell, Python and GNU Octave. It provides online information about available commands and the shell environment. It is analogous to the Unix man command...
command, and in many articles about the Recovery Console (including those authored by Microsoft), the
command is not available. No protocol stacks are loaded, so there is no way to connect to a shared folder on a remote computer as implied.