When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can obtain limited access to NTFS, FAT, and FAT32 volumes without starting the Windows graphical interface. In the Windows Recovery Console you can:
- Use, copy, rename or replace operating system files and folders.
- Enable or disable services or devices from starting when you next start your computer.
- Repair the file system boot sector or the Master Boot Record (MBR).
- Create and format partitions on drives.
Note that only an administrator can obtain access to the Windows Recovery Console so that unauthorized users cannot use any NTFS volume.
Starting the Windows Recovery Console
To start the Windows Recovery Console, use any of the following methods:
- Start your computer with the Windows Setup floppy disks, or with
the Windows CD-ROM. At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press F10, or
press R to repair, and then press C (Windows 2000 only) to start the
Windows Recovery Console. Select the appropriate number for the
Windows installation that you want to repair, and then type the
administrator password. If the administrator password does not exist,
just press ENTER.
- Add the Windows Recovery Console to the Windows Startup folder by
using Winnt32.exe with the /cmdcons switch. This procedure
requires approximately 7 MB of hard disk space on your system
partition to hold the Cmdcons folder and files.
NOTE: If you are using software mirroring, please see the
following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
Mirroring Prevents Pre-Installing the Recovery Console
- Follow the instructions in the following article in the Microsoft
Creating a Template to Run Recovery Console Using a Remote Install Server
Using the Command Console
After you start the Windows Recovery Console, you receive the following message:
Windows NT(TM) Boot Console Command Interpreter.
This is a limited function command prompt intended only as a system recovery utility for advanced users. Using this utility incorrectly can cause serious system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows to correct them.
Type 'exit' to leave the command prompt and reboot the system.
Which Windows installation would you like to logon to (enter to abort)?
After you enter the number for the appropriate Windows installation, enter the Administrator account password. Note that if you use an incorrect password three times, the Windows Recovery Console quits. Also, if the SAM database
is missing or damaged, you are not able to use the Windows Recovery Console because you cannot be properly authenticated. After you enter your
password and the Windows Recovery Console starts, type exit
to restart your computer.
Restrictions and Limitations of the Command Console
From the Windows Recovery Console you can only use the following folders:
- The root folder
- The %SystemRoot% folder and the subfolders of the Windows installation you are currently logged on to
- The Cmdcons folder
- Removable media drives such as CD-ROM drives
: If you try to obtain access to other folders, you receive an "Access Denied" error message. Also, while you are using the Windows Recovery Console, you cannot copy a file from the local hard disk to a floppy disk. You can copy a file from a floppy disk or CD-ROM to a hard disk, and from one hard disk to another hard disk.
Use the help
command to list all of the following supported commands:
attrib delete fixboot md type
cd dir fixmbr mkdir systemroot
chdir disable format more
chkdsk diskpart help rd
cls enable listsvc ren
copy exit logon rename
del expand map rmdir
Use the attrib
command with any of the following parameters to change attributes of a file or folder:
+ Sets an attribute.
- Resets an attribute.
R Read-Only file attribute.
S System file attribute.
H Hidden file attribute.
: At least one attribute must be set or cleared. To view attributes, use the dir
CD and CHDIR
Use the cd
commands to change the folder. If you type cd ..
, you specify that you want to change to the parent folder. Type cd drive:
to display the current folder in the specified drive. Type cd
without parameters to display the current drive and folder. The chdir
command treats spaces as delimiters. Because of this, you must enclose a subfolder name that contains a space with quotation marks, for example:
cd "\winnt\profiles\username\programs\start menu"
command only operates within the system folders of the
current installation of Windows, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
chkdsk drive /p /r
This command (where drive
specifies the drive to check) checks the drive, and if needed, repairs or recovers the drive. It also marks bad sectors and recovers readable information.
switch instructs CHKDSK to do an exhaustive check of the drive even if the drive is not marked with problems, and then corrects any errors that are found. The /r
switch locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. Note that if you specify the /r
switch, the /p
switch is implied. The chkdsk
command may be specified without arguments, in which case the current drive is implied with no switches. Optionally, the listed switches are accepted. The chkdsk
command requires the Autochk.exe file. Chkdsk automatically locates this file in the bootup folder. Typically, this folder is the Cmdcons folder if the Command Console was pre-installed. If the folder cannot be found in the bootup folder, Chkdsk tries to locate the Windows CD-ROM installation
media. If the installation media cannot be found, Chkdsk prompts you to provide the location of the Autochk.exe file.
Use this command to clear the screen.
copy source destination
Use this command (where source
specifies the file to be copied and destination
specifies the folder or file name for the new file) to copy a file. Wildcards or folder copies are not permitted. A compressed file from the Windows CD-ROM is automatically decompressed as it is copied.
is not specified, it defaults to the
current folder. If the file already exists, you are prompted to overwrite it.
DEL and DELETE
del drive: path filename
delete drive: path filename
Use this commmand (where drive
: path filename
specifies the file to delete) to delete a file.
command only operates within the system folders of the
current Windows installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources. The delete
command does not accept wild card (*) characters.
dir drive: path filename
Use this command (where drive
: path filename
specifies drive, folder, and files to list) to display a list of files and subfolders in a folder. The dir
command lists all files including hidden and system files. Files may have the following attributes:
D - Directory R - Read-only file
H - Hidden file A - Files ready for archiving
S - System file C - Compressed
E - Encrypted P - Reparse Point
command only operates within the system folders of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
Use this command (where servicename
specifies the name of the service or driver to be disabled) to disable a Windows system service or driver.
Use the listsvc
command to display all eligible services or drivers to disable. The disable
command prints the old start type of the service before resetting it to SERVICE_DISABLED. Because of this, you should record the old start type in case it is necessary to re-enable the service.
The start_type values that the disable
command displays are:
diskpart /add /delete device_name drive_name partition_name size
Use this command to manage the partitions on your hard disk volumes.
- /add: Creates a new partition.
- /delete: Deletes an existing partition.
- device_name: The device name for creating a new partition. The name can be obtained from the output of the MAP command, for example: \Device\HardDisk0.
- drive_name: A drive-letter based name for deleting an existing partition, for example D:
- partition_name: The partition-based name for deleting an existing partition and can be used in place of the drive name argument, for example: \Device\HardDisk0\Partition1.
- size: The size of the new partition in megabytes.
: If no arguments are used, a user interface for managing your partitions is displayed.WARNING
: This command can damage your partition table if the disk has been upgraded to a dynamic disk configuration. Do not modify the structure of dynamic disks unless you are using the Disk Management tool.
ENABLEenable servicename start_type
You can use the enable
command (where servicename
is the name of the service or driver to be enabled) to enable a Windows system service or driver.
Use the listsvc
command to display all eligible services or drivers to enable. The enable
command prints the old start type of the service before resetting it to the new value. You should note the old value, in case it is necessary to restore the start type of the service.
: If you do not specify a new start type, the enable
command prints the old start type for you.
Use the exit
command to quit the Command Console and restart your computer.
expand source [/F:filespec] [destination] [/y]
expand source [/F:filespec] /D
Use this command
specifies the name of the file to be expanded and destination
specifies the directory for the new file) to expand a file.NOTE
: You may not include wildcards.
is not specified, the command defaults to the current folder.Options
- /y: Do not prompt before overwriting an existing file.
- /f:filespec: If the source contains more than one file, this parameter is required to identify the specific files to be expanded. You may include wildcards.
- /d: Do not expand; only display a directory of the files which are contained in the source.
The destination may be any directory within the system directories of the current Windows installation, the root of the drive, the local installation sources, or the Cmdcons folder. The destination cannot be removable media. The destination file cannot be read-only. Use the attrib
command to remove the read-only attribute.expand
prompts you if the destination file already exists unless you use /y
fixboot drive name:
Use this command (where drive name
is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written) to write the new Windows boot sector code on the boot partition. This command fixes problems where the Windows boot sector is corrupted. The Emergency Repair process also fixes the boot sector. This command overrides the default of writing to the system boot partition.
fixmbr device name
Use this command (where device name
is an optional device name that specifies the device that needs a new MBR) to repair the master boot record (MBR) of the system partition. This command is
used in scenarios where a virus has damaged the MBR and Windows
: This command has the potential to damage your partition tables if a virus is present or a hardware problem exists. This command may lead to inaccessible partitions. Microsoft suggests running antivirus software before using this command.
The name can be obtained from the output of the map
command. If this is left blank, the boot device's MBR is fixed, for example:
If Fixmbr detects an invalid or non-standard partition table signature, it prompts you for permission before rewriting the MBR.
format drive: /Q /FS:file-system
Use this command (where /Q
performs a quick format of the drive, drive
is the drive letter of the partition to format /FS:file-system
specifies the type of file system to use [FAT, FAT32, or NTFS]) to format the specified drive to the specified file system.
If a file system is not specified, the existing file system format is used, when available.
command lists all available services, drivers, and their start types for the current Windows installation. This command may be useful when using the disable
: These are extracted from the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\SYSTEM hive. If the SYSTEM hive become damaged or missing, unpredictable results may occur.
command lists all detected installations of Windows, and then requests the local administrator password for the copy of Windows you chose to log on to. If more than three attempts to logon do not succeed, the console quits and your computer restarts.
Use this command (where the arc
parameter tells the map
command to use ARC paths instead of Windows Device paths) to list drive letters, file system types, partition sizes and mappings to physical devices.
MD and MKDIR
commands create new folders. Wildcard characters are not supported. The mkdir
command only operates within the system folders of the current installation of Windows, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
Use this command to display a text file to the screen.
RD and RMDIR
commands delete a folder.
These commands only operate within the system folders of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
REN and RENAME
commands can rename a file. Note that you cannot specify a new drive or path for your destination file. These
commands only operate within the system folders of the current Windows installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.
command allows you to display or modify four environment options.
AllowWildCards = FALSE
AllowAllPaths = FALSE
AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE
NoCopyPrompt = FALSE
command sets the current working folder to the %SystemRoot% folder of the Windows installation you are currently logged on to.
command displays a text file.