Using the Recovery Console to Change Service and Driver Startup Settings

One very common reason for boot issues on an XP system is problems with loading drivers and system services, which may be unstable, damaged, or corrupted. Use the Enable Boot Logging advanced startup option to try to determine the driver or system service name causing a failure, or even a filename referenced in any error messages you might receive when trying to boot XP normally. This information is useful, since the Recovery Console allows you to configure the startup settings with drivers and system services, selectively disabling them or changing their startup settings if necessary.

The listsvc command displays a list of all critical drivers and system services, and displays information about their current settings – for example if they are configured to start automatically, manually, or if they are disabled. The enable command allows you to enable a service or driver, and control its startup setting. For example, the command enable messenger SERVICE_AUTO_START would configure the Messenger service to start automatically. The disable command disables a service, just as the name suggests. Try disabling drivers or services which you suspect of causing boot problems, but be sure to write down their current settings first, just in case you need to change them back.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.