Recovery Console

Windows 2000 provides the ability to access an advanced troubleshooting environment referred to as the Recovery Console. This tool, which is not installed by default, can be installed by running the winnt32 /cmdcons command. This option provides a command-line interface, similar to DOS, but with a more limited command set available. The recovery console will allow you to start and stop services, fix the master boot record, replace files, and so forth. However, there are certain things it will not allow you to do, such as edit a file. If you needed to do this, you would have to copy the file to a floppy, and edit it on another system. If you have not installed the Recovery Console in advance and need to use it, can still be accessed by booting the system using the Windows 2000 CD, choosing the option to repair Windows 2000, and then starting the Recovery Console.

If already installed, you can access the Recovery Console by rebooting and choosing the Recovery Console option from the boot loader menu. After it starts, you must log on with the local administrator account name and password. Remember that the recovery console provides access only to a limited set of commands, such as fixmbr (to fix the master boot record), format, disable (service or device driver) and so forth. For a complete list of supported commands, see this recovery console command reference.

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.