Description of the Windows 2000 Recovery Console (Article ID: Q229716)


The information in this article applies to:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server


SUMMARY

This article describes the functionality and limitations of the Windows 2000 Recovery Console. The Recovery Console is designed to help you recover when your Windows 2000-based computer does not start properly or at all.


MORE INFORMATION

With the Windows 2000 Recovery Console you can obtain limited access to NTFS, FAT, and FAT32 volumes without starting the Windows graphical interface. In the 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 Recovery Console so unauthorized users cannot use any NTFS volume.

Starting the Recovery Console

To start the Recovery Console, use any of the following methods:
  • Start your computer with the Windows 2000 Setup floppy disks, or with the Windows 2000 CD-ROM. At the "Welcome to Setup" screen, press F10, or press R to repair, and then C to start the Recovery Console.

  • Add the Recovery Console to the Windows 2000 Startup folder by using Winnt32.exe with the /cmdcons switch. This requires approximately 7 MB of hard disk space on your system partition to hold the Cmdcons folder and files. Note that if you are using software mirroring, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    Q229077 Mirroring Prevents Pre-Installing the Recovery Console
  • Follow the instructions in the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    Q222478 Creating a Template to Run Recovery Console Using a Remote Install Server

Using the Command Console

After you start the Recovery Console, you receive the following message:
Windows NT(TM) Boot Console Command Interpreter.

WARNING:

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 NT to correct them.

Type 'exit' to leave the command prompt and reboot the system.

1: C:\WINNT

Which Windows NT installation would you like to logon to (enter to abort)?
After you enter the number for the appropriate Windows 2000 installation, enter the Administrator account password. Note that if you use an incorrect password 3 times, the Recovery Console quits. Also, if the SAM database is missing or damaged, you are not be able to use the Recovery Console because you cannot be properly authenticated. After you enter your password and the Recovery Console starts, typing exit restarts your computer.

Restrictions and Limitations of the Command Console

From the Recovery Console you can only use the following folders:
  • The root folder.

  • The %SystemRoot% folder and the subfolders of the Windows 2000 installation you are currently logged in to.

  • The Cmdcons folder.

  • Removable media drives such as CD-ROM drives.

NOTE: If you try to obtain access to other folders, you receive an "Access Denied" error message. Also, while in the 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.

Available Commands

HELP

The help command lists 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 

ATTRIB

The attrib command with any of the following parameters can change attributes of a file or folder:
-R
+R
-S
+S
-H
+H

+ Sets an attribute.
- Resets an attribute.
R Read-Only file attribute.
S System file attribute.
H Hidden file attribute.
NOTE: At least one attribute must be set or cleared. To view attributes, use the dir command.

CD and CHDIR

The cd and chdir commands change the folder. Typing cd .. specifies 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"
The chdir command only operates within the system folders of the current installation of Windows 2000, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.

CHKDSK

chkdsk drive /p /r

Checks, and if needed, repairs or recovers a drive. Also marks bad sectors and recovers readable information.

where drive specifies the drive to check.

The /p switch instructs CHKDSK to do an exhaustive check of the drive even if the drive is not marked with problems and corrects any errors found. The /r switch locates bad sectors and recovers readable information. Note that specifying the /r switch implies the /p switch. 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. This would typically be the Cmdcons folder if the Command Console was pre-installed. If it cannot be found in the bootup folder, Chkdsk tries to locate the Windows 2000 CD-ROM installation media. If the installation media cannot be found, Chkdsk prompts you to provide the location of the Autochk.exe file.

CLS

Clears the screen.

COPY

copy source destination

Copies a file.

where source specifies the file to be copied. Wildcards or folder copies are not permitted. A compressed file from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM is automatically decompressed as it is copied.

where destination specifies the folder or file name for the new file. If this 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

Deletes a file.

where drive: path filename specifies the file to delete.

The delete command only operates within the system folders of the current Windows 2000 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

dir drive: path filename

Displays a list of files and subfolders in a folder.

where drive: path filename specifies drive, folder, and/or files to list. 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 
The dir command only operates within the system folders of the current Windows 2000 installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.

DISABLE

disable servicename

The disable command disables a Windows 2000 system service or driver.

where servicename specifies the name of the service or driver to be disabled. 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:
SERVICE_DISABLED
SERVICE_BOOT_START
SERVICE_SYSTEM_START
SERVICE_AUTO_START
SERVICE_DEMAND_START

DISKPART

diskpart /add /delete device_name drive_name partition_name size

Use the diskpart command to manage the partitions on your hard disk volumes.

where /add create a new partition.

where /delete delete an existing partition.

where device_name is the device name for creating a new partition. The name can be obtained from the output of the MAP command. For example: \Device\HardDisk0

where drive_name is a drive-letter based name for deleting an existing partition. Example D:

where partition_name is a partition-based name for deleting an existing partition and can be used in place of the drive name argument. Example: \Device\HardDisk0\Partition1

where size is the size of the new partition in megabytes.

NOTE: If no arguments are used, a user interface for managing your partitions appears.

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.

ENABLE

enable servicename start_type

You can use the enable command to enable a Windows 2000 system service or driver.

where servicename is the name of the service or driver to be enabled. 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.

where start_type valid start_type values are:
SERVICE_BOOT_START
SERVICE_SYSTEM_START
SERVICE_AUTO_START
SERVICE_DEMAND_START
NOTE: If you do not specify a new start type, the enable command prints the old start type for you.

EXIT

You can use the exit command to quit the Command Console and restart your computer.

EXPAND

expand source [/F:filespec] [destination] [/y] expand source [/F:filespec] /D

where source specifies the name of the file to be expanded. May not include wildcards.

where destination specifies the directory for the new file. If not specified, this defaults to the current folder.

/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 file(s) to be expanded. 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 directory.

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 if the destination file already exists unless /Y is used.

FIXBOOT

fixboot drive name:

Writes new Windows 2000 boot sector code on the boot partition. This fixes problems where the Windows 2000 boot sector is corrupted. The Emergency Repair process also fixes the boot sector.

where drive name: is the drive letter where the boot sector will be written. This overrides the default of writing to the system boot partition.

FIXMBR

fixmbr device name

Repairs the master boot record (MBR) of the system partition. This is used in scenarios where a virus has damaged the MBR and Windows 2000 cannot start.

WARNING: 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.

where device name is an optional device name that specifies the device that needs a new MBR. 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:
fixmbr \device\harddisk2
If Fixmbr detects an invalid or non-standard partition table signature, it prompts you for permission before rewriting the MBR.

FORMAT

format drive: /Q /FS:file-system

Formats the specified drive to the specified file system.

where drive is the drive letter of the partition to format.

where /Q performs a quick format of the drive.

where /FS:file-system specifies the type of file system to use (FAT, FAT32, or NTFS). If none is specified, the existing file system format is used, when available.

LISTSVC

The listsvc command lists all available services, drivers and their start types for the current Windows 2000 installation. This may be useful when using the disable and enable commands.

NOTE: These are extracted from the %SystemRoot%\System32\Config\SYSTEM hive. Should the SYSTEM hive become damaged or missing, unpredictable results may occur.

LOGON

logon

The logon command lists all detected installations of Windows 2000 and Windows NT, 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.

MAP

map arc

The map command lists drive letters, file system types, partition sizes and mappings to physical devices.

where the arc parameter tells the map command to use ARC paths instead of Windows Device paths.

MD and MKDIR

The md or 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 2000, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.

MORE

more filename

The MORE command displays a text file to the screen.

RD and RMDIR

The rd and rmdir commands delete a folder.

These commands only operate within the system folders of the current Windows 2000 installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.

REN and RENAME

The 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 2000 installation, removable media, the root folder of any hard disk partition, or the local installation sources.

SET

The set command allows you to display or modify four environment options.
AllowWildCards = FALSE AllowAllPaths = FALSE AllowRemovableMedia = FALSE NoCopyPrompt = FALSE

SYSTEMROOT

The systemroot command sets the current working folder to the %SystemRoot% folder of the Windows 2000 installation you are currently logged into.

TYPE

type filename

The type command displays a text file.

 

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Last Reviewed: August 2, 2001