Local install of Windows Recovery Console

Recovery console is special boot mode that allows to fix some common issues. Usually used when Windows cannot get to GUI stage. It is available from install disk (Windows 2000, XP, 2003).

Since those discs tend to go missing when needed most – good preemptive action is to install recovery console on local hard drive.

Local install

Installing console is quite easy. Insert Windows install CD (or use local copy of I386 folder) and run following command on it:

X:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

windows_recovery_console It will copy required files (around ~7MB) to hidden system folder on drive where Windows is installed. After that recovery console will be always available as boot option without need for install media.

What it does

Recovery console is not equal to regular Windows console but offers many command line commands that are similar. It allows to:

  • manage drives and partitions, check them for errors;
  • listing and disabling system services and drivers;
  • perform common operations with files.


For security reasons recovery console requires login details with administrator privileges and access to file system is very limited. It is primarily tools for fixes and not suitable for such tasks as recovering files.

Since it is intended purely for administrators to use many commands can be very destructive if used without caution.


Local install of recovery console can in many cases serve as quick way to fix minor issues that render Windows unbootable. Since it is too late to bother with install when trouble strikes it is good habit to perform it right after fresh Windows installation.

Knowledge Base support.microsoft.com/kb/314058/

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