Article: Keeping XP working for you

by mark white


Imagine the situation, you are about to start your days work on your trusty computer when blimey, the thing wont boot up.
The reason could be a dodgy driver or an unknown virus may have the master boot record all in a tizzy, the first thing you do is try the automatic recovery to try and return to the last know configuration (Usually f8 when booting then choose safe mode from the menu options then all programs/ accessories/system tools/system restore ).
If this doesnt work you will have wished you had installed the little know recovery console supplied on the XP disk. This tool is not installed as default by Microsoft so you will have to do it yourself.
It takes a mere 7MB and will take about 30 to 45 minutes.
Insert your XP disk and from the run box and type in or browse to di386WINNT32.EXE /cmdcons and press OK (d being shown as the letter drive your XP disk is in) .
You will be prompted through the installation process which when complete will add the option to boot into the recovery console upon start up.


Once selected from the boot up screen you will have to choose a which installation you want to go to, this is for people that have multiple systems on their computer so if you only have 1 press 1 and enter.
You should now be at the system root which is usually C:/windows
A full list of commands is available at the HELP section, just type help and enter and you will be told everything that the recovery console can do, Pressing the space bar continues the list.

The important tools that dont require much technical knowledge are the ones you may already of used in DOS such as diskpart, format and chkdsk.
Chkdsk searches a disk or file for errors and repairs them.
Diskpart is a partition tool for creating / deleting partitions and format is exactly that, a format disk tool.

If you are having problems getting past boot up then try the fixboot command.
The other common problem is a virus infecting you master boot record or MBR and the solution is to type in fixmbr although it is important to get it scanned with an antivirus program if you can as this can lead to partitions you might not be able to access.

Another Useful command is the listsvc command which lists all services and drivers so if you have an idea where your problem may lie you can simply type disable / followed by which service you want to stop and the same with the enable / command.

You should be able to save yourself having to reinstall windows so its worth having , even if you never use it.

More help is available at the Microsoft site.

As with all tools which enable you to change the registry please exercise caution, take it to a professional if at all unsure.
Mark white

About the Author

I am an internet freek and i earn a living with 2 websites that i built and run.
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I have an unhealthy interest in anything computer related.

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