How to Enter Windows XP Recovery Console

Use this tool for advanced troubleshooting and system repair

What to Know

  • Boot from the Windows XP CD and wait for setup process to begin. Press R to enter Recovery Console.
  • Next, choose the Windows installation you want > enter administrator password > make necessary changes.

This article explains how to enter the Windows XP Recovery Console to resolve any major system problems.

Windows XP has been discontinued and is no longer supported by Microsoft. We recommend you update to a modern version of Windows, like Windows 10 or Windows 11.

01
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Boot From the Windows XP CD

Screenshot of the Press Any Key screen during Windows XP boot

To enter Recovery Console, boot from the Windows XP CD.

  1. Watch for a Press any key to boot from CD message.
  2. Press any key to force the computer to boot from the disc. If you don't press a key, your PC will continue to boot to the Windows installation that's currently installed on your hard drive. If this happens, just restart and try to boot to the CD again.
02
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Allow Windows XP to Begin the Setup Process

Screenshot of the Windows XP Setup loading screen

No user intervention is required in this step. Windows loads files in preparation for either a reinstallation of the OS or for use of the Recovery Console.

Do not press a function key if asked to do so during this process. Those options are only necessary when installing or reinstalling Windows XP.

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Press R to Enter Recovery Console

Screenshot of the Welcome to Setup options during a Windows XP installation

When the Windows XP Professional/Home Setup screen appears, press R to enter Recovery Console.

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Choose the Windows Installation

Screenshot of the Windows XP Recovery Console

The Recovery Console loads but needs to know which Windows installation to access. Most people have only one installation, so the choice is usually clear.

To the Which Windows installation would you like to log onto question, press 1 and then Enter.

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Enter the Administrator Password

Screenshot of the Windows XP Recovery Console Administrator Password field

The Recovery Console now needs to know the administrator password for this Windows installation. Unless you're using a PC in a sizable business network, the administrator password is most likely the same password you use to access Windows on a daily basis.

Enter the password and press Enter.

If you don't have a password or Windows normally starts without asking for one, simply press Enter.

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Make Necessary Changes in Recovery Console

Screenshot of the Windows XP Recovery Console

The Recovery Console is now fully loaded and the cursor should be sitting at the prompt, ready for a command, as shown in the screenshot above.

Make any changes necessary in the Recovery Console. When complete, remove the Windows disc and type exit, and then Enter, to restart the computer.

A limited number of commands are available for use from within Recovery Console. See the complete list of Recovery Console commands for more information.

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