Insert the Windows XP cd in your computer. 

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Restart your computer so you are booting off of the CD.

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Screenshot of the Windows XP Professional splash screen

When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, press the R button on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.

Windows XP "Welcome" screen font?

The Recovery Console will start and ask you which Windows installation you would like to log on to.

What is the Recovery Console?

The Recovery Console is a special boot up method that can be used to help fix problems that are preventing your Windows installation from properly booting up into Windows. This method allows you to access the files, format drives, disable and enable services, and other tasks from a console prompt while the operating system is not loaded. It is suggested that the Recovery Console is to only be used only after Safe mode and the other standard startup options do not work. I feel that the Recovery Console is also useful in other situations such as removing malware files that start in both Safe mode and Standard Mode and thus not allowing you to delete the infection.

To start the Recovery Console directly from the Windows XP CD you would do the following:

  1. Insert the Windows XP cd in your computer.
  2. Restart your computer so you are booting off of the CD.
  3. When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, press the R button on your keyboard to start the Recovery Console.
  4. The Recovery Console will start and ask you which Windows installation you would like to log on to. If you have multiple Windows installations, it will list each one, and you would enter the number associated with the installation you would like to work on and press enter. If you have just one Windows installation, type 1 and press enter.
  5. It will then prompt you for the Administrator’s password. If there is no password, simply press enter. Otherwise type in the password and then press enter. If you do not know your password then see this.
  6. If you entered the correct password you will now be presented with a C:\Windows> prompt and you can start using the Recovery Console.
  7. Proceed to How to use the Recovery Console.

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