Join Mike Meyers for an in-depth discussion in this video Recovery Console, part of CompTIA A+ (220-902) Cert Prep: 4 Virtualization Printers and Troubleshooting.
- The folks over at CompTIA sometimes leave objectives in the A+ that well I find objectionable. And right here is one of them. This is a discussion that I did a few years back on good old Windows XP Recovery Console. Now XP isn't even on the exam, however, there are objectives on the exam that elude to it. So, no reason to repeat stuff that I've done so well so long ago. So folks, here's Windows Recovery Console. If you want to put fear deep into the soul of a technician, all you need to do is have an error screen that looks something like this, where it's just black with some white lettering on there.
There's no Windows, nothing's popped up, the post kicks over and then all of a sudden, scarey things like this develop. What we're talking about are boot errors. Boot errors are things that come up that prevent Windows from even getting started. Now you've got to be careful with boot errors. Some boot errors will say things like no boot device available or something like that. That's not a Windows problem, you understand? That could be a bad hard drive. That could be something messed up in your boot order. There's something else.
When you see errors that say things like NT Loader not found or boot manager's missing, now those are clues, those are Windows things. So while errors like this look similar, you have to be able to discern the difference between the two. So what we're going to assume here is that we're getting really scary, but Windows-based errors. Things that are saying things like, NT Loader is missing. And in that type of situation, one of the best tools to turn to in Windows XP is the Recovery Console.
To get to the Recovery Console, you have to have your Windows XP installation media, boot off to that and then you get to a screen that looks like this. I just got an error on this Windows XP installation that said NT Loader is missing. So what I'm going to do fix this is I'm going to go ahead and run the Recovery Console. So I went ahead and I threw my XP installation CD into my DVD drive. It's booted off of this and I'm getting this screen.
Now, normally if I were going to simply install Windows, I would press Enter. But notice it says, To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R. So I'm going to press R right now. It is going to bring me into the Recovery Console. Now, the first thing you'll notice is that the Recovery Console has found that there's a Windows installation on my C drive. So it says, which one would I want to log into? If I had multiple installations, it would have one, two, three, whatever, in this case there's just one.
So I'm going to press number one. And I'll type in the administrator password. There we go, whew (laughs). All right, welcome to the Recovery Console. The Recovery Console at first glance looks pretty much like a command prompt. In fact, a lot of command prompt commands work in here. There, I just cleared the screen. So if I wanted to, for example, make directory, remove directories, copy, delete files, all that stuff works here just fine.
However, the Recovery Console comes with a lot of very unique tools that allow us to fix all kinds of stuff. Let me give you a quick example. One that I use a lot is good old fixboot. Fix, you got to spell it right, fixboot rewrites a new boot sector onto your partition. So if I hit y for yes here, it's just going to go ahead and write me in a new boot sector. Another one that's pretty handy is fixmbr.
Fixmbr puts a new master boot record into that boot sector. Now you want to be a little bit careful using this guy. This should only be used on systems that you know don't have a virus. A lot of malware will actually mess up your master boot record. And if you fix it, it will wipe out the virus, but the virus actually rewrites all of your directories and you lose all your data. So if you're going to try this stuff, be aware that there's always a chance you might blow something up.
But, it's pretty rare these days, so I'm going to say yes, write a new MBR. Okay, what I've done with just these two steps is I can fix a lot of painful issues very, very easily. Now the other thing I can do if I need to, is I can copy, let's take a look into the, there we go, cd\ doesn't work in Recovery Console. All right, what I want to do is I'm going to type dir and we can see all of our files in here.
If you take a close look, we can see that there's NT Loader, there's NTDETECT, and boot.ini. If I needed to, I can go ahead and I can recopy files, I can do anything I would need to do. I'd take a backup copy of boot.ini, grab a copy of NT Loader off the installation media, copy it there, anything that I need to do in order to get the system back up and cooking again. So it's pretty straight forward. I also want you to be aware that there are a couple of fairly interesting commands here.
For example, listsvc actually lists all the services that are currently running on this system. So if you need to look at what services are currently up and cooking, you can take a look at that from here as well. The last one, I'm just going to make mention of this, is there is a way to partition drives. Diskpart, which is actually covered in other episodes, can be run here to create new partitions, you could delete partitions, do anything that you want to do.
Just be aware that, for example, if I hit D for delete partition right here, I would completely wipe out my entire Windows installation. That's the Windows XP Recovery Console. It's a great place to turn to when you're having those really scary boot problems with Windows. Keep in mind though that Vista and 7 do not have a Recovery Console and use a more automated process. (upbeat jazz music)
Here CompTIA expert Mike Meyers prepares you to answer questions about slightly more advanced topics: "super tech" skills like managing files via the command-line interface, creating virtual machines, connecting to the Internet, installing printers, and troubleshooting startup and application issues. Each lesson prepares you for a related topic on the 90-question A+ exam.
Details about the certification and the exam blueprints can be found at https://certification.comptia.org/certifications/a.
- Working with the Windows and Linux command lines
- Manipulating files, folders, and permissions via the command line
- Using the Recovery Console and Windows Recovery Environment
- Troubleshooting software
- Examining virtual services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
- Troubleshooting Internet connections
- Installing local and network printers