Windows Server 2003 includes many different utilities. One such utility, designed for more advanced users and administrators, is known as the Recovery Console. The Recovery Console is a useful tool for troubleshooting.

The Recovery Console is normally used when you are unable to recover your computer using Safe Mode and other startup options. For example, you can use it to access volumes that cannot be accessed when you are in Safe Mode. It allows you to run basic commands to identify problem device drivers and files.

The Recovery Console is a fancy-yet-restricted command prompt which requires an administrative login for access. There are a limited number of commands available from the Recovery Console: BATCH, BOOTCFG, CD, CHKDSK, CLS, COPY, DEL, DIR, DISABLE, DISKPART, ENABLE, EXIT, EXPAND, FDISK, FIXBOOT, FIXMBR, FORMAT, HELP, LISTSVC, LOGON, MAP, MD, MORE, RENAME, and RD.

In order to use the Recovery Console to recover a system, you should be familiar with most if not all of the available commands. For example, you can use the Fixboot and the Fixmbr commands as additional last-ditch attempts at going home on time, but more often, the recovery console is used to reconfigure services using the Disable and Enable commands which may have been the source of the problem. Unfortunately, many commands like XCOPY will not work with the Recovery Console. Its generally a good idea to have a print out of the commands that are available so you can optimize your time when troubleshooting.

Aside from a limited number of available commands, the Recovery Console also has another limitation. The console will only allow you to use the root folder, the %SystemRoot% folder and any subfolders for the Windows installation you are logged on to, the Cmdcons folders, and removable media drives. However, as you will see later in the next installment of this article, this limitation can be changed through the local security policy.

[tags]cd, troubleshoot, windows server 2003, recovery console, safe mode, batch, bootcfg, chkdsk, cls, copy, del, dir, disable, diskpart, enable, exit, expand, fdisk, fixboot, fixmbr, format, help, listsvc, logon, map, md, more, rename, rd[/tags]