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How to Get to the Recovery Console in Windows

One of the most useful tools for fixing problems in Windows 7 and Windows Vista is the Recovery Console, as long as you know where it is and how to activate it.

The Recovery Console is available from either the F8 start-up menu or any Windows installation or recovery disc. Here are the steps to take for starting the Recovery Console from the F8 boot menu:

  1. Restart the computer.

  2. After the start-up message appears, press the F8 key.

    You must press F8 before Windows starts.

  3. Choose the option Repair Your Computer.

    At this point, your computer may start a custom recovery program, such as the Rescue and Recovery tool available on Lenovo PCs. If so, you should either attempt to access the Recovery Console by using this utility.

  4. Click the Next button.

    You may be prompted to choose a keyboard layout and language. You usually have no need to change these options.

  5. Choose your username.

    If you know the administrator’s password, you can choose Administrator. The password should be the same as on your own user account, though it may not be.

    Select only an account that has administrator access.

  6. Type your password and click OK.

    A window appears on the screen, listing several repair and recovery options and tools. Your PC may not have these same options. For example, Dell Factory Image Restore appears only on Dell computers. (On other computers, you may find the Recovery Manager option, which is pretty much the same thing.)

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  7. Choose the option Command Prompt.

    The command prompt window opens. You’re now ready to use the Recovery Console commands.

  8. When you’re done using the command prompt, close its window.

  9. Choose the option Restart from the System Recovery Options window.

    The computer restarts.

In some cases, the preceding steps may not get you to the Recovery Console. You may instead find a special recovery program or another utility. Don’t give up! It’s still possible to access the Recovery Console by using a Windows installation or update disc or the recovery disc that came with your computer. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Windows or system recovery disc into your PC’s optical drive.

  2. Restart the computer.

  3. Choose the option to boot from the CD or DVD.

  4. Work your way through the installation process until you find the option Repair Your Computer.

    Don’t worry: Nothing is changed on your computer until you choose to reinstall Windows. But you’re not doing that.

  5. Press the R key to choose the option Repair Your Computer.

  6. If prompted, don’t choose to repair any start-up or boot issues or errors.

    You can return to fix any errors later.

  7. Choose the Windows Vista installation from the list.

  8. Click the Next button.

    The System Recovery Options window appears.

  9. Choose the Command Prompt option.

    Say hello to the Recovery Console.

  10. When you’re done using the command prompt, close its window.

  11. Choose the option Restart from the System Recovery Options window.

    The computer restarts.

The Recovery Console isn’t a friendly place. Go there only when you know what you’re doing or when you’re following directions, like the ones given here.

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