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Instant Answer Type help at the command prompt to see a list of Recovery Console commands. Here are a few you should know:
* Many viruses infect a hard drive's Master Boot Record, or MBR. You can often clear out such infections by using the Recovery Console's FIXMBR command.
* LISTSVC lists services.
* The DISABLE and ENABLE commands let you start and stop system services and device drivers.
* FDISK lets you do some partitioning work (be careful! this option deletes data!).
* EXIT ends your Recovery Console session.
* COPY lets you copy files, but only from and to the hard disk or disks. You can't copy to or from a diskette or Zip drive.
Installing Recovery Console onto the hard disk
If you find yourself doing a lot of Recovery Console work on a particularly troublesome system, you may want to speed up the load time by installing it onto your hard drive as a boot option on the Choose an Operating System menu. Doing so is easy: Just run the setup program WINNT32.EXE with the /CMDCONS qualifier (it stands for 'command console'). You can find WINNT32.EXE on the Windows XP Professional CD-ROM, or on the network server from which you installed the operating system.
Don't worry: In spite of the fact that you're running WINNT32, this command doesn't reinstall Windows XP Professional onto your system.
Automated System Recovery (ASR)
A new option for bringing a Windows XP system back to a stable condition is Automated System Recovery, or ASR. This option is just barely more convenient than reinstalling Windows from scratch and performing a restore from a backup set (see the next section, 'Windows Backup'), but it does let you restore a PC to functionality without requiring you to re-enter manually your operating system settings.
ASR is considered a last-resort solution because it formats the system drive as part of the restore process, and may format non-system partitions, too. So you're likely to wipe out any user data on the system, and you'll have to restore that data from a previous backup after you complete the system restore via ASR. Therefore, you'll only use ASR if you've exhausted all other options. (By the way, for those of you familiar with Windows 2000 or NT, ASR more or less replaces the Emergency Recovery Diskette, or ERD, procedure, which is no longer available in XP.)
ASR is an option of the Windows Backup program (which I discuss in more detail in the next section). Create an ASR backup by choosing Start?All Programs?Accessories?System Tools?Backup, clicking Next in the Backup Utility Wizard screen, and then choosing Prepare An Automated System Recovery Backup. You'll provide a floppy diskette, which ASR uses to record details of your hard drive's configuration, and a backup medium (such as tape, but not a network drive), to which ASR will make a backup of key system files.
To perform an ASR restore, you must boot from the Windows XP CD-ROM, and then press F5 when you see the message Press F5 To Run Automated System Recovery (ASR). ASR will prompt you for the diskette and for the backup media. When it's finished, you'll have to restore any user data and applications from a separate backup set.
Sometimes even ASR isn't enough to resuscitate a Windows XP Professional system. In such cases, you can turn to the backup-and-restore program that comes with Windows XP, NTBACKUP.EXE or Microsoft Windows Backup. This program is significantly different from the backup utility included with versions of Windows before 2000. It's actually a scaled-down version of the popular Veritas (formerly Seagate Software) program, Backup Exec.
* NTBACKUP can compress files on the fly.
* If you have to use a diskette drive as your target device, NTBACKUP has no trouble creating a multiple-diskette backup to deal with files that are typically too large to fit on one diskette.
* NTBACKUP can also back up to a good variety of target devices, including Zip, Jaz, and writeable optical drives, as well as the more traditional tape drives and network directories. Unlike the Windows NT 4.0 backup program, NTBACKUP can back up to another hard drive (hurrah!).
* NTBACKUP logs its activities (typically in C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\ Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\data).
* NTBACKUP is able to make a backup of your Registry even though the files are open and 'in use.' That is, NTBACKUP can copy Registry files even when COPY and XCOPY and drag-and-drop can't.
NTBACKUP requires Windows XP to be running in order to restore the files. So, if you experience total hard disk failure and you have to replace the drive, you first have to reinstall Windows XP onto the drive before you can run NTBACKUP in order to restore the files you backed up earlier.
If your system is so damaged that you can't boot Windows XP at all, even in 'Safe Mode,' then you can't run NTBACKUP to restore your system. Here again, you may be faced with a reinstall (and, in extreme cases, a reformat before the reinstall) before you can restore your backup.