Windows Server Recovery Console: What Is It & How to Use it

You can learn what Windows Server Recovery Console is and how to use Recovery Console in Windows Server, finally know some common commands and a useful software.


By Miya / Updated on June 20, 2023

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What is Windows Server Recovery Console?

Recovery Console is a command line tool that if your Windows Server does not boot correctly you can use to repair Windows system. You can start Recovery Console from the Windows Server 2003 CD or at boot time if you have previously installed Recovery Console on your computer.

However, it should be noted that Recovery Console is only available in these editions: Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003. Now, I will tell you how to use Recovery Console in Windows Server for system repair.

Windows Server Recovery Console

How to Use Recovery Console on Windows Server

This part provides step-by-step instructions on using Recovery Console in Windows Server. Here, I will give an example based on a Windows Server 2003 computer:

Note: You must be logged in as an administrator or as a member of the Administrators group to perform this procedure. Also, if your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from completing this procedure.

You can follow these steps to use Recovery Console to repair Windows Server:

Step 1: Configure the computer to boot from a CD or DVD drive. For more information, refer to your computer documentation or contact your computer manufacturer.

Step 2: Insert the Windows Server 2003 CD into the computer's CD or DVD drive.

Step 3: Restart the computer. When you receive a message prompting you to press any key to boot from the CD, and press a key to boot the computer from the Windows Server 2003 CD.

Step 4: When the Welcome to Setup screen appears, press the R key to start the Recovery Console.

Step 5: Select the Windows installation that you must access from the Recovery Console. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen, enter the administrator password, and then press ENTER.

At the command prompt, type the appropriate Recovery Console command to repair your Windows Server 2003 installation. And if you want to exit the Recovery Console and restart the computer, at the command prompt, type exit, and then press ENTER.

Some Recovery Console commands

The following is some of the commonly used commands for the Recovery Console:

Attrib  Changes the attributes of a file or folder.
Bootcfg  is used for boot configuration and recovery. You can use the bootcfg command to make changes to the Boot.ini file.
CD(chdir)  operates only in the system directory of the current Windows installation, in removable media, in the root directory of any hard disk partition, or in the local installation source.
Cls  clears the screen.
Dir displays a list of all files, including hidden and system files

 How to delete Recovery Console entries correctly

If you want to remove the Recovery Console, but don't know how to do it. Don't worry, we have prepared steps for you on how to properly remove only Recovery Console. Here are the correct steps to delete the Recovery Console entries:

Step 1: Restart your computer. And click Start, then click My Computer.

Step 2: Open the Show hidden files and folders option.

Step 3: Double-click the drive letter that represents the hard disk where you installed the Recovery Console.

Step 4: Delete the Cmdcons folder from the root folder, then delete the Cmldr file.

Finally, you can remove the Recovery Console entry from the Boot.ini file.

Warning: Incorrectly modifying the Boot.ini file may prevent your computer from restarting. Make sure you delete only the Windows Server Recovery Console entries.

Flexible way to perform Windows Server system restore

AOMEI Backupper Server is a professional backup and restore software that allows you to backup and restore system, disk, partition, and files from GUI or command line. And you can use it on Windows systems (Windows 7/8/8.1/11/XP/Visa) and server systems (Windows Server 2003/2008 (R2)/2012 (R2)/2016/2019/2022). 

Before you run Windows Server system restore using AOMEI Backupper's command line, please make sure that you have a valid system backup.

Download AOMEI Backupper Server and install it on your Windows Server. Then, click Backup and System Backup, select a destination path to store the backup image and click Start Backup to create a system image for Windows Server.                          

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System Backup

Tip: If you want your Windows system to restore from boot, see here.

Step 1: Open the AOMEI Backupper Server. Click Restore from the left side, then click Select Task.

Select Task

Step 2. Select System Backup from the list below. Then, click Next.

Select Backup Image

Step 3. Choose Restore this system backup and click Next

Restore Entire System Image

Tip: If your old disk is corrupted, you can choose to image Windows Server to a new hard drive. Please click Recover system to other location, and then select new hard drive or partition on it in the window below.

Select Location

Step 4. In Operation Summary, confirm this task and then click Start Restore to perform a recovery of Windows Server. You can set up your computer to shut down or restart after Windows Server system restore.

Preview Restore

This software also allows you to migrate the old server to the new one with its Universal Restore feature. It will install all the necessary drivers needed to start a Windows.


This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the Windows Server Recovery Console and also provide a way to recover Windows Server from AOMEI Backupper's graphical interface.

If your computer fails completely, you can even restore your system to new hardware with universal restore. For companies with multiple computers, you can use its image deployment software to deploy system images to them at the same time. To learn more, go to the version comparison page.

Miya · Editor
Miya has an excellent insight and receives professional and systematic technical training since joining AOMEI. She has a comprehensive understanding of computer issues, aiming at helping users troubleshoot all kinds of problems. A lot of computer users around the world have found her articles very helpful!