What is the Recovery Console?

The Recovery Console is a command line based, advanced diagnostic feature available in some versions of the Windows operating system.

What is the Recovery Console Used For?:

The Recovery Console is used to help resolve a number of major system problems.
The Recovery Console is particularly useful for repairing or replacing important operating system files. When these files aren’t working like they should, Windows will sometimes not startup at all. In these cases, you must start the Recovery Console to restore the files.

How To Access Recovery Console:

The Recovery Console is usually accessed from the original Windows installation CD. Alternatively, Recovery Console can be accessed from the boot menu but only if it has been preinstalled on your system.
How to Enter Recovery Console From the Windows XP CD

How To Use Recovery Console:

A number of commands, unsurprisingly called Recovery Console commands, are available from within Recovery Console. Using these commands in specific ways can help solve specific problems.
Here are some examples where executing a particular command in the Recovery Console is necessary to fix a serious Windows issue:

Recovery Console Availability:

The Recovery Console feature is available in Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003.
Recovery Console is not available in Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP were the last Microsoft operating systems that contained Recovery Console.
Beginning with Windows Vista, Recovery Console was replaced with a collection of recovery tools referred to as System Recovery Options.