Recovery Console Access to Other Partitions

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Daniel Petri in Windows XP with

In the Windows XP/2003 Recovery Console I cannot access any drives or folders other than the system folder. Can I change this setting?

Yes. When you use the Windows Recovery Console, you can use only the following folders:

  • The root folder
  • The %SystemRoot% folder and the subfolders of the Windows installation that you are currently logged on to.
  • The Cmdcons folder.
  • Removable media drives such as CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drives.

Note: If you try to obtain access to other folders, you receive an “Access Denied” error message. Also, while you are using the Windows Recovery Console, you cannot copy a file from the local hard disk to a floppy disk. You can copy a file from a floppy disk or from a CD-ROM to a hard disk, and from one hard disk to another hard disk.

If you pre-install the Recovery Console on a computer, you should use Group Policy to enhance the environment settings, adding power to the available file operations. To do so:

  1. Click Start , click Run, type


  1. Click Local Computer, click Finish , and then click Close to return to the Add/Remove Snap-in dialog box.
  2. Click OK to return to the Console window.
  3. Expand the Local Computer Policy object to Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\Security Options.
  4. Select the Security Options object in the Console pane to display the security policies in the Details pane.
  5. In the Details pane, double-click the Recovery Console: Allow Floppy Copy And Access To All Drives And Folders policy.
  6. Click Enabled, and then click OK.
  7. Quit the MMC.

After you have enabled this Group Policy, when you enter the Recovery Console you can change the environment settings with the set command, by using the set variable = TRUE or FALSE syntax.

Note: Be sure to use a space on each side of the equal sign. If you do not, the set command generates a “syntax error” error message and does not work.

The following variables define the default environment. The variables, when set to TRUE, enlarge the scope of the environment setting and have the following meanings:

AllowWildCards = TRUE – Enable wildcard support for some commands (such as the del command).

AllowAllPaths = TRUE – Allows access to all files and folders on the computer.

AllowRemovableMedia = TRUEAllow files to be copied to removable media, such as a floppy disk.

NoCopyPrompt = TRUEDo not prompt when overwriting an existing file.

To see the current settings for the environment, type set without parameters at a command prompt.

Further Reading

Recovery Console topics include:


Description of the Windows XP Recovery Console – 314058

Add More Power to Recovery Console By Using Group Policy in Windows XP Professional – 310497

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