How to create a recovery USB thumb drive with XP

Written by ian kelly
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How to create a recovery USB thumb drive with XP
Load the XP Recovery Console on to a thumb drive for emergency start-up and troubleshooting. (Getty Thinkstock)

Although the Windows XP installation disk includes a recovery console, if you have hard disk problems or your Windows operating system becomes corrupted, it’s advisable to have a backup. The easiest way to do this is to download a copy of the XP recovery console and load it on to a USB drive for emergency start-up and troubleshooting.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Formatted USB thumb drive
  • XP recovery console downloaded file

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  1. 1

    Go to the USB recovery console download site (see Resources) in your web browser. Download and install the software on your computer.

  2. 2

    Insert a formatted USB thumb drive into an empty port on your computer. Once this is done, click the downloaded file on your desktop and extract the ZIP package to a separate directory.

  3. 3

    Open the directory and right click on the “mkrecovery.cmd” file after the files have been extracted. Click “Edit” and change the “USBDRV” value “R:” to the drive letter currently used by the newly inserted USB thumb drive. Do not exit the edit menu.

  4. 4

    Check the drive letter for your CDROM drive; this is usually “D.” Edit the “XPSRC” settings in the “mkrecovery.cmd” folder to read "d:\i386\winnt32.exe\". Substitute "D:" for your own optical drive letter, if necessary.

  5. 5

    Save your changes and exit the editor. Before proceeding, ensure that you entered the correct drive letter for your USB drive. Once you have checked everything including your edits, double-click the “mkrecovery.cmd” file to run this tool; this will create your recovery console and make the thumb drive bootable.

Tips and warnings

  • The “mkrecovery.cmd” file uses the third-party HP USB DOS format tool to create a bootable USB drive. Opening the file automatically downloads the HP script and launches a dialog box. Before running the tool, you must accept the HP End User Licence Agreement and confirm that you have administrator privileges.

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