The Recovery Console, which has a DOS-like interface, is a flexible tool that lets you access and save data when your system won't boot. Using the Recovery Console, you can copy and delete files on Fat32 and NTFS partitions or even access the CD-Rom drive.
To start the Recovery Console using the Windows XP CD-Rom, turn off your computer, insert the CD, then restart your computer (be sure your BIOS is set to boot from CD-Rom before the hard drive). Once you're past the Welcome screen, Press R and the Recovery Console will start.
Inside the Recovery Console you can obtain a list of possible commands by typing 'help' at the command prompt and pressing Enter. For more information about a specific command, type help followed by a space then the command's name. From here you can copy important data off your hard drive, or if you are a more advanced user, troubleshoot and replace corrupt files that are preventing your system from booting properly.
NOTE: See the tip 'Install The XP Recovery Console' to learn how to install the Recovery Console onto your computer so you don't have to use the Windows XP CD.